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    MSc
    2022 start September 

    Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

    Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Faculty of Social Sciences

    Acquire the theoretical knowledge, technical skills and practical experience you need to launch a successful career in the fields of GIS, applied policy research or spatial data analysis.
    Image of Rachael Low, postgraduate student in the Department of Geography

    Course description

    This course will provide you with the mix of technical skills, practical experience and theoretical understanding you need to launch a successful career in the fields of GIS, applied policy research or spatial data analysis.

    You’ll develop a wide variety of knowledge in areas such as advanced spatial analysis, geovisualisation, policy applications of GIS in practice, and thematic mapping and cartogram creation.

    Facilities and equipment

    Our postgraduate study rooms are equipped with the latest industry-standard GIS software and a range of other specialist tools. GIS facilities are available on all 1,500 networked computers across campus.

    The department is based in the Geography and Planning Building on the edge of Weston Park.

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    The first semester focuses on core skills and knowledge acquisition, whereas in the second semester you'll develop more advanced skills.

    You'll put your knowledge and skills into practice when you write a dissertation on a relevant topic that matters to you.

    Core modules:

    Principles of GIS

    This module introduces students to the core principles and skills of GIS. It covers the major sources of data used to study the lived environment and the variety of ways it can be displayed to aid both understanding and analysis. The module has a particular focus on techniques used in the analysis of socio-economic and demographic data and its potential applications. It is taught through a combination of lectures and practical workshops using ArcGIS software.


    15 credits
    Quantitative Analysis

    This module introduces students to powerful and commonly used statistical methods in the social sciences. It assumes no prior statistical knowledge and focuses on the practical research priorities of selecting, conducting and interpreting the most appropriate test with an eye to, rather than an obsession with, the underpinning statistical foundations. The module uses weekly seminar sessions and SPSS practicals to build practical software skills alongside conceptual understanding.

    15 credits
    Critical Digital Geography in Practice

    Digital geographies of GIS, spatial analysis methods and mapping are now widely used in a large variety of academic and professional settings, from urban planning and architecture to health care and social research. This module is focused on helping students understand the critical and conceptual considerations of GIS, cartography, and critical data studies in exploring the relationship between digital and social, political and economic geographies. The module is taught through a combination of case-study-based lectures and seminars.

    15 credits
    Open Source GIS and Spatial Data Analysis

    The availability of software, hardware and data for geographical information systems (GIS) has increased rapidly in recent years. The wide array of new open source GIS applications and a proliferation of spatial open data has created exciting new possibilities for research in the field. This module is therefore focused on developing analysis and visualisation skills using open source software (focusing on QGIS) and in data handling and analysis. Students will learn through a combination of computer workshops and lectures and be exposed to the latest developments in the field. Assessment is by means of a visualisation and data analysis project.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.

    Upcoming open days and campus tours

    Duration

    • 1 year full-time

    Teaching

    There are lectures, seminars, computer workshops and tutorials.

    The course has a strong applied emphasis and draws upon the extensive expertise of teaching staff in the department. This means that in addition to developing strong analytical and technical skills using GIS software, you'll be immersed in the practical applications of GIS software and its potential to solve real world problems.

    Assessment

    You’re assessed on your coursework and a dissertation.

    Your career

    Graduates go on to work for organisations such as the Office for National Statistics, Ordnance Survey, ESRI, the civil service and local government.

    The employability of our graduates is of paramount importance to us. The development of skills, knowledge and personal attributes that enhance your career underpins our programme design. We have a dedicated Employability Manager, Amy Woolley, to support you. We’ll prepare you for employment after graduation.

    How we'll help you prepare for your future career

    Student profiles

    The course was really interesting and engaging. My dissertation was the culmination of all the skills I had learnt, which gave me the confidence I needed to begin my career as a GIS research analyst.

    Emma Holgate
    MSc Applied GIS

    Entry requirements

    For UK students, the usual entry requirement is a 2:1 degree or evidence of equivalent achievement (for example, a professional qualification combined with work experience).

    Applications are also welcomed from candidates with a 2:2 degree, although evidence of work experience or other activity is generally expected.

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Apply

    You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    Contact

    usp-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
    +44 114 222 6900

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.