Geomatics, Specialisation Hydrography

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Jul 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:3996 Duration:2 years

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The HafenCity University (HCU) in Hamburg offers one of the few specialisations in Hydrography in the world and the only one in Germany accredited according to the highest FIG/IHO/ICA level (Category A).

Hydrography is one of the three specialisations (together with Geodetic Measurement Technology and Geoinformation Technology) within the MSc Programme Geomatics that can be chosen at the HCU.
The focus of the Master's courses of hydrography is on collecting, analysing, modelling, and visualising data on oceans, coasts, and inland for the safety of waterways, planning, engineering, georesource management, and research.

One of the highest priorities of hydrography is securing modern marine navigation and the preparation of basic information for all structural engineering measures in the maritime field. Modern technology is employed here to survey the waters. The survey data are administered, analysed and visualised in digital hydrographical information systems. Modern methods of nautical charting also contribute directly to the protection of marine ecosystems through a reduction in ship groundings and maritime accidents. Furthermore, the hydrographic database provides important components for marine pollution detection, coastal zone management as well as sensitive ecosystem identification and monitoring.

The two-year Master's specialisation combines scientific and technological aspects and covers areas including advanced geodesy, navigation, geoinformation, marine sciences, oceanography, maritime environment, data processing, and software technology. The curriculum includes several supervised field trainings.

Educational organisation

The two-year study programme of the specialisation Hydrography is organised in compulsory modules, some of which are also included in the specialisations Geodetic Measurement Technology and Geoinformation Technology.
Two eligible courses of the Q-Studies or Studium Fundamentale, in which educational knowledge from art, social and natural sciences is taught in a transdisciplinary way, are also part of the curriculum.
Practice and field exercises are integrated in the programme.

Modules: Data Acquisition / Data Processing (courses: Interface Technology, Basics of CARIS), Software Technology, Project Management (courses: Project Management, Quality Management), Hydrography I (courses: Basics of Underwater Acoustics, Determination of Positions and Water Depth), Base Technology in Geographical Information Sciences (courses: Remote Sensing, Digital Elevation Models, Advanced Filtering Techniques)
Modules: Higher Geodesy (courses: Mathematical Geodesy, Physical Geodesy), GIS Hydrography (GIS Hydrography, Desktop Mapping), Navigation (courses: Nautical Sciences / Traffic Control Systems, Electronic Chart / Integrated Navigation), Hydrography II (Sonar Systems, Hybrid Hydrographic Measurements), Q-Studies
Modules: Fundamentals of Oceanography (courses: Physical Oceanography, Tides), Marine Geology and Geophysics (courses: Geology / Geomorphology / Seismics, Magnetics and Gravimetry), Marine Environment (courses: Marine Weather, Legal Aspects), Hydrographic Practise (Supplementary Field Training), Q-Studies
Master's thesis

Part-time studies are possible.

Forms of assessment

Assessment will be made in form of oral presentations, written reports and written and oral examinations. The Master's thesis is scheduled for the fourth semester.

Course objectives

The specialisation hydrography aims to qualify and train professionals with excellent competences in hydrographic surveying and nautical charting. Hydrographers are currently in high demand; companies and institutions are searching for qualified hydrographic staff worldwide.

Students acquire a comprehensive and broad-based knowledge in all aspects of hydrography and allied disciplines for a future career in the public sector, private industry or research fields.

Positions in the public sector are typically available in hydrographic offices and port authorities. Job opportunities in the private sector include: port and project surveys, surveys for marine exploration and mining, pipeline construction and investigation, offshore dredging, offshore constructions (e.g. windmill parks of offshore power generation), sensor and software technology, remote sensing, three-dimensional positioning and special navigation, geographical information systems (GIS) and electronic nautical charting, marine environment technology, marine geodesy, such as seismic, magnetic, and gravimetric exploration.

Language requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit official evidence of sufficient English knowledge. This may be:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) with at least 71 points or as an Institutional Testing Program (TOEFL ITP) with at least 490 points
  • International English Language Testing System - Academic Test (IELTS) with at least Band 5.0
  • TELC - at least level B1
  • Proof of a professional or subject-relevant stay of at least four months in an anglophone country
  • Proof of minimum 20 CP's course achievement in an anglophone study-programme
  • The advanced technical college certificate or the final grade certificate of year 12 or 13 of Germany secondary school in each case with the grade satisfactory (minimum 3.0 or 8 points according to the German grade system in secondary school)
  • Attendance of a minimum of one year at a general-education school in an anglophone country

In order to be prepared for everyday life in Germany, Hydrography students may attend German language courses at various levels at the HafenCity University Hamburg.

Academic requirements

Bachelor's or Master's degree in hydrography, surveying, geomatics or related fields

Non-German university degrees have to be approved by uni-assist. Information on requesting the preliminary documentation can be consulted online at

Enrolment fees

The enrolment fee is approx. 300 EUR per semester. Among other things it entitles students to use all public transport in the Hamburg Metropolitan Area.

Costs of living

Approx. 700 EUR per month

Job opportunities

Due to the intense nature of the programme, working while studying is sometimes difficult but still possible. Nevertheless, nearly all of our students have some sort of a part-time job in one of the study periods. The university itself offers students the opportunity to work as assistants for lectures, research or projects under the supervision of a professor. Students can also obtain off-campus part-time jobs in the public sector or private industry in the field of hydrography.
Students from the European Union and the EEA stand practically on equal terms with German students and have free access to the German job market. However, for students who do not come from the EU or EEA countries, work is restricted; they are only allowed to work up to a specific number or hours. German employment regulations have to be considered before taking on a job.

Funding opportunities within the university

Arrival support

The programme coordinators as well as the International Office can provide information needed for obtaining a visa, etc. Additionally, student "Welcome Buddies" will be of assistance in all practical matters upon arrival.

Services and support for international students

As the programme consists of a small group of students, extensive support is provided by faculty and staff.
In addition, HCU's International Office provides a number of advisory and social activities for international students, like the YOU@HCU Leisure and Cultural Programme. For information please refer to


The International Office can be of assistance in finding accommodation in a student hall of residence (rent approx. 350 EUR per month). Most of our international students live in Haus Bauhütte. See for further information.
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Study mode:Blended Languages: English
Local:$ 21.1 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 9.62 k / Year(s)
401–500 place StudyQA ranking: 2538