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MSc Geography - Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Course Description

The MSc in Geoinformatics addresses the growing need for science-trained postgraduates who are technically aware and competent to work in the field of geoinformatics, particularly as applied to environmental and resource management. This twelve month full-time course of study covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of geoinformatics, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), satellite navigation systems, cartography, visualisation, programming and web services.

The course consists of 60 credits of taught modules, followed by independent research towards a dissertation worth 30 credits. In addition to the taught modules, you will have the opportunity to meet practitioners through regular seminars led by experts in the discipline from Ireland and abroad, visits to local geoinformatics enterprises and attendance at relevant Irish conferences. With an MSc in GIS and RS, you will be highly sought after by employers on graduation.

Visit the website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ckr09/

Course Detail

The course introduces you to the foundational concepts of GIS, RS and cartography in the first teaching period, with lectures and practical classes which explore the underlying principles of the subjects. These skills are developed in the second teaching period with more advanced digital image processing, spatial analysis and computer programming, again taught through lectures and practical classes.

Running throughout both teaching periods are modules which develop your research skills and explore the applications, technologies and systems of geoinformatics. These modules are taught through a variety of methods which include workshops, seminars, fieldtrips, conferences, site visits, group projects and independent study.

Leading national and international geoinformatics practitioners are invited to lead seminars highlighting industrial, commercial and governmental applications and, where applicable, to demonstrate different equipment used in the discipline. You are encouraged to explore your own interests in geoinformatics through self-directed studies, oral presentations, networking with professional researchers and attending the annual national GIS and RS conferences held each autumn.

One of the highlights of the teaching period is the weekend field trip which allows students to gain hands-on experience with a variety of different instruments and to experience the complete data acquisition, processing, evaluation and presentation chain.

When you complete the taught modules you are eligible to undertake the research project in an area of your own choice within the geoinformatics discipline over a four month period from May to September. This research may be undertaken in the university or with the support of a commercial placement organised by you and culminates in a 15,000 word thesis. All students have a dedicated computer in the masters’ lab in the Department of Geography and are provided with student copies of relevant software as well as access to departmental equipment as necessary for research projects.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/science/page05.html#geographical


During the two teaching periods, there are daily classes that typically consist of one to two hours of morning lectures followed by two to three hours of afternoon practical sessions in the computer lab. For every hour of taught classes, students are expected to spend two to three hours on self-directed study. An overnight stay may be required for attendance at the national conferences, depending on their location, but the weekend field trip is within easy travelling distance of Cork. Students are made aware of the dates of these events at the earliest opportunity and they are a compulsory part of the course.

Placement and Study Abroad Information

While there are no compulsory placement requirements as part of the course, you are actively encouraged to seek opportunities to develop your skills in a commercial environment as part of the independent research project. Several successful partnerships have been developed in this way, resulting in students having access to data and knowledge not available in-house and enabling them to undertake novel and innovative research that directly supports the work of a commercial or government enterprise.


Because of the very practical nature of the subject, there is a large element of coursework with some of the taught modules assessed entirely through computer-based exercises, written reports, projects and practical activities. Some modules are also assessed through a combination of coursework and examination at the end of each of the two teaching periods. Students are assessed on valuable transferable skills that include written, mathematical, problem-solving and oral assignments, many of which are completed individually or in small groups.


You will gain a wide variety of technical skills on this programme, including computer-based activities and use of field instruments. You are also made aware of the importance of theoretical concepts, policy initiatives and commercial constraints and limitations which impact on the use of geoinformatics in the workplace. Many transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem-solving, report writing, oral presentations, statistical analysis, independent research and time management.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

Visit the MSc Geography - Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing page on the University College Cork website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Minimum of a 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in geography, geology, environmental sciences, computer science, physics, maths, engineering, or a discipline relevant to geoinformatics, see detailed entry requirements

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