Geoinformation Technology and Cartography MSc/PgDip/PgCert


This Masters in Geoinformation Technology & Cartography focuses on understanding and managing the locational data required to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) together with visualisation and map production in a GIS environment. It is the only programme in the UK to have a significant emphasis on cartography; and our focus on the underpinning geomatics aspects and cartographic output is unique among GIS programmes.

Key facts

  • MSc: 12 months full-time; 24-48 months part-time
  • PgDip 9 months full-time; 21-44 months part-time
  • PgCert 3.5 months full-time; 9-32 months part-time
  • Contact:

Why this programme

  • The MSc in Geoinformation Technology & Cartography is the only programme in the UK that focuses on cartography. The programme has been running since 1963 and celebrated its 50th birthday in 2013.
  • You will benefit from access to our extensive computer laboratories and the latest software, including ArcGIS and MapInfo for GIS, graphic design packages and remote sensing processing software.
  • University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences is proud to announce that it is ranked 32nd in the world (QS World Rankings 2014).
  • The School is consistently ranked amongst the top 10 in the UK and top 5 in Scotland, recently achieving 2nd in Scotland and 8th in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015).
  • With a 95% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014, the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences continues to meet student expectations combining both teaching excellence and a supportive learning environment.
  • If you are seeking a career in geographic information management or cartography and have little or no academic background in this subject: or if you have a technical/practical background in the subject and are seeking an academic qualification; this programme is designed for you.
  • Textbooks for semester 1 courses are included in fees; and you will attend the three-day GIS Research UK conference as part of the programme (included in fees).

Programme structure

Modes of delivery of the MSc in Geoinformation Technology & Cartography include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, fieldwork, project and team work, and attend a GIS conference in the UK.

Core courses

  • Applied cartography
  • Applied GIS (including GISRUK conference)
  • Cartographic design and production
  • Fundamentals of geomatics
  • Geospatial data infrastructure and LIS
  • GIS
  • Internet and mobile GIS
  • Principles of land surveying
  • Remote sensing
  • Research and professional issues
  • Topographic mapping.

Optional courses

  • Advanced editing in GIS
  • Application development in GIS
  • Geospatial data modelling
  • Photogrammetry
  • Terrain modelling
  • Use and user issues in cartography and GIS.


  • The MSc is available on a full-time basis over a 12 month period, or on a part-time basis over 2 or 3 years. The PG Diploma takes 9 months full-time or 2-3 academic sessions part-time. The PG Certificate takes 4 months full-time or can be spread over 2 academic sessions.
  • To complete the MSc degree you must undertake a project worth 60 credits. The MSc and Diploma projects may be undertaken in collaboration with industry (full or part-time).
  • This is a project chosen by you to investigate a challenging but constrained problem which can either be research or application oriented.
  • The project will integrate the subject knowledge and generic skills that you will acquire during your Masters.
  • We offer a wide range of projects, and each student is normally allocated a different project. We take your preferences into account when we allocate the projects.
  • You will also have the opportunity to propose your own project, subject to academic approval.

Example projects

Here are some typical project titles from recent years:

  • Usability of Ordnance Survey OpenData
  • Usability of Ordnance Survey OpenData
  • Investigation of Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Emotional mapping of the University Campus
  • Comparison of DTMs from digital photogrammetry and AUVs
  • Content and accuracy of OpenStreetMap data in different  environments
  • Development of a GIS for the Botanic Gardens
  • Use of 19th Century estate plans for assessing landscape change
  • Mobile applications for input of cadastral data

Furthermore for students hoping to continue into research, we have two major research groups: Human Geography Research Group; and Earth Systems Research Group. Many students complete projects related to ongoing research activity in these groups. You can find details of our research at


MSc Geoinformation Technology and Cartography, if fully completed with the award of an MSc, is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Industry links and employability

  • The MSc in Geoinformation Technology and Cartography is a one-year Masters programme aimed at those seeking a career in Geographic Information management or cartography. The focus of the course is on understanding and managing the locational data underpinning Geographic Information Systems (GIS), visualisation and map production in a GIS environment.
  • In addition to studying the main theoretical aspects of geographic information science and cartography, you will gain practical skills in using and developing GIS, supported by an understanding of coordinate systems, transformations and geospatial data infrastructures.
  • You will benefit from significant input from industry to our teaching programme, including teaching on some courses, guest lectures and seminars. There are also informal opportunities to meet people from industry at open events and visits to company offices. Projects may be carried out in conjunction with industry.
  • You will develop transferable skills that will improve your career prospects, such as project management, team-working, advanced data analysis, problem-solving, critical evaluation of scientific and professional literature, computing skills, and how to effectively communicate with different audiences.
  • This course is available full or part time and it is also possible to study for a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma.
  • For in-depth graduate destinations please click here.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Normally an Honours degree in a relevant field such as geography, earth or environmental science, planning, mathematics, or civil engineering, but other subjects will be considered. The programme requires some basic mathematical competence and a pass at Scottish Higher, GCE or equivalent in mathematics is recommended. Significant use is made of computers and IT, but there is no specific entry requirement.

Entry without standard academic qualifications, or with technical qualifications in geomatics for those with significant practical experience in related employment, will be considered on an individual basis.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£7500
Part time 20 credits£833
Full time fee£18900


Home and EU
Full time fee£2500
Part time 20 credits£833
Full time fee£6300


Home and EU
Full time fee£5000
Part time 20 credits£833
Full time fee£12600

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme: please see: Deposits for entry in 2015/16

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career opportunities exist in both the private and public sectors and there is currently high demand for GIS skills. Positions include cartographer with map publishing company, government agency, or private service agency; GIS specialist, ranging from support in large corporations (banking, insurance, retail), environmental consultancies, local authorities, utility companies; mapping specialist with software house or geoinformation data provider. GIS Officer, Dundee City Council, Dundee, UK.

Graduates of this programme have gone on to positions such as:
GIS Cartographer at Arcus Renewable Energy Consulting
GIS Operator at Scottish Water
GIS Analyst at Forth GIS
GIS Cartographer at L&M Surveys
Cartographer at Harper-Collins Cartographic
GIS Analyst at Arcus
GIS Analyst at Natural Power
Estates Technical Surveyor at North Ayrshire Council.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now