GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc

The GIS (Geographical Information Science) MSc provides an education in the theoretical, scientific and practical aspects of GIS. It prepares students for technical and analytical GIS roles and is in high demand; we have very close links with industry and the majority of our students find employment prior to contemplating their degree.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,020 (FT) £N/A (PT)
£17,770 (FT) £N/A (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016
Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.

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.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

Students gain a solid grounding in the scientific principles underpinning the computational and analytical foundations of GISc. Our staff are world-leading experts in the areas of programming location-enabled Apps, spatial and 3D databases, big spatio-temporal analytics, citizen science and and human computer interaction, and the MSc therefore is able to offer a wide range of options and specialisations.

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, four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), full-time nine months 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 – Apps and Programming
  • Spatial Databases and Data Management
  • Plus no more than 30 credits of optional modules (all term two) selected from :
  • Airborne Data Acquisition
  • Applied Building Information Modelling
  • Geodemographics and Population Geography
  • Image Understanding
  • Ocean and Coastal Zone Management
  • Positioning
  • Research Methods
  • Terrestrial Data Acquisition


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–15,000 words. Where appropriate, this may be undertaken in conjunction with one of our many industrial partners, including Arup, Joint Research Centre, British Red Cross, Transport for London.

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 who give weekly seminars describing how GIS is used in their field as well as what they are looking for when recruiting graduate GIS students. Assessment is through unseen and take-home written examinations, group and individual coursework, formal and oral presentations, and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site GIS (Geographic Information Science) MSc


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

SPDC Niger Delta Postgraduate Scholarship - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

Tuition fees, plus stipend, flights and allowances. (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


There are excellent employment prospects for our graduates, with starting salaries of around £25,000. Recent GIS graduates have found openings with large engineering design firms (such as Arup or WSP), specialist consultancy firms such as Deloitte or Informed Solutions, in leading professional software companies (such as ESRI or Google), with local authorities, for organisations such as Shell, Tesco, the Environment Agency, Transport for London, NHS and the Ordnance Survey.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Technical Consultant, Informed Solutions (2013)
  • Information Science Specialist, Arup (2014)
  • Developer Evangelist, ESRI UK (2014)
  • GeoInformation Analyst, Shell (2013)
  • GIS Analyst, Knight Frank (2014)


Students will develop specific skills including a fundamental understanding of GIS and its application to real-world problems, through theoretical lectures covering the foundations of the science – how data is captured, map creation, generalisation, spatial data management, spatial analysis, data quality and error, spatial algorithms. Students will develop strong technical (python, R, Java, HTML, Javascript, SQL) and analytical skills (data mining, human computer interaction and usability), and in order to fully understand the principles behind GIS will make use of multiple GIS packages, both proprietary and free/open source (ArcGIS, QGIS).

Why study this degree at UCL?

This highly regarded MSc has been running for 25 years and is taught by internationally recognised academics. Our specialist GIS laboratory offers the latest open source and proprietary software and our unique dual focus on the computer science and analytical aspects of GIS means that you will be able to develop your skills in multiple directions.

Our close links with industry (a strong alumni group and weekly industrial seminars) mean that you will be able to directly link your classroom learning with your future career as a GIS professional; you can also undertake your dissertation with an industrial partner.

Student / staff ratios › 95 staff including 43 postdocs › 200 taught students › 170 research students

Department: Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

Application and next steps


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.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students who wish to develop both the analytical and the strongly technical GIS skills that are much in demand in the modern GIS profession. GIS is very interdisciplinary and we will consider applications from all backgrounds. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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