Master of Earth Observation (Programme being phased out as from 2014-2015) (Leuven)

Master of Science

This programme is being phased out as from 2014-2015; no new applications are accepted. Students with a keen interest in Earth Observation can apply for the Master of Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering (Major Information), into which the Master of Earth Observation has been merged.

The Master of Earth Observation programme offers you the opportunity to become a knowledgeable user of earth observation technology. It begins with an introduction of earth observation as a suite of diagnostic instruments, with terrestrial resources as the primary field of application. You then choose between two majors, one focused on technological aspects (bioscience engineering degree) and one oriented towards their various applications (sciences degree).

As an Earth observation specialist, you will contribute to innovative management of our planet's resources around the world.

This initial Master's programme is comprised of 120 ECTS spread over 4 semesters within a rather flexible framework. It can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Ideal candidates hold an academic Bachelor's or Master's degree and have completed thorough coursework in at least two out of three of the following domains:

-  calculus and statistics
-  earth science and geomatics (Basics of Geographic Information Systems)
-  environmental science and ecology

In addition, good command of both spoken and written English is required. Applicants from foreign countries where English is not the language of instruction must provide TOEFL (or equivalent) test scores of at least 550.

Two tracks - the Bioscience Engineering Track and the Sciences Track - are offered within this Master's programme. Applicants proficient in all three of the above-mentioned domains may select the track of their choice. Applicants proficient two of the three above-mentioned domains may select the track of their choice and are required to fill in gaps in knowledge by completing 10 or 12 ECTS in strengthening electives. Applicants proficient in one or none of the three above-mentioned domains are required to complete a 60-ECTS bridging programme before entering the Master's programme itself.

1  Have profound knowledge of the principles of Earth Observation and Geomatics
2  Have specialised knowledge and skills to process and analyse analogue and digital EO-data and to collect, process and analyse complimentary geodata. The aim is to provide, from a multidisciplinary (climate, soil, water, geology, organisms) perspective, scientifically sound and professionally and societally valuable contributions to the sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems (rural and urban systems and infrastructures) at the full range of spatial and temporal scales
3  Are able to design approaches and systems for monitoring and modeling of land, coastal and atmospheric processes
4  Are able to develop or choose individually or in team, engineering solutions for geodata acquisition, processing and management
5  Are aware of the contemporary research and business issues in the EO-domain, have an attitude of life-long learning, societal responsibility and team-leadership
6  Are able to define and conduct an original scientific research project and/or apply innovative ideas within research units
7  Can present personal research, thoughts, ideas, and opinions and evaluations within professional activities in a suitable way, both written and orally, to peers and to a general public.
Career path

There is a growing demand for competent professionals in the field of Earth Observation. Graduates find employment in engineering and surveying companies, mapping and space agencies, service and utility providers and public entities. You will also be well placed for recruitment into international and national administrations dealing with urban and rural land use planning, environmental conservation and management, agricultural and food security monitoring, and disaster prevention and management.

Careers can also be pursued in research and education, in which case this Master's programme is most often complemented by a relevant PhD programme.
KU Leuven organises a Graduate Fair each spring. In addition, faculties also organise information sessions for many of their bridging and graduate programmes.

Click here for the schedule of upcoming information sessions.
Are you looking to broaden your horizons? There are ample opportunities to conduct part of your master's thesis research at various partner institutions abroad. In addition, European residents can undertake their master's thesis research at a European or other partner university within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The Faculty also welcomes initiatives of students who want to do a work placement in a company or organization abroad, as well as exchange programmes with partner universities.

More information:

KU Leuven has a long tradition of earth observation research going back to the 1970's. Today, data from airborne, satellite-based and ground-based remote sensing instruments with various types of sensors are developed and used in a variety of research and application domains, including:

o   Land cover and land use monitoring
o   Regional climate studies
o   Atmospheric and hydrologic modelling
o   Precision farming and forestry
o   Agricultural production forecasting
o   Environmental impact assessment
o   Archaeological and biodiversity reconnaissance

Considerable research efforts are invested in innovative techniques for processing and extracting information from combined remotely sensed and in-situ observations.
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Kasteelpark Arenberg 20
3001 LEUVEN, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 37 77 12 or + 32 16 37 91 33

Study Advice Service
Naamsestraat 80 box 5415
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
To contact us, please complete the contact form on our website.

Download the brochure for this programme.

Order a brochure sent by mail.

In the context of the wellbeing law certain data must be stored for each student and they must be informed timely on the subject of:

  • the risks to which the student is exposed during the study programme (practicals, traineeships, master's theses,…)
  • the associated preventive measures for each risk, such as medical follow-up, personal protective equipment and instructions.
The risks and preventive measures are collected in the HSE-file for students. Through this link you can consult the HSE-file. The HSE-file will be used for traineeships and/or master’s theses. For more information about traineeships, we refer to the following site: traineeship.. For questions, please contact the HSE Department.