Geographical Information Science (distance learning) MSc

You will study 180 credits in total during your part-time Geographical Information Science (distance learning) MSc. A standard module is typically worth 15 credits and the dissertation is worth 60 credits. These are the modules relating to this programme of study for academic year 2020/21. If you are starting in September 2021, these will give you a flavour of the modules you are likely to study. All modules are subject to change.

Year one

Compulsory modules

GIS Data Visualisation and Analysis 1 – 15 credits
This module develops core visualisation and spatial analysis and statistical skills required for the analysis of geographically referenced data.

GIS Data Visualisation and Analysis 2 – 15 credits
This module develops core and intermediate spatial analysis skills required for the analysis of geographically referenced data focussing on a range of socio-economic and environmental applications.

Programming for Geographical Information Analysis – 15 credits
This module provides foundation level skills in computer programming.

Professional and Personal Development – 15 credits
This module aims to develop students’ technical skills through exposure to non-traditional software.

Year two

Optional modules

Business and Service Planning – 15 credits
This module considers the provision of public and private services (such as retail, healthcare, transport and emergency services) from both demand and supply side perspectives. We provide a brief introduction to public sector service provision before considering the planning and evaluation of healthcare, transport and emergency services provision at a local level in urban and rural contexts. We focus on the application of spatial analysis to capture demand, supply and measures of utilization and accessibility. We then focus in detail on the application of these modelling tools in a retail context. Students apply data-driven spatial models in a business context, drawing on examples from the grocery sector. This module is applied in nature and involves extensive use of GIS and spatial modelling tools. Assessment is based on interpretation of modelled outputs within a public sector and business service provision context.

Digital Image Processing for Environmental Remote Sensing – 15 credits
On completion of this module students will:- have been introduced concepts, theories and methods of earth observation from aircraft and earth orbital satellites for environmental research and for input into GIS;- be able to use appropriate software to read, display, restore, enhance, classify and extract information about the land surface from diverse types of remote sensing images;- understand the standard workflow used to turn remote sensing data (i.e. images) into information (i.e. thematic outputs) in a range of applications.

Geodemographics and Neighbourhood Analysis – 15 credits
Area characteristics about neighbourhoods have widespread use in analyses which inform policy decision making in public (local and national government), and private (commercial) organisations as well as the third sector (charities). Area characteristics are also linked to individual level data to determine variations in health and educational application, for example. On this module, students will learn how to construct a variety of area measures and methods to incorporate these in analyses. The knowledge and skills involved are highly useful in many career settings including academic, public, private and third sector settings.

GIS and Environment – 15 credits
This module looks at the many ways in which GIS can be applied to the study of the environmental sciences including modelling terrain, hydrology, ecology and land use. The module considers important issues in the application of GIS such as sampling strategies, scale and generalisation, error and uncertainty, and grid-based modelling before moving on to look at how these methods can be applied to gain a better understanding of landscape processes. The module concludes with a look at how GIS is being applied to inform better decisions about the natural environment within the human dimension of the planning process. The module is assessed through the completion of practical assignments and an individual project report.

Visualisation for Geographic Data Science – 15 credits
This module will equip students with the technical and critical-reasoning skills to explore, analyse and communicate structure in geospatial datasets using visualization. Through the module students will learn modern techniques for processing and wrangling geospatial data, design and critique statistical graphics that expose structure in geographic data and develop expertise in communicating statistical effects under uncertainty. All data analysis activity will be performed within the R statistical programming environment. Whilst an advantage, prior familiarity with R or programming concepts is not a requirement.

Web-Based GIS – 15 credits
This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to develop web-based mapping applications using popular and industry-standard internet technologies. This module covers both client-side mapping libraries including Google Maps and Leaflet, alongside server-side technologies such as PHP and Database Management Systems. For the final assessment students have the opportunity to showcase their skills by developing an application of their choice.

Year three

Compulsory modules

Dissertation – 60 credits
This dissertation module provides an opportunity to develop an individual programme of research over a nine-month period. Students may decide to expand on work/ideas covered as part of their programme or to select a new issue to explore. Students will work closely under the guidance of an allocated supervisor and are expected to complete an independent piece of academic work.

The full list of module information can be read in the course catalogue.