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Geographical Information Systems & Science Masters (MSc)

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017
Distance learning 2–6 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Geographical Information Systems and Science MSc

Kingston University offered the first GIS undergraduate degree in the world in 1989, followed by several MSc and PhD research degrees. Today, Kingston is considered the UK's foremost centre for GIS education and training, with one of the largest GIS programmes in Europe. This course provides a high level of competency in the principles of GI science and the use of geotechnology, as well as the skills to routinely use professional software for data acquisition, handling, exploration and mapping.

Key features

  • Kingston University is recognised within the industry as a premier provider of GIS education with our graduates having amongst the highest employment rates.
  • Fieldwork is an important part of our teaching.

What will you study?

The course covers the principles of GI science and geotechnology and the foundations of geographical information handling.

You will learn how to handle spatial entities for data transformations, generalisation and aggregation, and will develop competency in analytical operations, methods and spatial analyses. You will have the chance to implement principles of map design and graphical representation techniques, and will gain an understanding of spatial database systems and application design. You will also perform storage and retrieval operations, and work with alternative data models, 3D modelling and advanced visualisation.

The course is taught partly in distance-learning mode and partly in traditional classroom mode or entirely in distance-learning mode.

Please note that Esri ArcGIS is used in several core modules. Students outside the UK and Ireland will need to use their own licensed copy of the software. Student licences are available for most countries at £100.


Coursework, projects, presentations, exams, online tests, online group work.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module complements and builds on the introductory underpinnings of GIS to provide you with the knowledge, skills and critical abilities to plan and collect spatial data and then apply spatial analytical techniques to a variety of geographic problems.

    Data collection is based around an streamed component – either a residential field course which acts as a laboratory for the delivery of a wide range of mobile GIS concepts, practical applications and technologies; or an introduction to remotely sensed data collection and image analysis. Data analysis focuses upon standard querying techniques, spatial statistics, surface, network and cartographic modelling, the implications of temporal effects and decision making.

  • This module provides basic skills in research methods and techniques, including geographical information system (GIS) for data storage, manipulation and display. It initially develops GIS skills by introducing GIS concepts, sources for geographical information and outlines basic spatial concepts. Subsequently the module encompasses the theoretical underpinnings to research methods and techniques, including sampling schemes, measurements, quality control issues, and data collection, manipulation and analysis. This together with practical elements of designing research proposals and data testing enables the necessary skills for carrying out independent research work.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Evaluate the use of GIS in the capture, storage and handling, manipulation and analysis of geographical information.
    • Critically discuss what a GIS is and develop an understanding of its relevance to key application areas.
    • Apply the latest developments in geographical database technology to geographical database case studies.
    • Synthesise the literature on a specific topic and identify key researchable issues relating to the literature review.
    • With respect to one researchable issue, develop aims and objectives and relevant research methodologies for a specific research project to enable them to meet their aims and objectives.
    • Manipulate data using a computer and select, execute and interpret results of appropriate data analytical methods.
  • This module provides experience of planning, designing and executing a sustained piece of independent research. It involves formulating a testable hypothesis; designing a programme of data collection to test it; critically evaluating and interpreting your own data in the light of current research; and summarising and reviewing in a clear and professional manner.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Plan, design and execute a sustained piece of independent research.
    • Formulate a testable hypothesis and design a programme of data collection aimed at testing it.
    • Demonstrate enhanced and improved data collection skills.
    • Critically evaluate and interpret their own data in the light of current research.
    • Summarise and critically review their own work in a clear and concise manner.
    • Engage in full professional and academic communication with their peers.
  • The module explores the application of GIS in a range of socio-demographic and environmental areas and provides practical experience of using demographic, environmental and socio-economic geospatial data sources. Application areas include, but are not limited to, area classification and geomarketing, crime hotspot mapping and geographical profiling, and disease mapping and health care resourcing, and environmental modelling. The main features of the module are a focus on student-centred project work, hands-on experience with GIS to help address 'real world' problems and a mixture of different styles of assessment.

  • This module is concerned with how geospatial data is modelled,  managed and manipulated within database systems, and how the data stored in spatial databases can be disseminated across the Internet. The technologies that support the dissemination and visualisation of geographical data over the internet are explained and students gain practical experience of designing and implementing spatial relational databases and of developing Web mapping applications that utilise data stored within web-enabled databases. Alternative
    software and database development approaches will be explored, and
    programming culture and resources explained.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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