Geographical Information Sciences (Online MSc)

Boost your career and make your data work for you

Unlock the potential of GIS to give your data more power

If you want to get more out of your (spatial) data and share your findings with greater impact, this is the Master’s programme for you. 

  • Geographical Information Sciences (GIS) will show you how to turn data into powerful knowledge. 
  • You’ll be able to better analyse data, and visualize your findings  in stunning, informative maps. 
  • From urban planning to effective marketing, tracking a pandemic to advising about effective green energy strategies, you’ll gain the skills to take data analysis to new heights. 
  • Skilled GIS professionals will teach you how make impactful maps, using the latest technology and methods. 
  • Then, you’ll use the information to clearly communicate your work and create impact.


Discover your Geographical Information Sciences programme

During this programme, you’ll uncover how GIS enables smarter decision-making for businesses, governments and the world. Whether you work in marketing, city planning, green energy, healthcare or elsewhere, this Master’s in GIS can help you perform better. You will gain the necessary skills to combine and analyse spatial data and learn the newest methods, systems and technologies to effectively visualize and communicate with maps.

This fully online, three-year, part-time Master’s is ideally suited for busy professionals interested in taking their careers to the next level.

Data doesn’t only exist in databases. Satellites, social media and IoT sensors make it possible to collect data – including essential spatial information – from multiple sources. But it is only when these data are assembled into a clear, understandable map that swift analysis and useable insights become possible.

Whether you need to track specific behaviours or events or create entire ‘digital twins’ of a region, the UNIGIS Master’s gives you all the skills you need to turn data into decisions. 

How can solar panels ideally be placed, given the angle and orientation of rooftops in a certain neighbourhood? 

  • How do you ensure accessibility to public spaces during a global pandemic in which people need to maintain 1.5-metre distance from each other? 
  • And how can you track the spread of the virus in a community or country? 
  • What impact does a brick-and-mortar store’s location and resident demographics have on online shopping habits? 
  • What areas of a region are most prone to flooding, or most suitable for agriculture or development?

These are only a few of the many questions that GIS can help you answer. The programme will enrich your career and offer you new opportunities for growth and success.

During the programme, you will not only learn how to build complex, multi-dimensional maps based on data, but also how to analyse the information these maps provide and use it to make effective decisions. You’ll work independently, yet with the support of a small group of fellow professionals and a dedicated staff with extensive GIS experience. The staff will closely monitor your progress and help you overcome any challenges.

As part of the global UNIGIS network, the GIS Master’s at VU Amsterdam is one of only two English-language, fully online, part-time GIS Master’s programmes offered by a European research university. Our membership in UNIGIS International offers you the opportunity to take online courses from other UNIGIS universities.

You will be able to apply what you’ve learned to your current professional role. By learning Big Data management strategies and sustainable, secure, stored data solutions, you will develop into a reflective practitioner, instead of just a number-cruncher. You will therefore become an insightful professional with a helicopter view of your area of focus, able to analyse, predict and contribute to development.

The first year of your part-time, online Master’s programme begins with four required core modules (20EC).

These modules will give you thorough grounding in relevant GIS concepts, methods and tools, and a view into the most recent developments in the field.

You will receive fundamental training in the different elements of GIS.

• Geovisualisation

• Geoprocessing

• Geodatabases

• Geodata capture, standards and quality

The year ends with a workshop in which you will apply and integrate what you’ve learned to solve a contemporary and relevant case for a client organisation.

If you wish, you may conclude your GIS study at the end of this year, and will be awarded a certificate of completion for the courses.

Year 2 is when you can tailor your GIS degree to suit your specific interests or professional goals. Choose from several electives related to specific techniques or areas of application.

Your second year is all about innovation and revolution. You’ll use both conventional and brand-new GIS concepts to complete hands-on work on both the front end and the back end. From scripting, web viewer configuration and remote sensors to evaluating how your analysis and visualisations have impacted your business or organisation. In short, Year 2 is when the rubber hits the road.

The year ends with a Capstone project in which you will either professionally reflect on a new GIS trend, or develop a research proposal for your thesis. If you wish, you can conclude your GIS study at the end of this year, and receive a diploma in GIS for completing this level of study.

In your third year, you will focus entirely on your Master’s (MSc) thesis. In it, you will apply what you have learned and make your own contribution to the development or application of GIS in your field of work. If you successfully complete all three years of this part-time programme, you will receive your Master’s in Geographical Information Sciences from VU Amsterdam, a highly respected European research institution.

After completing this Master’s programme, you will have skills and tools that are applicable across a wide range of in-demand positions . You can immediately put them into practice in your day-to-day professional work. 

Whether you are a Market Analyst for a retail chain, an urban or rural City Planner, a Data Manager for an NGO or a Consultant for local or national agriculture legislators, the GIS knowledge and skills you acquire in this Master’s programme will help you analyse data and create physical, tangible maps to tell your story clearly and convincingly. You will make more  informed decisions, based on better data. You will therefore become an invaluable member of your project team.

From sustainability to crowd control, from global pandemics to food security. From market domination to land preservation and from health crises to financial opportunities: knowing how location data impacts the crucial decisions we make is the key to unlocking the potential for a better future.

  • It’s likely that you have had quite a bit of contact with data in your work already. But after completing the Master’s in GIS at VU Amsterdam, you will be able to get much more out of those data. You’ll uncover patterns that you otherwise might not have known were there, and your broadened view will help you make more targeted moves.
  • Your presentations and communications will be clear and convincing, because you can illustrate your analysis with bold, impressive maps and infographics that show the patterns, correlations and insights that have led to your decisions. You’ll have the skills to perform the analyses that will lead to targeted and effective reasoning and planning.
  • You will transition from simply managing and absorbing data to being able to master it. From recognizing the correlation between data sets to communicating how those correlations impact the work you do every day. And you’ll work with the latest methods, technology and tools to prepare you for the challenges of today, and the opportunities of tomorrow.
  • In short, you will become more effective at your tasks, more capable of convincing others of your decisions, and more prepared for future developments in your career.


Whatever field or sector you work in, the skills you learn during the programme will help you become a more valuable member of your professional community.  

If your role is more aligned with Data Management or Information Specialist, and you’ve mastered the basics, you can spend more time developing and expanding your skills in this rapidly evolving  field. Managing real-time data from sensors, working with the software needed to create the latest modelling, learning methods and technology to create dashboards – it’s all within your reach during the programme.

If your role is more on the side of analysis or consultancy, you will broaden your skills and develop a few new ones. You’ll help your teams develop innovative answers to the challenges your organisation faces, today and in the future.  You will learn how to apply geospatial analysis and visualisation, and support effective collaboration among different stakeholders by applying techniques that make solutions visual, tangible and attainable. Plus, you’ll have the skills to effectively analyse those solutions and build on successes, again and again.

Overview Geographical Information Sciences

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

3 years part-time

TUITION FEE

The 1-year Postgraduate Certificate Programme costs 3,600 euro
The 2-year Postgraduate Diploma Programme costs 6,200 euro
(this is 3,600 euro for the first year (=the Certificate programme) plus 2,600 euro for the second year)
The 3-year Master of Science Programme costs 8,800 euro
(this is 6,200 euro for the first two years (=the Diploma programme) plus 2,600 euro for the third year)
 
These fees also apply to Dutch students who already have a Master degree, and to students from outside the EU

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 month before the start date for all applicants

START DATE

1 February and 1 September

STUDY TYPE

Part-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

GIS/GIScience/GIS and Management/GIS and the Environment

Admission Requirements

TOEFL 580/237/92-93 or IELTS 6.5

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Natural Sciences

Dutch educational background

This Master’s programme focuses strongly on professional roles in which geospatial methods and techniques are applied. 

There are extensive opportunities to learn from other professionals. The core composition of the student body consists of mid-career professionals working in a variety of fields of application.

A highly skilled, professional team of lecturers with academic expertise in the application of GIS in a variety of scientific and societal fields, and experience consulting with various public and private institutions, will lead the study and closely follow your development. 

1. In order to be admitted to the postgraduate Master's programme, you must be in possession of an academic Bachelor’s degree from a research university that meets the following requirements: 

  • A GIS course of 6 EC and at least 300 level
  • Information and Research skills of 6 EC and at least 300 level.

2. The Admissions Board will investigate whether the applicant meets the admission requirements.

3. Applicants with a Bachelor's degree obtained at an institution outside the Netherlands may be asked for additional methods to prove that they meet the admission requirements.

If you do not yet fulfill the admission requirements, a pre-Master’s programme is also available.

VU Amsterdam requires you to take an English test and to submit your score as a part of the application. You can begin your application, however, before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirement are made if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. 

When applying, you should demonstrate that you have a sufficient level of proficiency in English by meeting at least one of the following standards, no more than two (2) years before the start of the programme at VU Amsterdam:

a. (academic) IELTS: at least 7.0, on all sub scores

b. TOEFL internet-based test at least 100

TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Note that MyBestScore is not accepted.

Are you interested in enhancing your current and future roles by making your data work for you? Do you want to get more out of the data that are so essential to your decision-making process? Then the Master’s in Geographical Information Systems is the programme for you.  For more information please contact:

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
School of Business and Economics
UNIGIS Office
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T. +31 (0)20-59 86099
E. info@unigis.nl

International educational background

This Master’s programme focuses strongly on professional roles in which geospatial methods and techniques are applied.

There are extensive opportunities to learn from other professionals. The core composition of the student body consists of mid-career professionals working in a variety of fields of application.

A highly skilled, professional team of lecturers with academic expertise in the application of GIS in a variety of scientific and societal fields, and experience consulting with various public and private institutions, will lead the study and closely follow your development.

1. In order to be admitted to the postgraduate Master's programme, you must be in possession of an academic Bachelor’s degree from a research university that meets the following requirements: 

a. A GIS course of 6 EC and at least 300 level.

b. Information and Research skills of 6 EC and at least 300 level.

2. The Admissions Board will investigate whether the applicant meets the admission requirements.

3. Applicants with a Bachelor's degree obtained at an institution outside the Netherlands may be asked for additional methods to prove that they meet the admission requirements.

If you do not yet fulfill the admission requirements, a pre-Master’s programme is also available.

VU Amsterdam requires you to take an English test and to submit your score as a part of the application. You can begin your application, however, before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirement are made if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. 

When applying, you should demonstrate that you have a sufficient level of proficiency in English by meeting at least one of the following standards, no more than two (2) years before the start of the programme at VU Amsterdam:

a. (academic) IELTS: at least 7.0, on all sub scores

b. TOEFL internet-based test at least 100

TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Note that MyBestScore is not accepted.



Are you interested in enhancing your current and future roles by making your data work for you? Do you want to get more out of the data that are so essential to your decision-making process? Then the Master’s in Geographical Information Systems is the programme for you. For more information please contact:

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
School of Business and Economics
UNIGIS Office
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T. +31 (0)20-59 86099
E. info@unigis.nl

;