Geospatial and Mapping Sciences MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Students on campus

This Masters in Geospatial & Mapping Sciences focuses on understanding the theory and practice of geospatial data collection, land and hydrographic surveying, data and information quality, applications of survey information, and research and development in the field of geomatics. It is strongly endorsed by industry, accredited by the RICS and has an excellent employment record.

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: Nicola Mills-Wierda:

Why this programme

  • This programme meets the academic requirements for membership of relevant professional bodies and is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.
  • If you are seeking a career in geomatics: land and engineering surveying; hydrographic surveying; land registration/cadastre and LIS; photogrammetric and remote sensing engineering; management of geospatial information; this programme is for you.
  • 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.
  • The MSc in Geospatial and Mapping Sciences is an industry-sponsored programme and has been developed in close collaboration with industry to meet global demand for professionals in this field.
  • You will benefit from access to the latest surveying equipment and software, including RTK GPS and terrestrial laser scanners.
  • Textbooks for semester 1 courses are included in fees; and you will attend a week long practical surveying course (included in fees).

Programme structure

Modes of delivery of the MSc in Geospatial and Mapping Sciences include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, fieldwork, project and team work.

Core courses

  • Applied survey (including field course)
  • Engineering survey
  • Fundamentals of geomatics
  • Geodesy and GNSS
  • GIS
  • Hydrographic survey
  • Principles and practice of land surveying
  • Research and professional issues
  • Topographic mapping.

Optional courses (one chosen)

  • Applied hydro survey
  • Geospatial data infrastructure & LIS


  • 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 geomatics 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:

  • Coastal erosion and beach lowering (various sites in Scotland
  • Methods for evaluating tree heights
  • Laser Scanning for  building heritage and conservation (with Glasgow City council)
  • Performance of groynes as coastal defence measures
  • 3D model of golf course for run off management
  • Developing a pedestrian navigation network
  • Comparison of methods for determining  height
  • Bare earth DTM creation
  • Application of landscape genetics
  • Hydrographic survey of Bardowie Loch
  • Developing a 3D urban model
  • Built environment survey of Hopetoun House
  • Evaluation of survey methods in woodlands
  • Survey of a school to facilitate infrastructure management

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 Geospatial and Mapping Sciences, if fully completed with the award of an MSc, is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)

Industry links and employability

  • The MSc in Geospatial and Mapping Sciences is a one-year Masters programme aimed at those seeking a career in Geomatics (land and engineering surveying, hydrographic surveying, land registration/cadastre and LIS, photogrammetric and remote sensing engineering or the management of geospatial information). The focus of the programme is on understanding the theory and practice of geospatial data collection, data and information quality, applications of survey information and research and development in the field of Geomatics.
  • Despite the increasing automation of geospatial data capture techniques there remains a demand for professionals who have a deep understanding of the background principles of the instrumentation and methods used and how these impact on the quality of information captured. There are also increasing requirements to integrate data from a variety of sources which requires a full understanding of datums, co-ordinate systems and transformations to ensure correct relationships are maintained for critical applications. The programme also covers issues such as project planning, reporting, and policy issues related to geospatial data capture, management and distribution.
  • 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.
  • Major employers, such as Fugro and Subsea 7, regularly visit and conduct on site interviews with students.
  • You will develop transferable skills that will improve your career prospects, such as project management, team-working, fieldwork, data analysis, problem-solving, critical evaluation of scientific & professional literature, 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.

What our students say

Below are testimonials from some of our recent graduates:

“I would say the MSc gave me much needed direction and career focus. I found the large amount of continual assessment to suit my way of working. Staff in the department have over the years been of great assistance and I hope to stay in contact with the University through my professional life.
Another positive aspect of the course is the ICES and RICS accreditation. I was not until I entered the workplace I realised just how desirable it is to be a chartered surveyor and having already completed the theoretical aspect of becoming chartered, it is just a case of demonstrating my practical ability over the coming years.

As with every university course the end goal is to place yourself in the best possible place to gain employment. I was fortunate enough to be offered a place on a graduate training scheme through the Department’s strong links with industry. It is amazing just how many professionals in the workplace have passed through the doors of the department at some stage.

With respect to living in Glasgow, the city provides everything a student could wish for, with a strong student culture and plenty of events and nightlife to keep you entertained.”

Andy Nichol, former MSc Geoinformation and Mapping Sciences student, University of Glasgow, cohort 2008-9.

“I'm really glad that I decided to apply for the course, and thoroughly enjoyed the year. The syllabus covered very broad range of topics, and there were plenty of opportunities for practical work - I particularly enjoyed the field course at Ardentinny, and also the sessions where we
were able to try out different pieces of surveying equipment around the campus. The modules in 'Principles of Geospatial Information Systems' provided an opportunity to gain experience with some technical geospatial software. There was also a high degree of flexibility, which allowed me to focus on the areas that interest me most.

I used the University's Residential Services to find accommodation close to the main campus, which was affordable and easy to arrange, but I know that other students on the course were easily able to find accommodation privately.”

Victoria Gregson, former MSc Geoinformation and Mapping Sciences student, University of Glasgow, cohort 2008-9.

“I can say that my time in Glasgow was time well spent. The MSc program was interesting and I learned many new things. Glasgow is a nice city and the people are friendly.”

Skúli Magnús Þorvaldsson, former MSc Geoinformation and Mapping Sciences student, University of Glasgow, cohort 2008-9.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

Normally an Honours degree in a relevant field such as civil engineering, earth or environmental science, geography, mathematics, physics, or planning, but others with some mathematical background will be considered. Those with a degree in geomatics or a closely related subject or who meet the age and experience criteria of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors can use the programme as a route to a professional qualification or preparation for a research degree and may, under special circumstances, be given exemption from some aspects of the programme.

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
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

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 English for Academic Study Unit 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 English for Academic Study Unit 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£5000
Part time 20 credits£833
Full time fee£12600


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

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MSc/PgDip/PgCert. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.


The University requires a deposit of £1000 to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme.

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career opportunities include land surveyor, engineering surveyor, hydrographic surveyor, GIS specialist, environmental consulting. There is currently a very high demand for surveyors, especially in hydrographic survey, in support of offshore oil and renewable energy engineering and maintenance. Several of the key employers visit us each year to recruit students. In addition to the offshore energy industry, land surveyors are in demand in many parts of the world to support mining operations, major civil engineering projects and to provide surveying services for Land Registration. A strong background in data capture, datums and co-ordinate systems, and data processing can also be of value in the GIS and environmental management sectors.

Graduates of this programme have gone on to positions such as:
Offshore Surveyor at NCS Survey
Hydrographic Surveyor at Subsea 7
Offshore Surveyor at Subsea 7
Analyst at Morgan Stanley
Offshore Surveyor at UTEC
Offshore Surveyor at iSurvey Offshore Ltd
Research Scientist Associate at a university
Fellow at European Organisation for Nuclear Research
Offshore Surveyor at Marine Offshore Designer
Hydrographic Surveyor at UTEC
Assistant Land Surveyor at UTEC Star net
Trainee Surveyor at Fugro
Hydrographic Surveyor at Harkand Andrews Survey
Offshore Supporter at Subsea 7
Offshore Surveyor at Fugro
Offshore Hydrographic Surveyor at UTEC
Graduate Supervisor at AECOM
GIS Technician at Farazamin Company Tehran
Graduate Surveyor at Met Geo Environmental Ltd.

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)
  • A two-page personal statement highlighting:
    • How your academic career to-date makes this programme a suitable next step
    • Why you want to study this programme
    • How you think this programme will help you in your future career development

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