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Course content

Please note this programme will be undergoing some changes for the 2018/19 entry and courses may be subject to change between now and the commencement of the programme in September 2018.

This programme offers you the chance to develop a detailed understanding of the application of geographical information science (GIS) and related technologies within the field of archaeology.

The programme retains a distinctive Scottish flavour, and students will benefit from the guidance of internationally recognised staff.

The programme combines the pedigree of Edinburgh’s GIS expertise with a long-established reputation in archaeological teaching and research.

You will gain a broad understanding of the use of GIS in archaeological surveying, recording and research and will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills necessary to work in this vibrant area.

Demand for the application of GIS within archaeology is growing at an unprecedented rate, including searching for new archaeological sites, determining the societal context of existing sites and examining the interplay between successive occupations of a site.

The proven ability of our GIS graduates in employment means our programme is held in high regard by a wide range of employers.

Programme structure

The programme is organised into two semesters of taught courses, delivered through lectures and seminars, after which you will work towards your individual dissertation.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • GIS & Spatial Analysis for Archaeologists
  • Spatial Modelling and Analysis
  • Research Practice & Project Planning
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:

  • Exploring the Past with Data Science
  • Quantitative Methods & Reasoning in Archaeology
  • Technological Infrastructures for GIS
  • Visual Analytics
  • Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing
  • Active Remote Sensing: Radar and LiDAR
  • Passive Earth Observation: new platforms, sensors and analytical methods
  • Business Geographics
  • Space , Place and Time: the archaeology of built environments
  • The Scottish Lowlands: Archaeology and Landscape before the Normans

Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change. Field trip

There is a field trip focusing on techniques for capturing geospatial information. This field trip has historically taken place at the Kindrogan Field Centre, Perthshire.

Career opportunities

The expertise gained on this programme will allow you to continue to study or to pursue a career in surveying, illustration and 3D visualisation, digital archiving, heritage management, terrain modelling, database management, geomatics or consultancy.

Our GIS graduates have gained work in both public and private sector organisations, including Historic Scotland, English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, thinkWhere (formerly Forth Valley GIS) and CFA Archaeology.

Related programmes

You may also be interested in the following programmes:

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.


Visit the Geographical Information Science & Archaeology (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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