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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Graduate Taught  /  MSc Environmental Mapping

MSc Environmental Mapping

3d_thames.jpgThe UCL MSc Environmental Mapping Programme offers a highly attractive blend of theory, practice and cutting edge transferable skills to enable our students to take advantage of the rapidly growing opportunities in environmental mapping, be it in research, commercial or policy applications.

The Environmental Mapping MSc Programme at UCL is designed to appeal to students looking to map and understand the environment. It provides the opportunity to study at an advanced level the ways in which spatial data can be collected, processed and analysed to quantify and understand environmental issues across a wide range of applications. It offers the opportunity to study at an advanced level how spatial data from a wide range of sources including satellites, aircraft, ground surveys and autonomous instruments may be used to provide detailed environmental information about the Earth at a range of scales. This successful, interdisciplinary, intercollegiate degree programme combines aspects of theory, policy, applications of environmental mapping across the Earth system, particularly focusing on climate aspects, the land surface as well as oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and the solid earth. Our graduates leave with strong, transferable skills in mapping (surveying, GIS etc), data analysis, computer modelling and information synthesis, and go on to jobs in a wide range of areas using spatial data, including commercial mapping, government, retail, climate and space agencies.

In our teaching, we focus on the principles of mapping, properties of spatial data and environmental data analysis methods more generally – how we map and measure the Earth system, how we can exploit these observations, and the scientific, commercial and policy implications of the resulting data. Students are introduced to a wide range of mapping and monitoring data sources provided via government agencies and commercial organisations, how to access these huge and rapidly growing data resources, and how to exploit them quickly and efficiently. Students are also introduced to cutting edge applications of these data, via interdisciplinary research opportunities across UCL faculties and departments and programmes of seminars from leading commercial and academic practitioners in the field. Students benefit from the involvement in the programme of other London institutions, such as King’s College London and Imperial College, and more widely from the involvement of UCL Geography staff in the UK’s National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), as well as links to the European Space Agency, NASA and other international organisations.


The Programme runs over a full year, with students taking four core modules in Term 1 and the choice of four options modules in Term 2. The core modules ensure that all students develop key theoretical and practical skills; the options modules and dissertation are opportunities to apply these skills to specific areas and applications.

The following modules will be available for 2016/17. Please note these may be subject to change.

Module codeModule titleUCL Credit value
GEOGG121 Analytical and Numerical Methods 15 credits
GEOGG122 Scientific Computing 15 credits
CEGEG034 Mapping Science 15 credits
GEOGG141 Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing 15 credits
Module codeModule titleUCL Credit value
GEOGG101 Surface Water Modelling 15 credits
GEOGG124 Terrestrial Carbon: Modelling and Monitoring 15 credits
GEOGG134 Climate Modelling 15 credits
GEOGG142 Global Monitoring and Security 15 credits
GEOGG065 Environmental GIS 15 credits
CEGEG075 Image Understanding 15 credits
CEGEG085 Airborne Data Acquisition 15 credits

MSc Environmental Mapping students also undertake a piece of original research leading to a dissertation of up to 12,000 words (60 credits) with the support of an academic supervisor. The dissertation period normally lasts from late April or May to the end of August. The Department enjoys strong links with the various mapping and monitoring agencies and commercial organisations more generally, and projects are often carried out in collaboration with organisations outside the University. In recent years a number of students have had their dissertation work published in the academic literature, and/or been recruited for employment based on their research.

Information on fees and funding can be found on the main UCL website.

  1. Fees
  2. Scholarships


    You can apply for a place on this Programme via UCL Admissions.

    Potential applicants are expected to have a minimum second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or overseas qualification of equivalent e.g. surveying, environmental science, geography, geology, oceanography, marine studies, civil engineering, mathematics, and physics. However degrees covering other areas will certainly be considered, and relevant work experience will also be considered. The Department currently requires a good level of English demonstrated by a recent IELTS Academic or equivalent qualification. If you have any more questions about this programme, you can email the Geography Department or make an appointment to come and meet staff. It is possible to take the MSc part time, as well as to enrol for a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) which entails completing the taught component only, or a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) which entails completing only the four core taught modules. Please contact the programme convenor if you require details of the part-time or PG Dip/Cert structures.



    The MSc will appeal to individuals interested in developing research training while acquiring vocational skills for work in mapping and monitoring positions in public and private sector institutions. The quantitative skills the course provides have proved attractive for employers, particularly the grounding in programming, data handling and analysis, image processing and report writing. These skills are generic and have allowed graduates to go into a range of careers in mapping and spatial analysis but also area such as conservation and management, and environmental policy. Environmental Mapping graduates find jobs in diverse companies from consultants and NGOs carrying out environmental and spatial analysis, governmental and government-affiliated agencies such as DECC and the National Physical Laboratory. The programme is also a suitable training for those wishing to undertake higher level work as a prelude to a PhD


    The range of generic, transferable skills provided by the course have proved to be attractive to a range of employers. The course provides students with fundamental understanding of the key principles of environmental mapping and data handling and analysis, as well as the ability to communicate their ideas. These principles can and are applicable across a wide range of career options. The wide reach of the course and its interdisciplinary, intercollegiate nature provides students with a unique perspective, not just from UCL, but across the wider world of mapping and environmental science.

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