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The University of Edinburgh: Geographical Information Science

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


Geographical Information Science (GIS) provides powerful solutions to real-world problems using the world’s most advanced technologies.

GIS captures, stores, manages and displays data related to positions on the Earth’s surface so you can better understand spatial patterns and relationships.

Every day around the world, GIS is used to solve complex problems. As a result, it is becoming integrated into almost every discipline.

From population dynamics, estate planning, logistics management, public health surveillance, and telecommunications to tracking deforestation, environmental management and predicting climate change - GIS is changing how the world works.

Always innovative Our successful MSc Geographical Information Science was the first of its type in the world.

It has a heritage of over 30 years and approaching 1000 graduates. Nevertheless, we continually refresh the programme to keep you abreast of the latest technological changes and industry trends.

You will gain critical theoretical knowledge, develop strong practical skills and undertake supervised independent research, all under the guidance of our internationally recognised staff.

In addition, you will become part of our unique Edinburgh Earth Observatory Seminar Series. We run these events in association with AGI-Scotland (Association For Geographic Information.) The events will enable you to meet a range of professionals and become exposed to new ideas, together with educational and job opportunities.

Is the MSc for me? This programme reflects on the use of geospatial technologies in detecting and mitigating climate change, sustainability and social responsibility.

Our MSc is one of the largest masters programmes in GIS in the world. We offer foundation courses if you are new to the field and advanced courses if you want to specialise in particular areas.

You can flexibly choose optional courses to customise your learning in areas you are most passionate about.

So whether you want to build apps for your smartphone or solve some of the most significant environmental problems on the planet, this programme is for you.

Accreditation The MSc Geographical Information Science is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RICS seeks to ensure that graduates have a stimulating and challenging education, preparing them well for their professional careers.

RICS’s external quality assurance system monitors our curriculum, programme resources, the standard of our graduates and their employability annually to ensure our programme is relevant to industry and maintains professional standards.

A RICS accredited degree is synonymous with the highest quality of education, benchmarked against international standards, and therefore valued by companies. As RICS’ standards and qualifications are recognised worldwide, it will mean you will hold an internationally recognised qualification.

If you are considering a career in geomatics or surveying, this accredited degree fast-tracks you towards Chartered status.

After graduating, you can complete your required Assessment of Professional Competence after just two years of structured workplace training, compared to five years from non-accredited degrees.


Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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