Geographical information systems student in boat cabin
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2021

See how you'll be taught in 2021/22 in our Covid information for applicants.

Overview

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are now a major component of information technology – and if you're interested in pursuing a career in this innovative, exciting field, our MSc Geographical Information Systems (GIS) degree course will give you the tools to succeed.

On this MSc Geographical Information Systems degree course, you'll learn practical GIS skills using the same software tools employed by professionals in the field. You'll analyse spatial data through your own project work and build on your previous geographical studies, creating distinctive methods of data analysis, algorithms and software tools.

Once you graduate, you'll be well placed to pursue a career as a geographical information science specialist within local and national government, health authorities, environment and conservation organisations, or in university-based research.

Entry requirements​

MSc Geographical Information Systems Master's degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A 2:2 honours degree or equivalent in Geography or a related subject. Professional experience in a relevant area and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Get hands-on experience of using Geographical Information (GI) instruments and emerging technologies, including GPS, Total Stations and 3D laser scanners
  • Learn from experts with extensive industrial and consultancy experience and strong research portfolios
  • Practise your GIS data collection skills, both in our GIS labs and in the field
  • Learn image processing and spatial analysis techniques
  • Complete a research report on the GIS topic of your choice, applying the principles of research and design
MSc Geographical Information Systems - Dr Harold Lovell

Course leader Dr Harold Lovell talks about the MSc Geographical Information Systems at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Harold Lovell: Geographical Information Systems, or GIS, is a way of digitally mapping geographical data.

There are many different application areas for this including navigation using your smartphone, all the way through to using satellite data to understand the speed and acceleration of glaciers melting.

Here at the University of Portsmouth what we're really trying to do is set you up for your career as you move forwards. There are field work opportunities on the course using things like surveying equipment, differential GPS equipment, drones and geophysical equipment, so ground penetrating radar, which allows us to image below the subsurface.

When students are undertaking their own individual research projects and collecting their own GIS and remote sensing data sets, it's a really exciting part of the course.

Careers and opportunities

GIS has become an essential part of the world's information infrastructure and the technology is now widely used in utility companies, telecommunications networks, civil engineering, retailing, local and national government, international charities, NGOs, the National Health Service, environmental organisations, banking and finance, and insurance.

What can you do with a Geographical Information Systems degree?

When you graduate, you'll be in a strong position to pursue a career in any of these industries and organisations. Many of our previous graduates are now employed all over the world, working on GIS-related projects for organisations including:

  • The Environment Agency
  • Ordnance Survey
  • Environmental consultancies

We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you complete this course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the field of geographical information systems.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

What you'll study on this MSc Geographical Information Systems degree course

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 30 credits and 1 module worth 60 credits.

Modules

Core modules include:

  • Applied Geographic Information Systems
  • Principles of Geographic Information Science
  • GIS and Database Management Systems
  • Research Skills and Projects

Options to choose currently include:

  • Geological and Environmental Hazards
  • Sustainable Blue Economy

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

[The course] provided me with access to emerging technologies at the forefront of earth science research … this, plus the skills I’ve learned in time management and collaborative working, will help me achieve my goal to become a GIS consultant in the private sector.

Samuel Chandler, MSc Geographic Information Systems

More about this MSc Geographical Information Systems degree
Hear from Luke, MSc GIS student

Discover some of the things our students love about this MSc Geographical Information Systems course. 

Luke: What I like most about the Geography course is that you get to put theory into practice, you can see everything you learn is actually out in the field, and it feels quite good to understand things. The University of Portsmouth helps me excel myself and take myself into the real world.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Teaching

Teaching on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops
  • practical sessions

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • practical exercises
  • projects

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2021 start)

UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full time: £7,950 
  • Part time (2 years): £2,650 

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full time: £7,950
  • Part time (2 years): £2,650

International students

  • Full time: £15,500
  • Part time (2 years): £5,170 

Fees are subject to annual increase. 

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Apply

Start your application by following the link below:

September 2021 start

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

International students may also be eligible for the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG) Scholarship. Visit our page to find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

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