Postgraduate study

Geographical Information Science and Archaeology MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Uncover hidden sites and find new insights into ancient history.

As technology ever evolves, so does our approach to understanding history. Demand for the application of Geographical Information Science (GIS) is growing in archaeology at an unprecedented rate. Archaeologists were early adopters, users and developers of this technology. It has rapidly become not only popular in the field, but a critical tool to help us understand ancient settlements and space.

GIS captures, stores, checks and displays data related to positions on the Earth’s surface so you can better understand spatial patterns and relationships.

Archaeology examines the unfolding of historical events through the combination of geography, time and culture. As such, the results of archaeological studies are rich in spatial information, of which GIS is ideally situated to merge and analyse this data to create new and exciting information providing new insights on the world around us. GIS is used in this field in a variety of ways, including searching for new archaeological sites and determining the societal context of an existing site. It can also examine the interplay between the successive occupations of a site over time.

This MSc programme offers you the chance to develop a detailed understand of the application of GIS and related technologies within the field of archaeology. You will gain a broad understanding of the uses of GIS in archaeological surveying, recording and research. The programme will also equip you with the analytical and communication skills necessary to work in this vibrant area.

The programme combines the pedigree of the University of Edinburgh’s GIS expertise, with a long-established reputation in archaeological teaching and research. You will gain critical theoretical knowledge, develop strong practical skills and undertake supervised independent research, all under the guidance of our internationally recognised staff.

There is a lot of flexibility in the programme, enabling you to customise your learning in areas you are most passionate about. Not only will you have access to the specialised courses in GIS and archaeology, but also the wider range of archaeology courses offered by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.

This MSc programme is comprised of:

  • 3 Compulsory courses
  • 3 Option courses
  • Field trip
  • Dissertation

Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

You will experience a range of teaching styles while you are studying, depending on the subject matter and courses you are taking. Courses can be delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, practicals, laboratory work, short field trips and longer field courses.

Part-time study

As we are committed to helping people into education whilst continuing to work or managing family and personal commitments, you may study this programme part-time.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Demand for skilled archaeologists with GIS expertise continues to develop, and our team is held in high regard by employers.

Through this programme, you will be equipped for a career at the exciting interface of archaeology and information and survey technologies. The expertise gained on this programme will enable you to pursue a career in surveying, illustration and 3D visualisation, digital archiving, heritage management, terrain modelling, database management, geomatics or consultancy.

An example of some of the organisations our graduates have gained employment include Historic Environment Scotland, English Heritage, the Scottish Government, SLR Consulting, CFA Archaeology and Lincolnshire County Council.

Field trips

Field trips are an excellent way in which to explore the factors and forces that shape our world and enable you to put valuable skills into practice.

As part of the programme, you will undertake a residential field-course, where you will undertake practical GIS projects.

The field-course will develop your skills in project management and field techniques, especially relating to GIS data capture and remote sensing. This will provide you with valuable hands-on experience and training, and apply theoretical knowledge to real case-studies. Previous field trips have been to various locations in the Scottish Highlands.

Additionally, students are able to attend relevant GIS conferences as part of their studies. These may include the national GIS Research UK (GISRUK) conference held annually in different cities around the UK, as well as the national professional GIS conference, AGI Scotland.

  • We are pleased to advise that we do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips. Travel and accommodation costs are covered by your programme.
  • Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons. In any given academic year, the main destination of the field course will be announced as soon as possible.

Facilities

Facilities are an essential asset for our research and teaching. Computing-intensive research in Geographical Information Systems (GIS), meteorological and climate modelling, geophysics, and analysis of space and satellite data, is supported by access to our well-equipped in-house GIS suite with a broad range of software licences, and the Edinburgh Computer and Data Facility parallel computing and DataStore facilities. Specialist training in the use of these facilities will be provided.

You will also have access to national and international supercomputing, laboratory, experimental and field facilities.

Finally, we use field stations and facilities worldwide for research projects in the Antarctic, Arctic and tropics, on research ships in the world’s oceans, through aircraft sampling the atmosphere and via remote sensing data from satellites.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

We may also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with relevant industrial or business experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee deposit

If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 to secure your place on the programme.

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Field trips and field courses

We do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips or field courses. Costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence on compulsory field trips will be covered by the programme fees. However incidental/ personal expenses are to be met by the student.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

School of GeoSciences Scholarships

Browse funding opportunities

You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding for which you may be eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP