Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS)


Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS)

Course-based program

Program overview

The Geographic Information Systems program will appeal to people who are already in the GIS/remote sensing industry, as well as those seeking to acquire GIS knowledge and practical experience to complement their existing specialization. Students without such backgrounds can use the program to build their spatial analysis skills and experience. The program provides a thorough understanding of geographical information concepts and theory, along with exposure to research and application specialties.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Three courses on topics including remote sensing, spatial analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Additional Courses: Five courses chosen by agreement between the student and advisor supporting the student's research project.
  • Research Courses: A course on theoretical issues related to a GIS research topic, and a course on the implementation of a GIS project.
  • Conference: Students will participate in the annual department conference by delivering an oral presentation or developing an academic poster (this requirement is suspended for 2021 and 2022 due to COVID restrictions).
  • Comprehensive Oral Exit Exam: Students are required to pass an oral examination following completion of all course requirements.


Cartographer, commercial/residential surveyor, environmental consultant, planning and development surveyor, remote sensing analyst, GIS analyst, land surveyor, surveyor tech, spatial data analyst, GIS specialist, map interpreter.

Our course-based Master of Geographic Information Systems program is a professional degree program, which includes a research component. Students intending to go on to a doctoral degree program may be better served in a thesis-based degree program (i.e., MA or MSc), even though some universities may recognize the MGIS degree as appropriate training for doctoral studies

Course-based program

Three core courses, two GIS research courses and five electives

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Minimum one year full-time; anticipated duration 20-24 months; six years maximum


Students require an advisor to arrange and chair the oral exit exam. Student are responsible for finding an advisor. An advisor is not required prior to the start of the program.

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.


Learn about faculty available to serve as advisors for this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Please visit this page for more information.

  1. Shelley Alexander

    Shelley Alexander

    Accepting Inquiries
    Human-Animal Relationships, Conservation and Geospatial Science
  2. Darren Bender

    Darren Bender

  3. Gwendolyn Blue

    Gwendolyn Blue

    Accepting Inquiries
    Public engagement with science and technology; Science-based controversies (climate change, genomics), Human-animal relations; More-than-human geographies
  4. Ryan Burns

    Ryan Burns

    Accepting Inquiries
    Urban GIS, Critical GIS, Digital Humanitarianism, Open Data, Smart Cities, Geovisualization and geovisual analytics, Geographical software studies, Geographic political economy
  5. Placeholder Profile Image

    Dianne Draper

    Sustainability; resources and environmental management and planning, Sustainable tourism, Parks and protected areas, Experiential education
  6. Brent Else

    Brent Else

    Seeking Students
    Air-sea interactions in the Arctic, Arctic marine carbon cycles, Remote sensing of Arctic marine environments, Arctic marine ecosystems, Improved weather observations for Arctic operations
  7. Victoria Fast

    Victoria Fast

    Accepting Inquiries
    Urban GIS
  8. Andrea Freeman

    Andrea Freeman

    Accepting Inquiries
    Geoarcheology, Pedagogy in Geography and archaeology
  9. Geoffrey Hay

    Geoffrey Hay

    Accepting Inquiries
    GEOBIA - Geographic Object Based Image Analysis, Thermal Imaging: HEAT - Heat Energy Assessment Technologies, MyHEAT - Startup Company (, **Please visit these sites for more information:
  10. Dan Jacobson

    Dan Jacobson


Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

Four-year BA or BSc degree in Geography or in any related field that makes use of spatial data. Examples include, but are not limited to: Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geology/Geophysics, Geomatics Engineering, History, Management, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Tourism, Transportation Studies or Engineering, and Urban Studies.

Work samples



A statement of interest outlining the applicant’s goals, motivation for applying to the program, and research area of interest.

A C.V. or resume.

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

Canadians and permanent residents - March 1 application deadline

International students - March 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Geography

Earth Sciences Building, Room 356

2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website

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