The master’s programme prepares specialists and experts in spatial data management for various fields of life in public, private, or non-governmental sector. During the studies, the students are acquainted with the spatial processes and phenomena in the contemporary society and environment such as migration, urbanisation, land use and climate change. In data oriented courses, students get skills and expertise for obtaining, managing, analysing, and using data in spatial planning, decision-making, and policy-development.
The ‘Studio’ course format combines data management and geography with high-level theoretical courses and the possibility to individually design half of the curriculum together with an excellent scientific team. This provides the future alumni with a competitive advantage on the contemporary job market.
The two-year master’s programme consists of four equal cycles:
During the first year, the students work half of their time in spatial data and planning project courses in ‘studio’ format. While the year starts with field works for data acquisition and moves on through the management of databases and data analyses, it ends with a well-visualised planning project prepared by the students using the spatial data. As a result of the year, the students know and are able to choose and use proper tools of geoinformatics and methods for quantitative analysis.
The spatial data and spatial planning studios are complemented by special courses in geography (urban social geography, geography of information society, energy fluxes and material cycles) and courses for developing practical skills of students (spatial data analysis, programming, project management). In addition, students can attend several optional courses in specific fields of geography, e.g. ArcGIS, geospatial analysis with Python/R, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, visual geodata mining, 3D modelling, applied remote sensing, introduction to urban planning, socio-spatial changes in cities in transition, economic geography of urban systems, or landscape ecology in urbanised society. Next to the courses provided by the Department of Geography, students can attend courses from other institutes in order to advance their skills in statistics, computer sciences, contemporary regional studies, or other fields.
The 3-week-long internship (work placement) after the first academic year provides the student with practical experiences in solving real life tasks in a team. Internship enables the students to broaden the understanding about working with spatial data and about the arrangement of work in organisations and teams. It also helps to grow the professional network of students, either in Estonia or abroad. The department helps the students to find organisations for conducting the internship. For example, we have long-term internship cooperation with Regio, Positium, Hendrikson&Ko and Tõravere Observatory. The students may also apply for internship abroad, e.g. with the help of Erasmus+ Traineeship grant.
The students design the content of the second academic year on their own by choosing courses that support specialisation and preparing the master thesis (20 ECTS) or optional courses according to the broad interests of the students (10 ECTS). The students are encouraged to spend their third semester of studies abroad as an exchange student. The department has several partner agreements with universities around Europe where you can study as an Erasmus exchange student. The university provides additional opportunities to study all around the world with the help of bilateral partnership with a number of universities. If staying in Estonia, the students are recommended to take courses on Estonian language and culture to be able to better integrate to the society and professional culture.
The students work continuously on their master thesis during the studies, both individually under the supervision of the supervisor as well as in special master seminars. In the beginning of the forth semester, an individually designed course about statistical methods supports the progress of the master thesis. The forth semester is dedicated to writing the thesis.
You can view the full description of the curriculum on University of Tartu Study Info System.
The students will learn about the variety of data types, formats, and standards of relevant software and data used in GIS. Combined theoretical and practical study, the course has a strong emphasis on developing practical skills in order to get students fluent in working with data. The lab sessions comprise ⅔ of the course. Main software used in the Spatial Data Studio will be ArcGIS & QGIS, Python and PostgreSQL. Remainder ⅓ is covered by lectures of theoretical part and seminars where students present their work. The course will be led by PhD Evelyn Uuemaa and PhD Alexander Kmoch.The course aims to enable the students to effectively acquire, manage, and work with spatial and spatio-temporal data.
In the first part of the studio, students will apply methods of data acquisition in different fields and learn spatial data collection methods. Students will learn how to find, download, clean, and organise data from different data sources into useful data structures. The students will learn about scale, projection, accuracy, and precision of spatial data, and how these relate to the reliability and uncertainties of spatial data, thus, enabling them to use spatial data appropriately.
In the second part, students will design and manage spatial databases using PostgreSQL and access the data across different systems. This part helps to understand the technological basics of spatial databases and data management solutions for the Smart City and the Information Society.
In the third part, geospatial analysis and visualisation will be used on data collected in previous stages. Different spatial problems will be addressed by using spatial analysis and students will learn how to publish/share the results in the web.
As one of the core courses of the master’s programme ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society’, this course aims to provide knowledge on how to use spatial data and analysis in urban and regional planning. During the course, students will gain practical experience in the process of preparing planning projects and policies. The set of skills that the course aims to provide is highly valued in today’s urbanised society and is needed in various positions such as GIS-analyst, urban planner, consultant, etc.
Students will learn theoretical frameworks for planning and spatial analysis, and apply this knowledge in preparing a planning project as a group work. An important part of the group work is to learn how to work as a team and to participate in the communication process involved in urban planning.
The course is coordinated by PhD Siiri Silm and PhD student Veronika Mooses. The course lasts for five months and is divided into four related stages of contemporary planning – theoretical context, analysis, visualisation, and compilation of a master plan – which are taught by different lecturers. The course comprises of lectures, seminars, computer lab session, and field excursions. Different types of data are used, e.g. statistical databases from various countries, spatial data, mobile phone data, survey data, or planning documents regarding the focus and geographical context of study area.
In the first phase, students acquire knowledge of the basic concepts of spatial planning and the most relevant topics in urban planning (for example sustainability, mobility, etc.). In addition, students will be acquainted with the main topics, regulations, and spatial plans of the area under study. This part of the course is lead by MSc Pille Metspalu and PhD student Ingmar Pastak.
In the second phase, each group performs a quantitative analysis based on their specific group work task. This will be done using statistical analysis methods. The goal is to conduct empirical data analysis and to implement the results in the planning project. This part of the course is lead by PhD Siiri Silm and PhD student Veronika Mooses.
In the third phase, visualisation of spatial data and results of analysis is taught in the context of urban planning. PhD Anto Aasa leads this part of the course.
In the fourth stage, master plan and policy recommendations will be developed based on the goals and analysis of the results of the planning project. A planning map is designed together with the text of a master plan to set out the goals for spatial development for the area under study. This part of the course is lead by MSc Pille Metspalu and PhD student Ingmar Pastak.
Different parts of this course are also available as separate courses.
The module provides theoretical and methodological courses from key areas in geography and computer programming. The courses take place mainly during the first year of the studies and provide a solid ground and content comprehension for proceeding with the practical courses of Spatial Data Studio and Planning Project.
The module supports the development consists of following courses:
Upon completing the module, the student:
The students can design the content of their second year of studies on their own by choosing courses that support specialisation and proceeding with the master’s thesis. The courses for specialisation can be taken either at Estonian or foreign universities as far as these fit the aims of the curriculum and increase the professional development of students. The course list for specialisation is individual and will be approved by programme manager.
We encourage the students to gain new academic experiences during their studies by spending the third semester abroad as an Erasmus exchange student. The department has several partner agreements with universities around Europe.
Here is the incomplete list of English-based courses provided by the Department of Geography where you can attend while staying in Tartu. The list is in constant development.
In addition, other institutes provide a variety of English-based courses that might support the specialization and progress on master thesis, e.g. courses on statistics, computer sciences or contemporary regional sciences.
The study outcomes of the module depend on the choices made by students. At least one of the following outcomes has to be obtained as a result of the choice:
The aim of the module is to provide the students a possibility to design the content of their studies and to obtain deeper knowledge in the field of interest, future work or studies of the students.
This module offers students the additional possibility to personalise their learning experience by choosing subjects for at least 10 credit points outside the curriculum. The students are free to choose courses from various universities to deepen their knowledge and improve skills that they consider relevant for their academic development and personal growth.
The 3-weeks-long work placement (internship) after the first school year provides the student with practical experiences in solving real life tasks in a team and serve the needs of the development related to professional work market. Work placement enables the student to broaden the understanding about working with spatial data and about the arrangement of work in organisations and teams. It also helps to grow the professional network of students, either in Estonia or abroad.
The department helps the students to find organisations for conducting the internship. Here are some examples of the companies we have long-term internship cooperation with
The students work continuously on their master’s thesis during the studies, both individually under the supervision of the supervisor as well as in special master seminars. The highly individual module supports the academic and methodological development of students and prepares them for further engagement in applied or academic fields. The forth semester of the study programme is dedicated to writing the thesis.
Upon defending the master's thesis, the student: