MSc Geographical Information Science

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Applied Study Unit

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG70560
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course will offer two alternative forms of applied study. The first suitable for students looking to move into the environmental or GI industries will be based around a 3 week work placement which may be either external or internal associated with ongoing research projects.

The second option, more suitable for students aiming to pursue a research career will be to design and carry out a short laboratory/Computer based project on an agreed topic related to the degree course content.

Students will be responsible for finding a suitable placement either externally or internally attached to a research project. They will be assisted in this by the sessions from the careers service and will be encouraged to consult course staff for potential contacts.

Sessions 1 and 2 will take place in semester 1. Session 3 will be mid semester 2 before easter and the placements will take place between the beginning of the easter vacation and the end of semester 2. Exact timing will be variable to retain flexibility for employers and students.

  1. Introductory Session on opportunities in Industry
  2. Session Led by the Careers service on finding an appropriate placement opportunity
  3. Pre-Placement consultation with course tutor
  4. Pre-placement session covering expectations, and health and safety
  5. 3 week placement fulltime
  6. Debrief session

These sessions will be common to both the placement and project students. In order to retain comparability the expectation is that detailed project definition for project students will take place in week one of the placement period.


The aim of this module is to give students experience of the practical applications of their studies in an industrial or research setting, and, consequently, to enhance student employability and skills acquisition in a professional setting.

Teaching and learning methods

A combination of teaching and learning methods are employed to provide students with the necessary knowledge, structure and opportunities to achieve the learning outcomes. Lectures focus on appropriate job search strategy, health and safety and reflection on the work experience. Hands-on practical learning through the work experience also provides students with significant experience that will enable them to link their academic studies with professional skill acquisition. Diary entries on Blackboard will be utilised to facilitate learning, reflection, and feedback.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of environmental/geospatial industries

Intellectual skills

  • Reflect on the way in which their classroom studies relate to the commercial or research applications of their discipline

Practical skills

  • Apply a range of employment search strategies.
  • Undertake practical experience of the application of their studies either in industry or in a research context.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate the ability to work with the correct ethos in a professional environment

Assessment methods

Workplace Diary                                1500 words     40%
Reflective Report                             2500 words     60%

Feedback methods

Formative assessment and feedback (from both teaching staff and employers) is provided during and after the work placement. Formative feedback is provided through comments on the diary.  Summative feedback is provided on the reflective report. Informal monitoring and feedback are provided by employers and researchers involved in the work placements.

Recommended reading

Material supplied by the careers service. Applied geography publications such as Applied Geography and The Professional Geographer, among others.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 12
Placement hours
Placement 105
Independent study hours
Independent study 33

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Richard Figueroa Alfaro Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Lectures: 5 x 1-2hr meetings over semesters 1 and 2

Practical: 15 days work experience

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