Learn practical GIS skills and how to analyse spatial data.

Join a university with over 30 years of excellence in postgraduate teaching of remote sensing, GIS, visualisation, digital mapping and cartography.

You can also study MSc Geographical Information Systems full-time on campus.

Geospatial technologies are of increasing importance in many areas of commercial, industrial, and government employment. This includes nature conservation agencies, civil and coastal engineering projects, and marine and coastal zone management. As a result, the demand for skills in GIS and related technologies has grown considerably.

On this GIS degree, you’ll study the techniques and tools for acquiring, storing, processing, classifying, analysing and visualising spatially referenced data, and their application to the study of the Earth.

You’ll cover:

  • 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.
The Association for Geographic Information

Association for Geographic Information (AGI)

Joining this MSc entitles you to free student membership of the AGI and AGI Scotland.

Read about the AGI.

What you’ll study

You can choose to study for a:

  • Masters (180 credits)
  • or start with one of the short courses that make up this degree (typically 15 credits).

How you’ll study

MSc Geographical Information Systems is delivered part-time, 100% online.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including online access to our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from internationally experienced geoscientists and academics, with direct input from industry via guest lectures and an industry advisory board. Your industry advisory board members are:

  • 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)

They constantly review your course content to make sure your training is always cutting edge and industry-relevant.


This degree is assessed entirely online.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Where this will take you


Our GIS graduates have a very successful employment record in the commercial sector, environmental agencies, local and national government, research, and academia.

They’ve gone on to work as:

  • Project officers
  • Programmers
  • Sales managers
  • GIS engineers
  • Senior consultant GIS specialists
  • Project managers.

Further career opportunities include:

  • GIS consultant
  • GIS technician
  • Planning analyst
  • Spatial data consultant.

You’ll acquire the practical experience, specialist knowledge and problem-solving skills to pursue careers in any of these fields.

Industry opportunities

Career opportunities are highlighted through guest lectures, and chances to work with organisations as part of your MSc dissertation.

In addition, there is the possibility of industry suggested projects, dependent upon minimum academic requirements, and industrial input and contact with geospatial practitioners.

Aapo Jaakkola

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.

Aapo Jaakkola, MSc Geographical Information Systems graduate, Processing Supervisor

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study, and for up to five years after you graduate.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Fees and funding

The fee quoted above is based on you starting your studies with us in the 2021/22 academic year.

We have confirmed that our fees will rise by 5% for the next academic year (2022/23). The indicative fee above includes this 5% fee rise.

Pay as you go

Don’t worry, you do not have to pay the full degree fee upfront.

You can pay for your degree one term at a time. This gives you a flexible way to spread the cost.

Entry requirements


  • A 2:2 (lower-second) 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.

You can also apply if you have:

  • a degree in another subject area and can show your interest, aptitude and/or experience in a field relevant to the application of geospatial technologies.

These are our minimum entry requirements. They are given as a guide and do not guarantee entry.

Master of Science - 180 credits

You’ll work through eight 15-credit courses and a 60-credit dissertation to gain your MSc.

You can start your studies in January or September and progress at a pace that suits you.


It takes a minimum of 24 months to complete the MSc. You can take a maximum of 30 credits per term. You can take one or two courses at a time, and take study breaks between courses, as long as you complete your studies within six years.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to change. Further information about potential changes can be viewed here.

Master of Science

180 credits


This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over two years, starting in January 2022.

Apply for this programme

Start month
January or September

This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over two years, starting in January 2022.

Apply via our Applicant Portal
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