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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £10,110 (FT)
- £20,540 (FT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
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.
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:
About this degree
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.
Core modules introduce the theory underpinning GIS, along with programming skills (python) and the basics of spatial analysis and statistcs. You'll learn to critically engage with GIS rather than just pushing buttons - how does the way data is captured and modelled influence the results of your analysis? Do you get the same results from two different GIS packages? Knowing what is inside the 'black box' means you understand analytical results and their limitations.
- GIS Principles and Technology
- Principles of Spatial Analysis
- Mapping Science
- Representations, Structures and Algorithms
Term two is where you start to specialise, choosing modules that fit your interests, intended career choice and/or prepare you for your dissertation. At this point you can chose a heavilty technical route (e.g. databases, programming, human computer interaction) a more analytical route (spatio-temporal data mining, network and locational analysis, databases) or a mixture of the two routes. You will need to chose four modules in total.
- 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
- Network and Locational Analysis
- Image Understanding
- Ocean and Coastal Zone Management
- 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 examinations, group and individual coursework, formal and oral presentations, and the dissertation.
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 below.
- Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit 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.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
This highly regarded MSc has been running for nearly 30 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.
As well as weekly industrial seminars, you will have the option to do an industry-linked project, and you will be able to attend our annual GIS careers event, which is co-organized with the UK Assocation of Geographic Infrormation.
Department: Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering
Student / staff numbers
› 107 staff
including 48 postdocs
› 154 taught students
› 119 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering
78% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
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 highly 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.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
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.