Master of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications

Vancouver Island University
Program overview 2 years Full-time Master's degree English
Start dates Show all (2) Canada

Program description

Take your love of mapping things out, analyzing data and using spatial science to predict change to the next level with a Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications at VIU.

GIS master’s program graduates have a wide range of career opportunities in areas such as forestry, resource management, urban and rural planning, government, banking, transportation and many more.

The MGISA program is available to students with any undergraduate degree who have experience or training with GIS. This online Master of Geographical Information System covers both academic and practical application of spatial analysis, learning in classrooms and working hands-on with ArcGIS by ESRI GIS software.

The Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications (GIS) Program

  • 2 Years - Blended Face-to-Face/Online Program
  • 2.5 Years - Fully Online Program
The Master of Geographic Information System Applications (MGISA) Program builds on the existing Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications (ADGISA) Program by providing opportunities for students to strengthen their GIS skills, enabling them to compete more effectively and for better positions in the job market.

The program consists of two stages; each stage has 30 credits. Stage 1 involves the same courses as the current Advanced Diploma, and is available both face-to-face and online; the Stage 2 courses will be delivered online, with face-to-face or online supervision and defence of the research project.

The program combines a strong academic foundation with professional skills by requiring both academic courses (including labs and seminars) and a research project, thus generating an intellectual environment in which students can enhance their theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the area of Geographic Information Science.

Program Length

The MGIS program is a minimum of two full years in length. The first 30 credits may be taken face-to-face in one year or online in one-and-a-half years, as in the current Advanced Diploma. Thus, the program may be taken as a two and one-half year fully online program, with a start date of January and a completion date of August, or as a two-full-year blended face-to-face/online program, with a September start date a completion date of August.

Admission requirements

Admission to the program is possible at either Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Stage 1 Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
  • Applicants whose previous degree was obtained in a country where English is not the primary/official language and from a university where English was not the language of instruction must meet one of VIU’s English Language requirements for Graduate Programs.
  • Significant previous experience or training in GIS including completion of an introductory GIS course from an accredited post-secondary institution.
  • A letter of intent that includes:
  • a summary of academic and professional experience; and
  • a statement of career goals; and
  • a description of the research topic which the applicant wishes to pursue.
  • Two letters of reference.
  • Participation (if requested) in an interview conducted by the Admissions Committee.

Stage 2 Admission Requirements

Completion of Stage 1 does not guarantee acceptance into Stage 2.  For all students, acceptance into Stage 2 will be based on:

Meeting the program’s Stage 1 admission requirements.

Completion of Stage 1, VIU’s Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications (ADGISA), or an equivalent post-graduate GIS diploma program with a minimum grade of “B” in all GIS diploma courses.

Satisfactory assessment of the intended research topic, to ensure its complexity is appropriate for a Master's level of study and that the scope of work is achievable within the duration of the program.
Recommendations for Admission

Incoming MGISA students must have a strong technical background in GIS to ensure they are capable of handling the advanced techniques and topics studied in the program coursework and required of the research project.

Notes on Admission

Admission into the program is competitive.  Enrolment is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.  Students entering the program who have completed the VIU Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications (ADGISA) or an equivalent post-graduate GIS diploma will be eligible to apply directly to Stage 2 of the MGISA program.  Students who are unsuccessful in securing acceptance to the MGISA program may be offered admission to the ADGISA program.

Students admitted to the MGISA program may be able to complete the program on a part-time basis.  Students interested in studying part-time are advised to contact the department to discuss possible part-time options.

Transfer from other Institutions

An assessment of courses from other institutions will be required to determine transferability of credits. This will be performed by an Admissions Committee in consultation with the Registrar’s Office.

Program Regulations

To proceed into Stage 2 of the MGISA program, students will be interviewed by an Admissions Committee after completion or partial completion of Stage 1. Students will be enrolled in Stage 2 based on the results of these interviews. Acceptance into Stage 2 will be based on student performance in Stage 1 courses and an assessment of the intended research topic. To be eligible students must have a minimum grade of "B" in all GIS diploma courses. Completion of Stage 1 courses, which earns students the Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications, does not guarantee acceptance into Stage 2.

For the GEOG 599 Master's Research Project course, students may elect to continue beyond the 32-week minimum subject to a continuation fee (amount TBD). This fee must be paid until the completion and acceptance of the student's Master's Research Project, whether or not the student is actively working on the project. Temporary (one-semester) exemptions may be granted in cases of family or personal emergency.

Career opportunities

The GIS industry grew 10.3% in 2010 and approximately 8% in 2011, showing continued strong growth in this sector. A GISuser survey regarding the GIS workplace also indicated that 42% of respondents hold at least a master's degree, indicating that it may be necessary for new GIS professionals to complete such a degree in order to compete successfully in the job market. By 2015, the GIS industry is poised to become a $10.6 billion industry, according to a 2012 Global Industry Analysts, Inc. report.

GIS is a technology that has been applied to many application areas and thus offers graduates a broad range of employment opportunities. In the Vancouver Island area and throughout British Columbia, GIS expertise is required by many employers, including the following:

  • Federal Government, such as the Pacifi

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About this institute

Vancouver Island University

This is a place of acknowledgement and fair access, achievement and personal attention – a special blend of a caring, nurturing environment sets VIU apart from other universities. It’s an essential ingredient for a values-based education that creates an environment balancing academic accomplishments with the goal of developing students' social ...

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Vancouver Island University

Address:Nanaimo (Main Campus) 900 Fifth Street Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5
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Nanaimo (Main Campus) 900 Fifth Street Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada