The 2-year master’s programme in Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society prepares highly qualified specialists in handling and analysing spatial data and developing decision support systems for public, private, and non-governmental sector.
In the global information society, governance increasingly relies on sensors, BIG data, analysis, and fast decision-making. The society needs experts who handle the tools of geoinformatics while understanding environmental and social processes. Therefore, the master’s programme focuses on building interdisciplinary competence by combining geography and IT. Special emphasis is put on the development of practical skills of students.
After graduation, young professionals can find employment in public, private, or non-governmental sector as spatial data manager, spatial analyst, or GIS consultant for planning and regional policy. There are numerous further employment options in local and regional development and policy. Motivated students can continuing their studies on doctoral level and pursue an academic career.
The tuition fee is 3400 euros per year and it covers tuition and some study materials. Altogether 15 students will be admitted to this programme. Based on the admission’s ranking list, 10 best applicants will be given the tuition-waiver scholarship. Applicants do not have to apply for the tuition-waiver separately, as they will be considered for the competition automatically.
Students receiving the tuition-waiver do not have to pay the tuition fee if they meet full time enrollment requirements. Full time study load is completed if no more than 6 credits are missing from the 30 ECTS workload per semester. If students receiving the tuition-waiver fail to complete full-time study load per semester, they have to pay for the credits not earned. The price per credit point is 60 euros. Information on when a tuition-waiver scholarship holder starts paying tuition fee and instructions for fee paying students are given here.
Please find information on other scholarships here.
Content of the curriculum Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society
The two-years master’s programme “Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society” 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 (programming, project management, environmental impact assessment). In addition, students can attend several optional courses in specific fields of geography, e.g. visual geodata mining, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, introduction to urban planning, socio-spatial changes in cities in transition, economic geography of urban systems, wetlands for urbanised society, or landscape ecology in urbanised society.
The 3-weeks-long work placement after the first school year provides the student with practical experiences in solving real life tasks in a team. 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. . For example, we have long-term internship cooperation with Regio, Positium, Hendrikson&Ko and Tõravere Observatory.
The students design the content of the second year on their own by choosing courses that support specialisation (20 ECTS), optional courses according to the broad interests of the students (10 ECTS), or the topic and methods for the master thesis. The students are encouraged to spend their third semester of studies abroad. The department has several partner agreements with universities around Europe where you can study as an Erasmus exchange student. If staying in Estonia, the students are also recommended to take courses related to Estonian language and 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.
Modern life relies increasingly on BIG data and digital work processes – geoinformatics helps to manage and analyse historical and real-time spatial data in order to support decision-making and policy development.
Successful completion of the master’s programme ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society’ enables employment in all sectors as a spatial data manager, spatial analyst, or GIS consultant for planning and regional policy. The alumni of the Geography master’s programmes with GIS specialisation are working in several local, state, and EU institutions, consultancy companies for planning and environmental management, or in companies that provide location-based analyses and IT-services, or cartographical solutions.
The following list of domestic and international companies and institutions shows where many of our alumni with GIS specialisation have found employment:
Regio, ReachU, Positium LBS, CGI, TerraPro, Navionics, Affecto, Telia, Hendrikson&Ko, Estonian Land Board, Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board, Environmental Board, Environmental Agency, Estonian Defence Forces, Estonian Weather Service, Met Office, Tartu Observatory, Tartu City Government, Tallinn City Government, ESPON.
"As a student in human geography and environmental sciences in Tartu University, I extended my studies to the field of geoinformatics. Today I work with spatial plans and databases that support planning in the whole Europe. In the contemporary world, spatial planning simply relies on data and information systems."
Martin Gauk (alumnus 2010 from Estonia), Data, Toolbox and IT Expert in European planning cooperation programme ESPON
Daiga, MSc student in ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society’ from Latvia
“The University of Tartu is one of the best universities in the Baltics. Estonia is well-known as a pioneer in the field of information technologies and smart solutions. This makes UT a perfect place to obtain master's degree in ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised society’. It is a comprehensive programme that opens good career prospect by providing you theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and allowing you to specialise in various geoinformatics-related fields. You will get the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge in numerous practical labs and in an internship. And last, but not the least – it brings together wonderful people with different cultural and professional backgrounds and allows to exchange experiences and to grow together professionally.”
Isaac, MSc student in ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society’ from Ghana
“The decision to pursue the master’s programme ‘Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society’ in the No 1 university of Estonia is not a regrettable one. It has been specially tailored to produce professionals who will meet the demands of the industry today. The multifaceted nature of the program coupled with its interdisciplinary format is why I personally recommend this programme to anyone seeking further studies in the field of geoinformatics. By the end of the studies, you will be a GIS professional with additional understanding of social and environmental processes needed for solving the pressing issues of today’s and tomorrow’s world. Tartu is a beautiful place to live and study in, and the Department of Geography of UT feels like home. This is why I am here!”
