Taught course

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Distance Learning

Ulster University · School of Geography and Environmental Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants are generally expected to have a minimum 2.2 honours degree with a substantial component of geography, environmental science or computing.

Applicants with qualifications in other relevant disciplines or with academic qualifications below 2.2 honours will also be considered on individual merit. In such cases, previous experience of GIS and competence in day-to-day computing will be an advantage, and should be explained in detail on the application form.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

With over 20 years’ experience in teaching GIS, and 15 years of teaching via online distance learning, the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Ulster University has a significant and successful track record in GIS education.

This course has been designed to provide a broad-based education in the principles and practice of GIS, and you can choose to study for the award of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Science. You may take the course full-time or part-time.

Content focuses on the representation, acquisition, management, manipulation and analysis of all types of spatial data. It also includes modules on remote sensing, spatial databases, web-GIS and GIS in the commercial environment. Additional optional modules include GIS work experience, spatial analysis and modelling, GIS for environmental management, and Customising GIS. Over the duration of the course you will gain extensive practical experience using a variety of commercial and open source software. In addition to development of core GIS skills using ArcGIS, you will also get hands-on practice with packages such as ERDAS Imagine, Excel, SPSS, QGIS, OpenLayers, GeoServer, PostgreSQL and PostGIS, together with a number of GIS extensions, plug-ins and programming languages. If you opt to complete the Masters project you can focus on a topic of your own choosing.

The relevance of the course to the workplace is demonstrated by the very high success rate of our graduates in securing GI-related employment.

Information for international students

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


full time
3-4 months
part time
8 months


full time
8 months
part time
20 months


part time
30 months
full time
12 months

Further details of qualification

Classes are held on two days per week for on-campus FT students and one day for on-campus PT students. Distance learners may choose their own hours of study each week. All FT students (on-campus and DL) should expect to dedicate an average of 35-40 hours to the course per week, or 17-20 hours for PT students (on-campus and DL).

Course contact details

Dr Sally Cook
+44 (0) 28 7012 4159