MSc in Geographical Information Systems

The Geographical Information Systems pathway aims to provide students with a broadly based postgraduate qualification in the field of GIS.  Importantly, it offers students choice in the selection of their application area (with a range of units available).  The pathway helps students to develop an in-depth knowledge of the issues involved in applying GIS to solving spatial problems with an understanding of the constraints imposed by the application area(s) and the interactions between data, methods, people, and technology.


Key learning outcomes:

On successful completion of MSc Geographical Information Systems, students will be able to:

  1. Systematically evaluate the principles and methods that underpin the development of a GIS solution

  2. Synthesise and evaluate the interactions between data, methods and technology and the impact and constraints they place on applications of GIS

  3. Analyse and evaluate the benefits and challenges presented by the implementation of GIS

  4. Appraise the technical issues in the development of GIS applications

  5. Plan, design, implement and evaluate appropriate methodologies for GIS applications

  6. Design and implement a small-scale GIS research application


The PgC stage comprises three units and is common for all UNIGIS UK students irrespective of their chosen pathway

Foundations of GIS

This unit provides a wide-ranging introduction to the concepts, theories, methods, and application of Geographical Information Systems and Science. 


Geodata: Sources, Standards and Quality

This unit will provide students with an appreciation of how spatial data are created and sourced to meet the requirements of different geospatial applications, and how error and uncertainty can impact upon data quality.


Spatial Databases

This unit will provide the student with a solid foundation in the theory and practice of databases in general and spatial databases in particular.



The PgD stage includes a core research methods unit and two optional unit choices (one from Option A, one from Option B)

Research Methods in the Spatial Sciences - Geographical Information Systems

This unit supports students in their research journey focusing on the identification of GI Systems and Science research problems and suitable strategies (including advanced spatial analysis methods) to investigate them.


Option A units:

Data Analytics

The aim of the unit is to teach students advanced theories and skills to creatively and critically analyse large, complex geographical datasets.


Environmental Analysis and Modelling

This unit introduces case study examples of how GIS analysis and environmental modelling can be used in environmental applications and seeks to critically evaluate their potential value.


Earth Observation for GIS

This unit provides students with an introduction to the principles of Earth Observation and explores its role in data gathering (including recent sensor developments) and information extraction for GIS applications.


Option B units:

Distributed Geographical Information Systems

This unit will provide the student with a solid foundation in the practice of Distributed GIS and the standards required to make it effective.


GIS Programming

The aim of the unit is to provide the GIS practitioner with the theory and skills to extend GIS by programming.


The final MSc stage involves a Research Dissertation

This unit requires students to undertake an independent research project in the field of GI Systems, Science and Technology, and report their findings in an extended dissertation.