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Geographical Information Systems

MSc/PgDip/PgCert

School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Environment Work, Health and Organisations

Start Dates(s): September

Duration:

MSc (three years part-time distance learning)
PgDip (two years part-time distance learning)
PgCert (one year part-time distance learning)

Fees:

Distance Learning - £3,200

In Brief:

  • UNIGIS UK combines the teaching and research expertise of staff from two UK universities (Salford and Manchester Metropolitan)
  • Professionally relevant content to prepare you for a host of career opportunities
  • Flexible course delivery, online part-time distance learning
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The application of GIS is growing rapidly which opens up a range of opportunities for graduates of this course. As a UNIGIS student you will be joining an extensive community with representatives in over 30 countries, providing you with an excellent platform to generate and share ideas. By selecting from the range of taught modules available in the second year, you will effectively determine which of the three MSc degrees you will ultimately be awarded:

  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Applied Geographical Information Systems
  • Geographical Information Technologies

UNIGIS courses all provide a solid grounding in Geographical Information Systems, Science and Technology, but each has a different focus. Geographical Information Systems provides a broad introduction to the major aspects of contemporary GIS. Applied GIS is focused more on the application of GIS and geographical information in the human and natural environments. Geographical Information Technologies looks at the various technologies that underpin GI solutions.

All UNIGIS programmes are all taught via online, part-time, distance learning, over a period of three years. UNIGIS has a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment through which all course materials are delivered. You will be supplied with specialist GIS software for the practical aspects of the programme you study.

This course is delivered in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. Please apply for your place via the UNIGIS UK website.

Please note, University of Salford alumni loyalty discounts do not apply to this course.

Course Structure

The courses are taught in part-time distance learning mode ONLY over a period of three years. During the first two years you will take taught modules with the third year being comprised of an MSc dissertation and project.  The courses start in September each year.

Year 1

All modules in the first year are compulsory and common to all three programmes

This module provides an introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from conceptual, theoretical and practical perspectives.  The unit concludes with a review of contemporary issues in GIS.
Spatial data are key to any GIS project.  This module investigates how spatial data are sourced, captured and assessed against recognised international standards.
This module provides a thorough understanding of database design and implementation and highlights their importance (and limitations) in the context of GIS.

Year 2

In the second year you will take one compulsory module and two specialist modules relating to the course you have selected to study.

This module examines the concepts, theories and methods behind the application of GIS. The approaches taken in GIS research design, data analysis and interpretation and presentation are investigated.  Special focus is given to methods of spatial analysis and their implementation using GIS software.  

For Applied Geographical Information Systems, select two modules from:

This module investigates how GIS and related technologies can be used in environmental applications and seeks to critically evaluate their potential value.  Case studies are used to demonstrate how researchers can use spatial data, from sources such as remote sensing, along with decision-making tools, to investigate different environmental phenomena.
This module will provide you with an introduction to the principles that underpin remote sensing and explores its role in data gathering/information extraction for GIS applications.  Practical experience in working with remotely sensed data will be gained.
This module investigates how GIS can be applied to different social applications and seeks to critically evaluate their potential strengths and limitations for those applications. Real world case study examples will be used to critically examine how GIS can be used in social applications and to evaluate their potential value.

Students not wishing to continue onto the dissertation project can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Geographical Information Systems if leaving the course at this stage.

For Geographical Information Systems, select two modules from:

This module explains the concepts and methods of internet-based GIS, its development and applications.  You will be provided with the knowledge and practical skills to design and implement distributed GIS services according to the latest technologies and standards.
This module develops geospatial skills in building enterprise-oriented databases (e.g. geo-database and server) and creating application-oriented GIS models through programming. This module will also develop your critical appreciation of trends in enterprise GIS and GIS application development from the perspective of software engineering and geo-spatial technology.

Students not wishing to continue onto the dissertation project can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Geographical Information Systems if leaving the course at this stage.

For Geographical Information Technologies, there are two compulsory modules: 

See description above.

Students not wishing to continue onto the dissertation project can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Geographical Information Technologies if leaving the course at this stage.

Year 3

In this module you will design and undertake a substantial and unique independent research project, to be presented as an academic dissertation. The nature of the project will depend on which of the three MSc you are taking.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are those set by MMU:

  • Applicants should normally possess a relevant honours degree
  • Applicants with a HND and relevant professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Alternative qualifications and/or significant experience in a relevant specialised field will also be considered on an individual basis.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable For

The three UNIGIS courses are largely for UK and international graduates already working with GIS who wish to broaden their understanding and further develop their skills.  However, those wanting to study GIS in order to change career paths are also catered for, irrespective of prior knowledge of GIS.

Fees 2017-18

Type of StudyFee
Distance Learning£3,200
International Distance Learning£3,950

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Please note, University of Salford alumni loyalty discounts do not apply to this course.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Teaching

The UNIGIS programmes are all taught via online distance learning.  UNIGIS had a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment through which all course materials are delivered.  You will be supplied with specialist GIS software for the practical aspects of the programme you study.

Assessment

All the UNIGIS programmes are 100% assessed by coursework.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Mike Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management in the School of Environment and Life Sciences and is Course Leader for the UNIGIS programmes at Salford.  Mike’s teaching and research interests are in the application of GIS and spatial modelling techniques to support environmental decision making.  For example, he has used GIS to study ecosystem services in South Asia and environmental pollution in Australia.  Mike has also worked on the development of GIS-based decision support systems (DSS), including a DSS for river catchment management.

Dr Mike Wood, Programme Leader, talks about his research into the impact of radiation on wildlife, specifically within the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Employability

UNIGIS programmes are particularly suited to those who wish to continue their professional development in the field, but many students use the courses as a way to initially get into GIS. Employment prospects are broad and include roles such as: analysts, programmers, cartographers, surveyors, consultants, GIS specialists, information technology/information systems specialists, lecturers, planners and project managers.

Links with Industry

Links exist with a wide range of public and private sector companies through the organisations that our students work for.  All modules in the UNIGIS programmes are recognised by the Association for Geographic Information for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Further Study

The UNIGIS courses are mainly aimed at those in employment, but there are possibilities to undertake research in the area of GIS.

Emma Lewison
MSc Geographical In formation Systems graduate 
GIS & Data Manager – Forestry Commission, Northamptonshire, UK

After completing two GIS modules as part of my undergraduate geography degree I was lucky enough to succeed in gaining employment with the Forestry Commission as a GIS and Data Manager. This role enabled me to develop the skills I had already gained. After being in post for a few years I felt that I wanted to update my skills and knowledge to include a more technical understanding of GIS. This led me to the UNIGIS UK GI Technologies course. I felt that with the direction of GIS moving towards the cloud, web based and smart phone based options, learning about the theories and fundamentals behind this would be beneficial. 

I really enjoyed the learning style of UNIGIS with the online materials, forums and study groups. From my study group of six, I am still in contact with three so even through distance learning I have made friends. The breadth of knowledge that the modules included was fantastic and the support from the tutors was brilliant. The GI Technologies option has opened many more doors for a professional career and I hope to build on the skills I have learnt with UNIGIS.

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