Geographical Information Science MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
Online exclusive
36 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject e.g. geography, computer science, geology, earth science, environmental studies or other appropriate numerate/computer science subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in listening, speaking and reading and 6.5 in writing
UK fees
£12,000 (Total)
International fees
£12,000 (Total)

Course overview

Geography BA

Geographical information is integrated into our day-to-day life and is crucial to a growing number of industries in both the public and private sectors.

Our Geographical Information Science MSc will provide you with in-depth and specialist knowledge of GIS techniques. You’ll focus on scientific, technical and computational aspects of Geographical Information Science (GIScience), with particular reference to the socioeconomic and environmental sciences.

Core modules introduce GIS, a rapidly evolving area in business and environmental applications. You’ll be introduced to GIS packages and a range of data sources/techniques, useful for those wanting to undertake social and environmental science research and those keen to understand the application of geotechnology as practitioners. You’ll study theories and concepts underpinning GIS and have the chance to explore topics including advanced spatial data visualisation, digital image processing, and geodemographics.

As technology continues to advance, more and more organisations will be seeking trained specialists in this field to help them drive their businesses forward – which is why studying this MSc could open you up to many career opportunities.

Why study at Leeds:

  • This course offers flexible study options where you can study online and part-time over 36 months to fit in with your lifestyle and other commitments.
  • Our globally-renowned research conducted right here on campus feeds directly into the course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in critical areas like geodemographics, retail planning, wilderness and remote sensing.
  • Advance your skills and understanding in geographical information analysis and GIS data visualisation.
  • Tailor the course to suit your career aspirations with a selection of optional modules such as business and service planning, web-based GIS, geodemographics and environmental GIS that’ll hone your knowledge in the topics that interest you the most.
  • Conduct your own project work which will enable you to develop transferable skills as a researcher, investigating a real-world issue that explores and develops your interests.
  • Experience expert theoretical and practical teaching delivered by a programme team of academics who are at the forefront of their fields and are actively engaged in groundbreaking research from the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy research group and the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Course details

The overall aim of this course is to provide you with an engaging online opportunity.

The course will provide core GIScience skills training followed by specialist skill development in a range of contemporary domains as selected by you and an opportunity to undertake a piece of independent original GIScience research under the guidance of a research leader.

The course offers a choice of specialist analytical modules spanning human/physical geography and technical skills.

Course Structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Geographical Information Science MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1

You’ll study a foundational year of four compulsory modules covering core concepts and technical skills in GIScience.

Compulsory modules

Year 2

You’ll be required to study four 15 credit modules from a selection of optional modules. You may choose to focus on developing your technical skills further with modules covering computer programming or you may choose from applied modules covering topics such as business and planning, environment, remote sensing and geodemographics.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Year 3

You’ll work with your supervisor to complete a 60-credit independent research project – a chance to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you’ve gained and specialise in an area that relates to your own ambitions and interests.

Compulsory modules

Project work

The dissertation project is one of the most satisfying elements of this course. It allows you to apply what you’ve learned to a piece of research focusing on a real-world problem, and it can be used to explore and develop your specific interests.

Example dissertation themes for Geographical Information Science MSc include:

  • Urban inequalities
  • Transport and mobility
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Environmental analysis
  • Remote sensing

Learning and teaching

You’ll be provided with a variety of online learning materials throughout the programme. You’ll work as part of a virtual online community, discussing the materials online, collaborating in group tasks and undertaking independent work whilst generally supporting one another.

You’ll also get plenty of one-on-one support. Our qualified tutors are experts in the theory and practice of GIScience and are there to support you and your group. Our tutors will act as mentors and provide you with personal guidance as you progress, advising you on how to make the most of the course and helping you to overcome any obstacles that you encounter. Any work you hand in will be returned to you with detailed comments and advice.

Required equipment

For the programme, you’ll need a laptop or PC capable of running standard applications (such as Microsoft Word/Excel etc). The packages we will use shouldn’t need anything more than a moderately spec’d machine running Windows. Software is typically made available to you via our online environment.

Take a look at the ArcGIS Pro system requirements and use these as the basis for your Windows laptop / computer.

Active research environment

You’ll be taught by a team of academics and researchers who are actively engaged in cutting-edge research and part of the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy research group and the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Other study options

Modules are also available to study online as short courses. You may choose the number of modules you wish to study and will gain postgraduate credits on completion of each module. Please contact the Programme Leader, Dr Luke Burns, should you wish to discuss this route.

Programme team

The Programme Leader, Dr Luke Burns, is an Associate Professor in Quantitative Human Geography whose research focuses on the advanced application of geographical information systems (GIS) to socioeconomic problems and the development of geodemographic classification systems and composite indicators to measure social phenomena.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


All assessments will be conducted via coursework and submitted online. Modules will typically require you to complete a portfolio-style assessment followed by a project which draws upon the skills obtained throughout the module.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject such as geography, earth or environmental science, economics or a social science, mathematics, computer science or other subjects where good numeracy and/or computing skills can be demonstrated.

Relevant work experience and professional training courses are viewed positively and are taken into account particularly for candidates whose first degree grade falls below the normal minimum requirement. Appropriate work experience may be considered in lieu of qualifications. You may also find our FAQs page useful.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in listening, speaking and reading and 6.5 in writing. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

30 June 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

If you have more questions specific to the course, you may find our FAQs helpful.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Geography

Contact us

School of Geography Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £12,000 (Total)

International: £12,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Geographical information science is becoming more and more integral to corporations worldwide, meaning your career opportunities when you graduate could be vast. The specialist intellectual knowledge and skills you’ll learn on this course are highly vocational and in high demand from employers, both in the UK and overseas.

Numerate and spatial data savvy MSc GISc graduates with both technical and domain-specific skills are sought after and transferable into a range of different organisations and roles in both the private and public sector.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 5 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2024, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Popular careers include data analysts and GIS professionals and planners working for corporations such as the United Nations, statistics agencies, local government, the police/fire/health services, retail consultancies, utility companies and beyond.

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University’s Careers Service is one of the largest in the country. Here, we provide a wide range of resources, ensuring you’re prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be – whether that be progression in your current career or a brand-new venture.

  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Enhancement Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.

  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies.

Find out more at the Careers website.

Student profile: Ilya Ilyankou

It is one of the best investments you can make. The course gives you solid fundamentals and tons of practical knowledge, while providing flexibility.
Find out more about Ilya Ilyankou's time at Leeds