Geographical Information Systems, MSc

Geographical Information Systems, MSc


Over 25 years of excellence in postgraduate teaching of remote sensing, GIS, visualisation, digital mapping and cartography.

  • MSc Geographical Information Systems is also available to study part time online.
  • This course has both January and September start dates.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January

Geospatial technologies are of increasing importance in many areas of commercial, industrial, and government employment, including nature conservation agencies, civil and coast engineering projects and marine and coastal zone management. As a result, the demand for courses in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and the related technologies has grown considerably.

A recent survey suggests that demand by employers for graduates with skills in the application of geospatial technology will continue to grow, particularly in areas where the practical application of spatial knowledge and understanding to environmental problems is important.

The Geographical Information Systems programme covers the fundamentals of techniques and tools for acquiring, storing, processing, classifying, analysing, and visualising spatially referenced data, and their application to the study of the Earth. This includes:

  • Spatial databases
  • Programming
  • Simulation and modelling
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Digital mapping and cartography
  • Airborne, satellite and UAV remote sensing
  • Digital image processing
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • WebGIS and Internet atlases
  • Field data capture
  • Mobile GIS

Available Programmes of Study


Geographical Information Systems

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January More
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September More

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,000
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £10,000
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by a combination of written and practical assignments, presentations and laboratory reports as prescribed for each course and a dissertation, together with an oral examination and poster presentation.

Why Study Geographical Information Systems?

  • There are numerous opportunities to engage with industry throughout the programme and the skills and knowledge that you will develop will open up opportunities for you to work in a number of businesses. One example of industry engagement is the opportunity to visit and receive a case study presentation from Aberdeen Harbour Board, the UK oil and gas industry's key port.
  • You are encouraged to join a professional society such as the Association for Geographic Information (AGI), the Remote Sensing Society (RSS), the British Cartographic Society (BCS), the UK Hydrographic Society, and the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
  • You will study with like-minded people, both students and staff, which creates a very positive environment and establishes a close network of support during your studies and beyond.
  • The programme draws upon a wide range of international, national, and local expertise in: coastal and marine science, landscape ecology and landscape change, archaeology, integrated coastal management, offshore, hydrographic and underwater survey, renewable energy, geology and hydrocarbon exploration, environmental risks and hazards, marine and terrestrial spatial planning, precision agriculture and climate change.
  • Geography has a strong tradition at Aberdeen having been successfully taught here since the foundation of Marischal College in 1593 and established as a formal unit within the University in 1919.
  • The department, and its students, are at a distinct advantage being based in the north east of Scotland. The University is in close proximity to some of the most environmentally important and geographically varied landscapes in the whole of the UK, including the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Students have the opportunity to engage with industry in a number of ways, and we have developed close working relationships through research and teaching with key organisations, including Aberdeen Harbour Board, SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park, James Hutton Institute, Crown Estate.
  • Field trips are an integral part of all our degree programmes in the Department.
  • Our research is organised into three broad research themes: Sustainable Development and Transformation, Earth Surface Processes, Palaeoecology. We draw from social, environmental and geosciences to address local and global sustainability challenges and the impact of rapid environmental change on contemporary surface processes.

Entry Requirements

Motivation and understanding of this degree is an important factor in securing admission. Your personal statement/statement of purpose should focus on providing answers to the following questions:

  • What is your background in geospatial technologies?
  • What specific aspects and areas of geospatial technologies are you interested in?
  • What applications of geospatial technologies would you like to pursue whilst in Aberdeen, and why?
  • How do you think your background (both academic and work-related) is relevant to the study of the geospatial technologies?
  • How do you see a qualification in the geospatial technologies helping your future career?


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

2:2 (lower second class) Honours degree or equivalent in Agriculture, Archaeology, Computing Science, Ecology, Engineering, Environmental Science, Forestry, Geography, Geology, Geomatics, Marine & Coastal Science, Marine Biology, Marine Science, Mathematics, Physics, Planning, Plant Science, Soil Science or Zoology.

Candidates with degrees in other subject areas will be considered if they can demonstrate interest, aptitude and/or experience in a field relevant to the application of geospatial technologies.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded postgraduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


The GIS programme continues to have a very successful employment record in the commercial sector, environmental agencies, local and national government, research, and academia. Graduates have gone on to work in a variety of roles, including; project officers, programmers, sales managers, GIS engineer, senior consultant GIS specialist and project managers.

Career opportunities are highlighted through site visits, field trips, guest lectures, and chances to work with organisations as part of the MSc Dissertation. This programme focuses students on the acquisition of practical experience, specialist knowledge and understanding, and problem-solving skills to pursue careers in any of these fields. In addition, there is the possibility of industry suggested projects, dependent upon minimum academic requirements, and industrial input and contact with geospatial practitioners.

Career Opportunities

  • GIS Consultant
  • GIS Technician
  • Planning Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Spatial Data Consultant

Industry Links

The programme is supported by our Industry Advisory Board:

  • Stewart Angus - SNH (Environmental)
  • Martin Berry - Fugro (Offshore Survey)
  • Scott Buchan - Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) (Hydrography)
  • Andy Dare - Andrews Survey (Offshore Survey)
  • Marshall Halliday - Esk Rivers & Fisheries Trust (Trust)
  • Damian Ling - Chevron (Oil and Gas)
  • Aftab Majeed - Aberdeen City Council (Local Authority)
  • Mike Mawby - Ops Input Limited (Oil and Gas)
  • Dave Scott - Bristow Aerial Solutions (UAV)

Hear from Business

  • Aberdeen Harbour Board
    Aberdeen Harbour Board

    Aberdeen Harbour Board

    Students visit the harbour and are given a presentation on "Hydrographic Surveying" at the Marine Operations Centre and a look over their multi-purpose craft "Sea Herald". This is just an example of one industry that relies on GIS technology.

What our Alumni Say

James Watt

James Watt

James Watt

Graduated 2014

I really enjoyed the course which provided me with an excellent understanding of the tools and techniques required for sourcing, organising, manipulating and analysing spatially referenced data within a GIS environment.

Aapo Jaakkola

Aapo Jaakkola

Aapo Jaakkola

Job Details
Processing Supervisor
Graduated 2012

I wanted to study GIS and the related technologies as I had already undertaken some basic GIS courses previously. I was also interested in GIS as it is an expanding area with good employment opportunities.

Bader Almutairi

Bader Almutairi

Bader Almutairi

Graduated 2016

I loved the fact that the course is taught in a varied and interesting way, with regular field trips such as Stonehaven and Knock Farm. I have learned a lot, from the basics of GIS & RS to specific topics. It was a very challenging experience.

Gameli Kormla Agboada

Gameli Kormla Agboada

Gameli Kormla Agboada

Job Details
Geomatic Engineer
Graduated 2016

My choice of the University of Aberdeen has been informed by its reputation in academic excellence.

Robert Watret

Robert Watret

Robert Watret

Graduated 2016

The MSc in GIS has expanded considerably my practical knowledge and even more so my theoretical/technical knowledge.

Ryan Peck

Ryan Peck

Ryan Peck

Graduated 2016

During the course I was not disappointed and managed to meet several industry experts from a variety of areas such as environmental surveying, oil and gas and offshore planning.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr David Green

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


Image for Association for Geographic Information (AGI)
Association for Geographic Information (AGI)

Association for Geographic Information (AGI)

Become a student member of the AGI. Each year, the AGI sponsor a student dissertation prize.

Find out more
Image for GIS Industry visits
GIS Industry visits

GIS Industry visits

Industry visits and field-trips are an important part of the degree. Opportunities change each year but we can guarantee and excellent and relevant experience.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX