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.
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 - 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
-Representations, Structures and Algorithms
Optional modules - term two is where you start to specialise, chosing 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
-Ocean and Coastal Zone Management
-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.
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.
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.