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Remote Sensing - MSc/PGCert

Course Description

The degree is the leading Master's programme in remote sensing available in the UK. It offers 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 at a range of scales.

Degree information

Students develop an all-round knowledge of remote sensing, including fundamental principles, current technological developments and applications to local, regional and global problems. They gain highly developed, marketable practical skills to enable them to take leading roles in academic, government and industrial sectors.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules in term one (60 credits), four optional modules in term two (60 credits) and a research project in term three (60 credits). A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), full-time 12 weeks, flexible study up to two years is offered.

Core modules
-Analytical and Numerical Methods
-Scientific Computing
-Mapping Science
-Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing

Optional modules
-Terrestrial Carbon: Modelling and Monitoring
-Global Monitoring of Environment and Society
-Airborne Data Acquisition
-Image Understanding
-Ocean and Coastal Zone Management
-Terrestrial Data Acquisition
-Climate Modelling

All students undertake an individual research project. The department has links with industry, and projects may be carried out in collaboration with organisations outside UCL.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, individual and group coursework, and compulsory computer training. Student learning is supported by tutorials, transferable skills training and research supervision throughout the year. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, coursework, dissertation and an oral presentation.


This 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 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 remote sensing and spatial analysis but also areas such as conservation and management, data analysis, computing, policy and commercial application.

Remote Sensing graduates find jobs in diverse companies: from consultancies carrying out environmental and spatial analysis through to major international companies, or government and government-affiliated agencies. The programme is also suitable training for those wishing to undertake higher level work as a prelude to a PhD in remote sensing.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Civil Engineer, Irrigation Department
-Remote Sensing and Forest Ecology, The University of Edinburgh
-IT Operations Analyst, Ford
-Image Analyst, Civil Service
-PhD Geography, University of Cambridge

The range of generic, transferable skills provided by the degree programme have proved to be attractive to a range of employers. Students gain a fundamental understanding of the key principles of remote sensing and data handling and analysis, as well as the ability to communicate their ideas. Such skills and knowledge are applicable across a wide range of careers. The long heritage of the programme - over 30 years - and its interdisciplinary, intercollegiate nature provides students with a unique perspective, not just from UCL, but across the wider world of remote sensing and environmental science.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The MSc is run by UCL Geography, which enjoys an outstanding reputation for its research and teaching, and has a long pedigree in producing highly employable graduates for industry, research, policy and many other areas.

A distinctive feature of the programme is its intercollegiate nature which exposes students to a range of university departments and expertise across fields including terrestrial vegetation and carbon stocks, solid earth and geology, fire impacts, new sensor technology and ocean processes.

The degree is integrated with other Geography MSc programmes providing greater flexibility when choosing optional modules.

Visit the Remote Sensing - MSc/PGCert page on the University College London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

James O'Connor

"I wanted to immerse myself in a new topic with global scope which exposed me to other areas such as computer vision which I am becoming increasingly interested in. Remote Sensing technology gives us the power to monitor global trends in many critical environmental parameters and at the same time can be applied on a smaller scale for local surveying, and thus was a good fit for the career I hope to enter."

(Student Profile)

Niall Origo

"This degree provided me with the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in research. Of particular note was the Introduction to Programming module which I now use on a daily basis. I had a great year at UCL, so much so that I'm now back doing a PhD. I'm still in contact with my fellow students from that year and all of them have had or are currently in jobs in the remote sensing industry. I believe that this is a testament to the quality of the programme."


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or overseas qualification of equivalent standard (e.g. oceanography, marine studies, geography, civil engineering, geology, mathematics, and physics) is required. Relevant work experience will also be considered.

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