GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is one of the most interesting areas of study for IT graduates. The program is focused on gathering, analyzing, and managing data on spatial location. An expert from this niche analyzes the Earth’s layers and surface, and creates a visual representation of the findings. Their efforts are essential for planning and executing scientific research. Graduates in GIS can pursue careers in private consultancies, public authorities, governmental agencies, and research institutes.
According to the information provided by PayScale, the average salary for this skill is $57,927. Higher annual salaries for more experienced practitioners reach around $75K.
If you’re interested in studying Geographic Information Systems, you must be wondering: what’s the best program for you? We’ll list the top options.
Top Geographic Information Systems Programs around the World
- 1 – The University of Edinburgh – Geographical Information Science MSc
This Master’s program, offered by the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, focuses on logistics management, estate planning, population dynamics, environmental management and climate change, deforestation, and several other aspects of GIS. You will gain a strong theoretical foundation, which may require hiring Edubirdie for independent research projects. However, the program also helps students to develop strong practical skills that prepare them for jobs in various sectors. This is one of the largest and most reputable MA programs in GIS on a global level. You should know that it’s very competitive.
The program is provided in three options: full-time studies of one year, part-time studies of 2 years, and part-time studies of 3 years. If you already have a job and you want to combine work with studying, the part-time programs will fit your schedule. You will receive the same title (MSc of GIS) by completing any of these programs.
- 2 – The University of Ulster – Geographic Information Systems
Ulster University has an excellent GIS program that awards a postgraduate diploma (Master of Science). This program is provided by the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, which falls under the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences within the university.
The best part about it? It’s a distance-learning course. You can study from any location around the world, and you can plan the studies to fit your lifestyle. The students will learn how to obtain maps and spatial data, analyze them, solve occurring problems throughout the process, and work on spatial data management and databases. The program includes optional modules that would help you get ready for a direct work experience.
According to the surveys, the graduates from this program have an employment rate of over 95%. If you wish to start the online course, you have to meet the requirements: a minimum 2.2 honours degree relevant to computing, environmental science, or geography.
- 3 – Wageningen University & Research – Geo-Information Science MSc
This program is complex because it combines geo-informatics and remote sensing into a detailed curriculum, which teaches you everything you need to know to start this career. The program is designed to inspire innovative thinking while informing students about all methods, applications, and technologies of GIS.
It’s an on-campus program taught in English. It takes two years to complete the coursework, which covers relevant compulsory and optional subjects. It doesn’t offer a formal specialization, but you can still specialize if you take any of the advanced courses that are offered. The students can choose to develop their major research thesis in various research fields, including human-space interaction, integrated land monitoring, modelling and visualization, sensing and measuring, and more.
- 4 – University of Leicester – Geographical Information Systems MSc
This is a classic Master’s program with real-world applications. You can use this degree to start a career in regional planning and forecasting, environmental protection, modelling, and business. You will complete it in one year if you opt for full-time studies. However, a part-time option is also available, and it takes two years to complete.
The program is focused on helping students to develop key skills in GIS: handling big data from social media and Internet, scientific programming, using a vast range of GI software, analyzing spatial data, and implementing data in a broader context.
After completing the core modules, you can choose to specialize in different areas, including field data capture, visualization, remote sensing and earth observation, and environmental health.
- 5 – University of Arizona – Geographic Information Science (Certificate NDP)
If you’re looking for a GIS program in the USA, this is the best one you’ll find. It takes one year of full-time studies for its completion. Its value lies in hands-on training through the School of Geography and Development and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Through collaborative efforts, both schools participate in the program with courses that make you ready for a real job.
Tha main courses are Geographic Information Systems for Natural and Social Sciences, and Computer Cartography. A Practicum is also required for program completion.
Are You Excited to Study GIS?
If you’ve been watching National Geographic shows, you know how broad and important the implementation of GIS is. A specialization in this skill will make you eligible to enter a productive industry that’s still growing. The graduates don’t have much trouble getting a job, and that’s another factor that inspires students to work towards this degree.
BIO: Paul Calderon dedicated his life to research, learning, and exploring educational systems. He writes blog posts that are helpful for students. Most of all, he likes sharing writing tips.