Postgraduate study

Geographical Information Science & Archaeology

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Please note this programme will be undergoing some changes for the 2017/18 entry and courses may be subject to change between now and the commencement of the programme in September 2017.

This programme offers you the chance to develop a detailed understanding of the application of geographical information science (GIS) and related technologies within the field of archaeology.

The programme retains a distinctive Scottish flavour, and students will benefit from the guidance of internationally recognised staff.

The programme combines the pedigree of Edinburgh’s GIS expertise with a long-established reputation in archaeological teaching and research.

You will gain a broad understanding of the use of GIS in archaeological surveying, recording and research and will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills necessary to work in this vibrant area.

Demand for the application of GIS within archaeology is growing at an unprecedented rate, including searching for new archaeological sites, determining the societal context of existing sites and examining the interplay between successive occupations of a site.

The proven ability of our GIS graduates in employment means our programme is held in high regard by a wide range of employers.

The programme is organised into two semesters of taught courses, delivered through lectures and seminars, after which you will work towards your individual dissertation.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • GIS & Spatial Analysis for Archaeologists
  • Spatial Modelling and Analysis
  • Research Practice & Project Planning
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:

  • Exploring the Past with Data Science
  • Quantitative Methods & Reasoning in Archaeology
  • Technological Infrastructures for GIS
  • Visual Analytics
  • Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing
  • Active Remote Sensing: Radar and LiDAR
  • Passive Earth Observation: new platforms, sensors and analytical methods
  • Business Geographics
  • Space , Place and Time: the archaeology of built environments
  • The Scottish Lowlands: Archaeology and Landscape before the Normans

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

There is a field trip focusing on techniques for capturing geospatial information. This field trip has historically taken place at the Kindrogan Field Centre, Perthshire.

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 2017/18
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2017/18
MScGeographical Information Science and Archaeology3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

The expertise gained on this programme will allow you to continue to study or to pursue a career in surveying, illustration and 3D visualisation, digital archiving, heritage management, terrain modelling, database management, geomatics or consultancy.

Our GIS graduates have gained work in both public and private sector organisations, including Historic Scotland, English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, thinkWhere (formerly Forth Valley GIS) and CFA Archaeology.

You may also be interested in the following programmes:

Student experience

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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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 to secure their place on the programme.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. If there is no information on your offer about the deposit you are not required to pay.

This has to be paid by 31 March for offers made by 1 March, within 28 days for offers made before 30th June and within 14 days for those offers made from 1st July onwards.

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • Postgraduate Secretary, Karolina Galera
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2572
  • Email: k.galera@ed.ac.uk
  • Programme Director, Bruce Gittings
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2558
  • Email: bruce@ed.ac.uk
  • 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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Secretary, Karolina Galera
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2572
  • Email: k.galera@ed.ac.uk
  • Programme Director, Bruce Gittings
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2558
  • Email: bruce@ed.ac.uk
  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP