Space Research - Study line

Acquire versatile skills to develop and use tools that can unravel the secrets of the Universe.

Study line: Space Research

Acquire versatile skills to develop and use tools that can unravel the secrets of the Universe.

With this study line you will work with methods and tools to examine some of the biggest and most fundamental questions in science and understand the interaction between the physical processes controlling our Universe at both the largest and smallest scales. You will use space as a formidable and fascinating laboratory to study nature in ways that are impossible on Earth.

The topics you may study include:

  • Observational Astrophysics
  • Compact objects (neutron stars and black holes)
  • Exoplanets
  • Galaxies and cosmology
  • Technologies for astronomical instrumentation

'Space Research' is rooted in the field of astrophysics, but the competences you develop with this study line are versatile and in high demand both in academia and industry. In particular, you will acquire skills in advanced data processing methods, physical and numerical modelling, as well as design, development and application of instrumentation and observation techniques.

Graduates will be able to contribute to the development of the tools and instruments necessary to gain insight into the workings of our Universe. Because they can transform user requirements into instrumentation that can provide data of the necessary type and quality, graduates may become key employees for satellite projects at commercial companies both in Denmark and abroad, or work for space agencies such as ESA or NASA. Graduates will also be able to progress to a career in space research at a university or at international observatories. In the private (non-space) sector, graduates will be in demand in jobs with a strong focus on data science and data processing, data visualization, image analysis, technology development, risk assessment and mathematical modelling.

Academic focus

The study line is focused on designing, developing and/or using instruments to observe the Universe at different wavelengths (from radio to gamma rays), as well as understanding the physics of the near-Earth environment and large-scale phenomena. Students will work with technologies such as inversion and empirical modelling, image processing, analysis and processing of temporal and spatial datasets. Both satellite and ground-based observing systems are included.

Possible specialization

Within the 'Space Research' study line it is possible through the choice of specialization courses to further specialize primarily in one of the following areas:

  • Instrumentation
  • Data processing
  • Physical and mathematical modelling

It is also possible to choose a specialization through the synthesis and/or master projects.

Requirements for the study line

If you - in addition to the general requirements for the education - meet the following more strict requirements for the selection of courses, the title of the study line 'Space Research' will be on the diploma in addition to the title of the general programme: 'Earth and Space Physics and Engineering'.

To obtain the MSc degree in Earth and Space Physics and Engineering with the study line in 'Space Research', you must fulfil the following requirements:


The study lines have all the same requirements as the general curriculum regarding the Polytechnic Foundation and Programme-specific Core competences, including” Innovation course II”. Each study line only varies from the general curriculum by the specific lists of programme-specific courses and Recommended Elective Courses.

Programme-specific courses in Measurement Technology

To meet the requirements for the programme-specific courses in Measurement Technology  for the study line 'Space Research' students must take the following course, which is mandatory for the study line:

30320 Spacecraft Instrumentation Systems 10 point Spring F2 (Mon 13-17, Thurs 8-12)

In addition, students must choose at least 10 ECTS from the following list:

02610 Optimization and Data Fitting 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
10200 The structure and dynamics of materials studied with X-rays and neutrons 5 point Autumn E1B (Thurs 13-17)
30330 Image Analysis with Microcomputer 10 point Autumn E1A (Mon 8-12) and Autumn E1B (Thurs 13-17), Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
30794 Astrophysical Data Analysis 5 point Spring F4A (Tues 13-17)

Programme-specific courses in Physical Large Scale Structures and Processes

To meet the requirements for the programme-specific courses in Physical Large Scale Structures and Processes for the study line 'Space Research', a student must achieve at least 5 ECTS from one of the following courses:

10405 Theory of Relativity 5 point Autumn E1A (Mon 8-12)
30428 Advanced electromagnetics 5 point Spring F4A (Tues 13-17)
30720 Space Physics - Physics of the space environment 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
30790 Observational X-ray Astrophysics 5 point Autumn E3B (Fri 13-17)

Programme-specific courses beyond 30 ECTS will count as elective courses.

Recommended Elective Courses

Any course classified as MSc course in DTU's course base may be taken for credit as an elective course. This includes general programme-specific courses in excess of the minimal requirements. Master students may choose as much as 10 credit points among the bachelor courses at DTU and courses at an equivalent level from other higher institutions.

We recommend that you use some of your ECTS points for elective courses on either more of the above-mentioned technological specialization courses or some of the courses mentioned in the list below, as these courses are particularly relevant to the study line:

01418 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations 5 point Autumn E5A (Wed 8-12)
02409 Multivariate Statistics 5 point Autumn E1A (Mon 8-12)
02417 Time Series Analysis 5 point Spring F4B (Fri 8-12)
02450 Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Mining 5 point Spring F4A (Tues 13-17), Autumn E4A (Tues 13-17)
02456 Deep learning 5 point Autumn E2A (Mon 13-17)
02471 Machine learning for signal processing 5 point Autumn E1B (Thurs 13-17)
02506 Advanced Image Analysis 5 point Spring F5B (Wed 13-17)
02686 Scientific computing for differential equations 5 point Spring F1B (Thurs 13-17)
02687 Scientific Computing for ordinary and partial differential equations 5 point Spring F1A (Mon 8-12)
10112 Advanced Quantum Mechanics 10 point Autumn E2 (Mon 13-17, Thurs 8-12)
10122 Statistical Physics 5 point Autumn E3A (Tues 8-12)
10209 X-ray and Neutron Experiments at International Research Facilities 5 point June
10255 Advanced 3D X-ray imaging 5 point Spring F1A (Mon 8-12)
10346 Advanced Continuum Physics 5 point Spring F2A (Mon 13-17)
10350 Numerical studies in physics 5 point August
10400 Plasma Physics 5 point Autumn E5A (Wed 8-12)
30300 Introduction to Satellite Systems 10 point Autumn E5 (Wed 8-17)
30340 Radar and Radiometer Systems 10 point Spring F3 (Tues 8-12, Fri 13-17)
30350 Remote Sensing 10 point Autumn E4 (Tues 13-17, Fri 8-12)
30757 Atmospheric plasmas 5 point Spring F2A (Mon 13-17)
41111 Hydrodynamics 2 5 point Autumn E3A (Tues 8-12)
41320 Advanced fluid mechanics 5 point Autumn E2B (Thurs 8-12)

You may be able to find other relevant elective online courses in the EuroTeQ Partner Universities' course catalogue

Topic of 30220 Synthesis Project and Master's Thesis

The topic for both course 30220 Synthesis in Earth and Space Physics  and the Master's Thesis must be within the study line's focus area.

Examples of M.Sc. projects

  • Exploring Atmospheric Exoplanet Models to Study the Capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope
  • HST Optical Transmission Spectroscopy of Hot Jupiters
  • A spectroscopic analysis of super-luminous supernova host galaxies
  • A systematic investigation of thermonuclear bursts on neutron stars observed by NuSTAR
  • Decade-long X-ray view of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary “EXO 0748-676”
  • Systematic study of thermonuclear X-ray bursts observed by NICER
  • A Study of Neutron stars in Globular Clusters using Swift X-ray Observations
  • Coating optimization for future X-ray missions
  • Black Holes in Two Time Dimensions