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Student and lecturer in a geography lab
MSc Geographical Information Science
Gain thorough expertise in spatial data analysis for a range of specialist careers.

MSc Geographical Information Science

Year of entry: 2019

Overview

Degree awarded
Master of Science (MSc)
Duration
12 months (full-time); 24 months (part-time)
Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 Honours degree.

We welcome applicants from a range of degree backgrounds, especially geography and environmental sciences. Graduates in biological sciences, mathematics, engineering, or a cognate discipline are also welcome.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online  (from 8 October 2018)

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MSc Y Y N N

Course overview

  • Join one of the top 25 Geography departments in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019).
  • Develop advanced theoretical geographical information science (GIS) knowledge and understanding, alongside expertise in widely used geographic information systems and remote sensing software packages.
  • Gain thorough expertise in spatial data analysis and applying it to GIS projects.
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Geography Taught master's (Alumni showcase - The University of Manchester)

Open days

The University holds regular open days, where you will have the opportunity to tour the campus and find out more about our facilities and courses.

On this day, you will find out more about the School of Environment, Education and Development and our resources, and meet academic and admissions staff who will be able to answer any questions you have.

For more information, see  Open days

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500
    International students (per annum): £18,500
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750
    International students (per annum): £9,250

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for international students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit postgraduate fees

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Scholarships/sponsorships

We offer a number of postgraduate taught scholarships and merit awards to outstanding applicants and international students.

In addition, the Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a first-class Bachelors degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course.

For more information, see Fees and funding or search the University's postgraduate funding database .

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Andreea Mocanu
Telephone
+ 44 (0) 161 275 4491
Email
Website
https://www.seed.manchester.ac.uk/
School/Faculty
See: The School .

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Minimum 2:1 Honours degree.

We welcome applicants from a range of degree backgrounds, especially geography and environmental sciences. Graduates in biological sciences, mathematics, engineering, or a cognate discipline are also welcome.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English should meet the following language requirements:

  • IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.5 in writing, no sub-section below 6.0
  • TOEFL iBT overall score of 90 with a minimum score of 22 in writing and 20 in the other subsections 
  • Pearson PTE overall score of 59 with a minimum score of 59 in the written section and 55 in all other subsections
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) overall score of 176 or above, with 176 in writing and no sub-section below 169 - OR - Grade C if taken before January 2015

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online  (from 8 October 2018)

Advice to applicants

Please submit the following documents with your completed application form:
  • copies of official degree certificates and transcripts of your previous study, showing the subjects taken and grades obtained. If these documents are in languages other than English please provide official translations;
  • two written references, one of which should be familiar with your academic work, signed, dated and stamped by the referee and on official headed paper;
  • a personal statement (maximum 500 words) detailing why you wish to study the course, your experiences, what you can bring to the course and any other information that you see as relevant to your application;
  • your CV;
  • copies of English Language Certification, eg IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson test score report. 

Ensure that you enclose all the necessary documents, as the delay caused in having to seek any missing documents from you might adversely prejudice your application.

How your application is considered

Once your application has been received, our admissions team will contact you. We may ask you to submit additional information, if necessary.

If you decide to accept your offer, when you arrive in Manchester you will be required to show to us the original documents which demonstrate your academic qualifications and your English language ability.

Returning to education

Return-to-learn students are those who have had a substantial period away from any formal learning. Often such learners have pursued careers or raised a family.

We understand that students come from many different backgrounds, with varying qualifications, careers and skills, but they often bring to their studies a high degree of motivation and experience.

We recognise that standard selection measures and procedures may not enable these learners to demonstrate fully their suitability for their chosen course.

Where appropriate, admissions officers will seek and consider alternative evidence in order to give such learners equivalent consideration. Where they deem this alternative evidence meets entry criteria fully, the learner will not be required to meet the standard academic entry requirements.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. 

In your new application, you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

MSc Geographical Information Science focuses on the multi-disciplinary science concerned with the development and application of geographical information science technologies. It will prepare you to pursue a career in a geographical information science field.

Geographical information technologies are increasingly used in everyday life, such as Google Earth and geosocial networking. Core geographical information science technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing, have had a long history of application in government and private sector environmental agencies, planning, agriculture, forestry, utilities and transportation.

This course will enable you to develop fundamental skills and in-depth knowledge of key application areas. You can choose to undertake an applied study unit, which gives a range of work experience skills and can lead to dissertation opportunities working with key local and national employers.

