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.

Laddered Pathway from the Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology to the Master of Geographic Information Systems

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology may receive laddering credit for the 12 units of coursework completed in the certificate program if they are subsequently accepted to the Master of Geographic Information Systems within five years of beginning the certificate.


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 completion time 16 months; six years maximum


No supervisor is required

Fees and funding

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

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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:

March 1 application deadline for applications and supporting materials

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