MSc Remote Sensing
Remote sensing is the science of deriving information about the Earth’s (or even non-terrestrial planetary) surface without being in contact with it, through the capture, processing and analysis of electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths. Remote sensing is integral to a wide range of environmental and commercial applications from understanding global climate change, deforestation and the global carbon cycle, fire mapping, oil exploration, ice sheet dynamics, earthquakes, atmospheric monitoring, oceanography, through to resource management, food security and humanitarian applications.
The MSc in Remote Sensing is the leading Master's level programme in remote sensing in the UK. The programme, although taught at UCL, draws expertise and teaching from across many parts of the University of London. It provides students with the opportunity to study at an advanced level the ways in which remote sensing instruments in space and on aircraft may be used to collect environmental information about the Earth.The programme is run by the Department of Geography, one of the UK’s leading Geography Departments. The programme is integrated into the Department’s modular MSc structure so that students benefit from more interaction with students doing Conservation, Climate Change, Environmental Mapping and Modelling and Spatial Analysis, and have a wider choice of course modules. In addition the programme draws on expertise from colleagues in the Department of Civil, Environmnetal and Geomatic Engineering, where Masters students take Photogrammetry, Surveying and Hydrographic Surveying. The course draws on world-leading researchers in, amongst other things, climate change, polar observation, vegetation modelling and monitoring, lidar mapping and fire modelling
Who will benefit from the programme?
The MSc in Remote Sensing is designed to appeal to students from a range of disciplines looking to understand the role that remote sensing can play in understanding the environment. It will appeal not only to those with backgrounds in environmental sciences (such as geography and geology) but also to those with a background in more quantitative sciences (physics, engineering) who wish to exploit their skills in an environmental science context. The programme also caters for those who have been in employment and wish to change career. Each year the programme takes approximately 10-20 students from different national and disciplinary backgrounds, making this a vibrant international and interdisciplinary programme. The MSc will appeal to individuals interested in developing research training while acquiring vocational skills for work in remote sensing related positions in public and private sector institutions. The MSc is also a suitable training for those wishing to undertake higher level work as a prelude to a PhD in remote sensing. Many of the programme alumni now occupy academic positions throughout the remote sensing community.
The programme is based at University College London (UCL). Lectures are held in the Department of Geography and Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering at UCL. Teaching is also carried out in the Department of Earth Science Engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (IC) and in the Department of Geography, King’s College London. Computing facilities are available across all sites and library facilities at UCL and IC.
UCL Department of Geography
The Geography Department has a network of about 40 multi-user Linux (Red Hat) workstations with high quality LCD monitors and a total data storage capacity of > 10Tb. The Department has the usual peripherals including standard A4 PostScript laser printers, an A3 colour scanner and printer and a selection of backup devices. The Department UNIX system also forms the core of the Department's WWW and e-mail services (we run both our own web-server and e-mail server). It is possible to access the UCL's Windows Terminal Server (WTS) system via the Solaris and Linux workstations. Some of the Geography machines are available via secure shell networking from outside UCL so many applications can be run remotely. The Department also has a number of open-access computer rooms for students with numbers of quite new PCs connected to the College's managed PC system. The Geography Department also has access to the Chorley Institute 100 cpulinux cluster for large processing and modelling tasks.
Software for the UNIX workstations includes ARC/INFO, ArcView GIS, GRASS, and UNIMAP (digital mapping/GIS); ORACLE (relational database); Ramtek TERRAIN SPIDER, HIPS and ER Mapper. There is also the FORTRAN and C ’NAG’ libraries, the C, C++ and Prolog (programming languages), plus a great deal of free/open scientific software. There are also some 20 licenses for IDL/ENVI, as well as a site license for ERDAS Imagine and Arc/Info and Arc/GIS. The department has its own computer support team who cover staff and student hardware and software support for all PCs, Macs and UNIX/Linux workstations.
Department of Earth Science Engineering, Imperial College
The Department of Earth Science and Engineering provides full hardware and software support for the teaching of Image processing core module and Geoscience option module, including a fully equipped PC lab and a UNIX lab with ER Mapper image processing software and ArcGIS as the principal teaching packages for these modules together with RiverTool, Envi, etc. to support MSc project work.
Textbooks & Journals
Recommendations on references will be given during the programme by individual lecturers.
Main libraries are located at UCL (Science Library) and at IC (Central). Departmental collections of books and journals are also available at:
Earth Science (IC)
Space and Atmospheric & Physics (IC)
Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (UCL)
The MSc in Remote Sensing runs over a full year. The Core Programme takes place in term 1 (autumn) and consists of four core courses which establish the fundamentals of remote sensing, and teach students the requisite technical skills necessary for the remainder of the programme. In Term 2 (spring) students take optional courses on specialist subjects. These courses make use of the wide range of academic expertise and research interests among the staff, and take place at UCL, King’s College or Imperial College. Computing and training in technical and mathematical methods runs throughout the first term and is compulsory for all students. Student learning is supported by tutorials, transferable skills training and research supervision throughout the year. The final element of the degree, the individual research project, is completed over the summer term and vacation.There may be small changes in the option courses offered from one year to the next. Most of the core programme courses are common to other programmes.
The following modules will be available for 2013/14. Please note these may be subject to change.
COMPULSORY MODULES (Term One)
UCL Credit value
|GEOGG121||Analytical and Numerical Methods||15 credits|
|GEOGG122||Scientific Computing||15 credits|
|GEOGG140||Image Processing and GIS||15 credits|
|GEOGG141||Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing||15 credits|
OPTIONAL MODULES (Term Two)
UCL Credit value
||Terrestrial Carbon: Modelling and Monitoring||15 credits|
|GEOGG134||Climate Modelling||15 credits|
||Global Monitoring of Environment & Society||15 credits|
||Airbourne Data Acquisition||15 credits|
|CEGEG075||Image Understanding||15 credits|
|CEGEG083||Ocean and Coastal Zone Management||15 credits|
|CEGEG084||Terrestrial Data Acquisition||15 credits|
Students on the MSc programme embark on a dissertation (60 credits) after the examinations in May, which lasts until the end of the programme in September. The department enjoys strong links with industry, and projects are often carried out in collaboration with organisations outside the college. With the range of expertise available in the department, this leads to a very wide variety of possible topics for investigation.
Students are encouraged to visit and liase with industry throughout the programme, but most particularly when working on their project in the second half of the year.
The following members of staff are teaching on this programme:
- Dietmar Backes
Jian Guo Liu
Fees information is at www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/money/2013-2014_fees/2013-14_postgrad_taught
In line with the decision by NERC to end its studentship support for all MSc/MA programmes within the UK, there will no longer be any NERC studentships available for this course.
No specific studentships are currently available for this program, however funding may be available through UCL for exceptional students. Please click here for further information.
The minimum entry requirements are a good second class honours degree in a cognate subject or related discipline, from a UK university or the equivalent from an overseas institution. Acceptable degrees include oceanography, marine studies, geography, civil engineering, geology, mathematics, and physics. Extensive work experience covering related areas will be considered. Formal qualifications in mathematics are not a prerequisite for entry to the programme but students are expected to have an aptitude for mathematical studies and if necessary to undertake revision prior to the start of the programme. Advice is available from the programme tutor (Prof. Philip Lewis).
Overseas applicants will need a. Some . To find out if your degree is recognised by UCL please contact the .
Please visit thefor downloadable and online application forms and details of application procedure as well as information on fees, living expenses and scholarships.
If you have any queries you can contact us on (+44) (0)20 7679 0518 or email . The course convenor is Prof. Philip Lewis (, www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/~plewis)
Geography Graduate Open Days will be taking place on Wednesday 27th February 2013 and Monday 3rd June 2013. For further information and to book a place on one of these days, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
|A short brochure can be downloaded here.||A more detailed course handbook can be downloaded here.|
Potential applicants often ask about the maths requirements for these courses. We do expect a basic level of mathematical skill, but we accept students from a wide range of backgrounds and have long experience on getting everyone up to speed during the course, so don't let this put you off. The link below gives a broader indication of the requirements, plus some background reading: