Geographical Information Systems & Remote Sensing

Geographical Information Systems are widely used in a variety of fields including planning, health studies, environmental investigations and resource utilisation. Remote Sensing – the analysis and interpretation of aerial and satellite imagery – has transformed the manner in which we view the Earth.

Given the wider development of Citizen GIS and an increased public awareness and knowledge of the power and value of spatial data, vastly increased amounts of such data from different sources are now available to researchers. However, in order to turn these data into useful information, they must be efficiently managed, processed and analysed before being displayed in a comprehensible format. Geographical Information Systems and the associated field of Remote Sensing greatly aid us in such tasks. The course is equally split between both parts - GIS and Remote Sensing - with four core module introducing the theory and practice of both subject at an introductory and advanced level. Geographical Information Systems or GIS as they are better known, are widely used in a wide variety of subject fields across the physical and social sciences and even in the humanities, with applicability in everything from archaeology and astronomy to geomorphology and globalisation to soil science and social planning. Remote Sensing – the analysis and interpretation of aerial and satellite imagery – has transformed the manner in which we view the Earth. The synoptic view of the Earth that it has given us has greatly improved our understanding of atmospheric and oceanic processes, sustained environmental management and the interaction of humans with the natural world. It is now a standard research tool in many fields such as geology, geography, pollution control, agriculture and climatology. Additional optional modules in Programming, Spatial Databases and Remote Sensing of the Subsurface are also available to students who want to develop the technical side more fully, though the course has a strong applied flavour throughout. In addition, all students complete a work placement in the Summer months which allows them to gain valuable practical experience to test and develop the skills learnt across the course.

Aims of the Course

- To provide highly qualified, motivated graduates who have been trained in Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing and who can apply the information technology skills they obtain.

- To produce marketable graduates who will make significant contributions to GIS and RS application areas including; industry, government, academia, the community and voluntary sector and other public and private bodies.

- To provide an understanding of Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing, the technology involved and its applications for specific investigations.

Entry requirements

The basic entry requirement is a degree with a minimum of Second Class Honours (2:1) or equivalent in any of the following subjects: Geography, Planning; Physics; Computer Science; Environmental Science; Geology; Mathematics; Engineering; Geophysics; Public Administration; Public Health or a cognate discipline. Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:
• IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
• TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
• TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
• PTE (Pearson): 62

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850


MHN58 1 year Full-time

Careers or further progression

The MSc in GIS and Remote Sensing is first and foremost a course to skill students for work in a wide range of employment areas. These include a wide range of government and semi-state agencies, local authorities and the voluntary sector, especially in areas associated with the environment and planning. In addition, graduates have worked in a wide range of private sector organisations and businesses, where the ability to work with and critically managed big spatial data is increasingly valued. Successful students have also proceeded to PhD level research and gained employment in academia.

Further enquiries

Programme Director: Dr Ronan Foley
Tel: +353(0)1 7086024
Fax: +353(0)1 7083573
Address Department of Geography, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare

Subjects taught

The course consists of 6 modules, 5 of which are compulsory. Two of these cover the theoretical concepts underpinning GIS and Remote Sensing. Two other modules involve gaining the theoretical and technical skills necessary to become proficient in the management and analysis of spatial data. A fifth module involves an assessed work placement during the summer months.


Geography is regularly ranked as one of the most visible international research programmes at Maynooth University and in Europe. Our staff are known for excellence in teaching and research in physical and human geography, and are frequently featured in the media, including Dr Conor Murphy (on climate change), Dr Jan Rigby (on health inequalities), Dr Adrian Kavanagh (on elections), Dr Chris van Egeraat (on economic geography) and Dr Mary Gilmartin (on migration).

Application date

All applications should be made through the PAC system.

Closing Date : 30 June 2019

Course fee

In general, there are two levels of fees payable. EU students from EU countries including Ireland pay a subsidised level of fees for both taught courses and research programmes. Tuition fees for students from outside the EU are not subsidised and are thus somewhat higher than for EU students.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!