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PgCert Hydrography B

Short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED 2011 level 5)


Duration 2 semesters
Cost Standard 250 euro's + 20 euro's per ECTS. 60 ECTS Programme

The objective of hydrography is to collect and record information about the physical features of water bodies  (oceans, seas, lakes, …). Hydrographers measure the water depth and search for all types of submerged ridges, banks, wrecks, … rising from the bed of those water bodies . They also gather information on the water levels, tides and currents and use this information in models. Hydrographers also gather  information regarding  other physical parameters of  water bodies (such as the temperature, salinity, …).

The main output of hydrographers’ work are nautical charts, tidal predictions and volume calculations (e.g. for dredging purposes). These data collected on the world’s oceans, seas and rivers have many applications that are indispensable to the merchant marine, offshore activities, dredging, environmental and underwater projects.  This specialized work is carried out by a hydrographic surveyor.  He will not only be involved during the preparatory activities but also during the data processing  and the follow- up actions.

Hydrography in Belgium

The Hydrography B programme is the first of its kind in Belgium. The Institute for Hydrography (IVH), created within the Antwerp Maritime Academy facilitates its organisation. The collaboration between the Antwerp Maritime Academy and Ghent University results in a unique concentration of combined knowledge and experience. The emphasis of the Hydrography B programme lies on a solid theoretical framework, complemented by practical and hands-on experience. 

The emphasis of the Hydrography B programme lies on a solid theoretical framework, complemented by practical and hands-on experience. For the integrated fieldwork and fieldwork-related aspects, the IVH relies on its partners from governmental organisations and the industry: the Agency of Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK), Flanders Hydraulics Research, DEME, Eurosense,, G-tec, and Jan De Nul.

The Hydrography B programme has been accredited by the IBSC on behalf of its parent organizations (FIG/IHO/ICA) in 2013. 

After successful completion of the Hydrography B postgraduate course, students will get a Basic Hydrographic Surveyor certificate from the HZS.

The postgraduate course Hydrography B has a duration of minimum one year, depending on previous qualifications and/or work experience. This year equals a total of 60 ECTS. During this year, theoretical modules alternate with fieldwork periods.

The academic year is divided into two semesters. Throughout the year, students will participate in classes during four theoretical modules. These are alternated with periods of fieldwork in a hydrographic company or institute of choice, to obtain specialized skills in a real work environment. At the end of each semester there are examinations of the finished theory courses. Around May, a compulsory integrated fieldwork period allows the students to participate in workshops, seminars and company visits.

The fieldwork is evaluated by means of a Training Record Book and permanent evaluation. This facilitates monitoring the progress of the candidates and offering assistance when necessary. The evaluation of the fieldwork takes place in September and January of each academic year.

The theoretical courses are held at the Antwerp Maritime Academy and at Ghent University. The integrated fieldwork period takes place in various locations.

The programme as presented here is a full-time programme. A part-time programme can be obtained by taking up some of these classes:

Theory Classes ECTS Location
ICT 3 UGent
Navigation 6 HZS
Safety 3 HZS
Seamanship 3 HZS
Tides and Currents 3 HZS
Geodesy and Cartography 3 UGent
Hydrographic Surveying 6 UGent
Data Management  3 UGent
Geology and Geophysics 3 UGent
Legal Aspects 3 HZS
Integrated Fieldwork (compulsory) 5 On location
Fieldwork (Practice) 24 On location

Application procedure

Before you apply. Make sure you meet the entry requirements: check the full list under 'Brochures and documents'.

Required documents include:

  • Qualifications: Bachelor degree, academic transcript and possible certificates. Evidence of knowledge Mathematics and Physics
  • Evidence of English language ability, if English is not your first language

When to apply. 

Applications can be made between 1 February and 31 July. Non-EU applicants however should complete the procedure before 30 June. Contact the hydrography administration for more information.

Apply - step 1: register online

On this page, you can find the online registration form. With this basic information we can start to create your personal file. You will receive confirmation of your registration via email, and documents to complete your application:

  • an application portfolio
  • a document to request exemptions.

Apply - step 2: application portfolio and documents

Complete your personal curriculum on this application portfolio. As candidates need to meet the entry requirements, you need to provide a copy of some documents. Send these per mail or e-mail to the Antwerp Maritime Academy.

Apply - step 3 (optional): request for exemptions

Candidates with experience in the field may be eligible for exemptions. To request academic and fieldwork exemptions, complete and send the ‘exemptions’ portfolio.

Grant opportunities

Belgian students may be eligible for ‘betaald educatief verlof’; see the website of the Federale Overheidsdienst WASO for more information. Application forms can be obtained at the student administration. Please notify the student administration if you want to apply, as lecturers need to take absence. It is also possible to pay with ‘opleidingscheques’.

Learning outcomes


At the end of each semester there are examinations of the finished theory courses. The fieldwork is evaluated by means of a Training Record Book and permanent evaluation.


In order to be eligible, candidates require the following qualifications as a minimum:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent;
  • Good knowledge of mathematics: differential and integral calculus, matrix algebra, co-ordinate geometry (2 and 3 dimensional) , spherical trigonometry, theory of errors, functions, series, complex variables;
  • Good knowledge of physics: units of measure, mechanics, signal modulation, measurement of time, electricity and magnetism, optics, transducers, pressure, electronics;
  • Good knowledge of English as all courses are in English.

See the detailed entry requirements for more information. 

ISCED Categories

Marine Geology
Navigation and seamanship