GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc

Options: PG Diploma

The GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc is designed to educate students in the theoretical, scientific and practical aspects of geographic information science, and covers a range of topics from quantitative spatial analytical techniques to web-mapping, mobile maps and location-based services.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,750

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

Students gain a solid grounding in the scientific principles underpinning spatial analysis and the computational foundations of GIS, as well as a broader practical understanding of topics such as the analysis of GIS user needs, modern programming environments and database management systems and their application within Geographical Information systems.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc at UCL is taught by internationally recognised academics, and is run in a department renowned around the world for its teaching and research. Being based at UCL, one of the world’s premier academic institutions, students undertaking the MSc in GIS (Geographic Information Science) have access to a wealth of knowledge from the physical and engineering sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The well-established and highly regarded GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc has been taught by the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering for two decades. Hundreds of students from around the world have graduated and you will find our alumni working on every continent, employed across a broad spectrum of agencies, institutions and organisations in the private and public sectors, as well as research organisations such as universities.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research project (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is offered.

Compulsory Modules

  • GIS Principles and Technology
  • Principles of Spatial Analysis
  • Mapping Science
  • Representations, Structures and Algorithms


  • At least 30 credits of optional modules selected from :
  • Geographical Information System Design
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis and Data Mining
  • Web and Mobile GIS

  • Plus no more than 30 credits of optional modules (all term two) selected from :
  • Airborne Data Acquisition
  • Geodemographics and Population Geography
  • Image Understanding
  • Management/Group Project
  • Network and Location Analysis
  • Ocean and Coastal Zone Management
  • Positioning
  • Research Methods
  • Spatial Decision Support
  • Terrestrial Data Acquisition


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, practical classes, demonstrations and tutorials, and is supported by a series of external speakers from industry and visits to industrial and government establishments. Assessment is through unseen and take-home written examinations, group and individual coursework, formal and oral presentations, and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:


International students may wish to approach their country's Ministry of Education to see if there are any grants for international study.

Scholarships available for this department

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

This scholarship is to assist prospective Master's students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the United Kingdom. Students must not have previously studied for one year or more in a developed country and must hold the equivalent of a UK first- or upper second-class undergraduate degree. Students must have applied to study one of the 10 eligible Master's programmes. Students must return to their home country on completion of their degree.

SPDC Niger Delta Postgraduate Scholarship

For prospective Master's students from the Nigerian Delta States. Students must be applying for the Chemical Process Engineering MSc, the Civil Engineering MSc or the Mechanical Engineering MSc, and must not have aleady had the chance of studying in the UK or another developed country. Students must not be current or former employees of SPDC, the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies or Wider Perspectives Ltd, or be a the relative of a current employee, and must intend to return to Nigeria after completion of the degree. These awards are based on intellectual ability and leadership potential.

Brown Family Bursary

This award is based on financial need.

R.C. Vaughan Bursary

Founded in 1976 by Dr K.K. Gupta as a memorial to Mr R.C. Vaughan who was a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1940 to 1952

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Extensive work experience covering related areas will be considered.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2014.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students who wish to develop both the necessary analytical skills to perform research using GIS, as well as the technical skills to develop suitable systems and an understanding of the use of GIS beyond academia.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Geographic Information Science at graduate level
  • why you want to study Geographic Information Science at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


There are excellent employment prospects for our graduates. Students who specialise in geographic information systems find openings in consultancy, local government, public industry, GIS vendors and developers and the information supply industry, as well as in continued research.


Many of our graduates go on to work as GIS analysts for construction and planning companies (such as Arup and Crossrail), or as Software Developers in leading professional software companies (such as ESRI and MapInfo) by developing innovative spatial tools and specialised spatial software, or as GIS specialists for companies and organisations such as Shell, M&S, Tesco, Environment Agency, Met Police, TfL, NHS, Ordnance Survey.

Next steps


Miss Shani Crawford

T: +44 (0)20 3108 4046


Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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