We offer research-led teaching and a range of extra-curricular activities designed to deepen and enhance your learning experience. These include access to additional training resources, educational visits, career talks, and alumni presentations.

You will gain experience using commercial and open source software and acquire skills in the development of spatial software for both desktop and online platforms.

What's more, during 2017 we hosted the 25th Geographical Information Science Research UK (GISRUK) conference; the largest national GIS research conference.

Manchester is the ideal place to study Geography. The world's first industrial city, now a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis set between three National Parks, Manchester and its environment are an important resource for field teaching throughout your course.

Geography has been taught at The University of Manchester for more than 125 years.

We have a vibrant community of students and academic staff, with a wide range of teaching and research interests and an impressive international research reputation.

Aims

You will develop advanced knowledge of and practical experience in:

  • GIS and remote sensing theory and practice;
  • advanced techniques for GIS analysis and image processing;
  • spatial analysis;
  • computer modelling and software development;
  • internet and GIS Web technologies;
  • databases and database technologies;
  • scientific communication of analytical results and their interpretation.

Special features

  • Geography has been studied at Manchester for more than 125 years, and we're one of Europe's best-equipped universities for the subject.
  • We're home to world-class academics and the new Manchester Urban Institute (MUI).
  • Benefit from worldwide fieldwork opportunities and strong industry links.
  • 90% of our Geography research is rated as `world-leading' or `internationally excellent' in terms of impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Join the Manchester University Geographical Society (MUGS) , a society run by Geography students for Geography Students.

Teaching and learning

The course has five core course units.

You select your remaining four course units from a wide range of options offered by Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, and the Global Development Institute (GDI), all within the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED). These optional course units enable you to tailor the course to your unique interests.

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months. There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director and seek approval from your employer. Timetabling information is usually available from late August. You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is primarily coursework-based and includes a variety of project work, essays and presentations. This enables you to gain a significant amount of hands-on experience of applying geographical information science skills to real world environmental applications.

The dissertation, based on an original research project of your own design, accounts for 60 credits. Dissertation topics can focus on aspects of geographical information science (GIS) and are supported by researchers who specialise in core areas of GIS, remote sensing, or modelling. The remaining 120 credits are based on eight 15-credit course units (four in each semester).

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
GIS & Environmental Applications GEOG40951 15 Mandatory
Dissertation Support GEOG60662 15 Mandatory
Environmental Remote Sensing GEOG60942 15 Mandatory
GIS and Environmental Applications GEOG60951 15 Mandatory
GIS and the Web GEOG70611 15 Mandatory
Understanding GIS GEOG71552 15 Mandatory
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Practice GEOG70552 15 Optional
Applied Study Unit GEOG70560 15 Optional
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Concepts GEOG70581 15 Optional
GIS and the Web GEOG70611 15 Optional
Ideas in Mapping GEOG70621 15 Optional
Understanding GIS GEOG71552 15 Optional
Spatial Analysis for Social Sciences GEOG72801 15 Optional
A Critical Introduction to GIS and Disasters HCRI60072 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Information and Information Systems MGDI60481 15 Optional
ICTs in Practice MGDI71932 15 Optional
Neighbourhood Planning Project PLAN60812 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units

Facilities

We are one of Europe's best-equipped universities for geography, with numerous laboratories. These include the main teaching laboratory, microscopy laboratory, and sediments and project laboratories.

You can also learn professional skills such as coding and programing specialist, industry-standard software such as image processing, GIS, GPS and cartographic representation.

The University's Main Library is the largest university library system in the UK apart from the copyright libraries and has a number of different working spaces. It is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world.

We also have our very own Kantorowich Library, which contains many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

For more information, see Facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

Geography graduates have particularly great employment prospects, and go on to shape environmental policy through positions in the public and private sectors.

Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in areas including consultancy, research, non-governmental organisations, project management, environmental management, agriculture and forestry, environmental sciences, energy, oil and gas, marketing, finance, and water.

Top employers of our graduates include DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Organic Soil Association, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and UNEP.

You will have the opportunity to learn from staff with advanced and practical understanding of GIS. The taught component of the course, together with the experience of carrying out a postgraduate-level dissertation project, provides you with an excellent foundation for PhD research in numerous fields that involve geospatial data analysis, including physical and human geography, planning, development, and the environmental and earth sciences. There is a high demand worldwide for individuals with these skills.

For more information, see Careers and employability