Iryna, International Student Ambassador from Belarus
"I chose to study in Estonia because of five reasons. Estonia is only a 10-hour drive from my home country, Belarus. Secondly, the University of Tartu is a very prestigious university. Tartu has a wonderful international environment and studying here gives me a lot of opportunities. Also, once you visit Estonia, you always want to come back."
Contact Iryna or any other International Student Ambassador to ask about the student life in Tartu.
As a student of the University of Tartu, you will quickly lose your heart to the city. Tartu is famous for its cosy historic campus area intertwined with the city centre and parks. The first compact university campus was founded in the beginning of the 19th century during the Age of Enlightenment. This compelling complex of classical style buildings mixed with greenery still forms the core of the city
Along with the evolving needs of research and education, campus development in Tartu has been undergoing a transformation towards a contemporary well-integrated and connected university town that wisely, delicately, and innovatively combines the historic heritage with current needs. Modern and historical, but renovated study buildings with necessary labs and equipment provide a great study environment for our students in both the central and the Maarjamõisa campus. The latter, being located approximately 2–3 kilometres south-west from the downtown area, hosts natural and medical sciences together with the nationally leading university hospital.
As a student you will spend most of your study time in the historic study building at Vanemuise street 46, located in the central city, 15-minutes walk away from Town Hall Square. The building hosts the Department of Geography, the Department of Zoology, the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Natural History Museum.The museum affiliates zoological, botanical, mycological and geological collections and opened a new permanent exhibition ‘Earth.Life.Story’ in 2016. Access to the museum is free of charge for the students.
The study building includes free usage of the computer lab for our students. Computers are equipped with spatial analysis software and enable fulfilment of all assignments required during the studies. During your spare time at the study building, you are welcome to use the cosy coffee room of the Department of Geography.
The most recent landmark of the campus development in Tartu will be the opening of the comprehensively renovated university library in early 2018. The renewed library provides various contemporary study options where access to academic literature in digital and traditional formats as well as provision of physical study spaces are its key services. Located just between the Town Hall Square and our study building, you will certainly find your way to this academic hub of knowledge, people, and good thoughts.
Please explore the campuses of the University of Tartu via virtual tour.
The University of Tartu together with other higher education institutions – the University of Life Sciences, Tartu Health Care College, the Estonian National Defence College, the Estonian Aviation Academy, Tartu Art College, and Tartu College of the Tallinn University of Technology – commonly make up the image of Tartu as a university town. The employment of nearly half of the working-age population of Tartu is associated with higher education institutions.
Universities make Tartu a vivid and vibrant city that is filled with students. The students of the University of Tartu alone represent over 10% of the city’s population. There are always plenty of opportunities to be engaged with various social events and initiatives or become a member of student communities and associations.
EGEA – European Geography Association for students and young geographers – unites the students of geography and geoinformatics. The active local club EGEA-Tartu organises various events and provides possibilities to participate at international conferences and seminars. By being an EGEA volunteer, the students are encouraged to participate at conferences organised by the Department of Geography, e.g. at the Mobile Tartu three-days event where the international community of location-based studies gathers. There are plenty of other professional seminars and conferences held in Tartu or in Tallinn where our students are participating, e.g. at the GIS Day and annual conference organised by Estonian Geoinformatics Society (ESTGIS).
Many sporting facilities, green corridor along the River Emajõgi, and good quality cycling routes help to keep students physically active. In addition, Tartu is a compact city where everything you need is in walking distance!
Tartu does not provide only physical, but also digital proximity to all the places and services you need! Public or university-related WiFi connections enable you to access Internet almost everywhere in the city. For example, you can easily chat with your family and friends back home over smartphone apps everywhere in the town. Estonia is well known for its technological development, digital services and platforms that make everyday life comfortable and time use efficient. Take a look on our e-Estonia digital society!
Tartu provides an affordable living environment that is a strong incentive to move to Tartu for your studies. Monthly living costs are approximately 400€ in Tartu. These include living expenses and health insurance but do not cover the tuition-fee.
Take a look on the monthly living costs of our students during autumn semester 2017:
Get a sense of living in Tartu through the eyes of an international student, Anastasiia Popova. From the blog of our international student ambassadors you can find more helpful posts to get acquainted to the city and its surroundings.
The student community in Tartu helps you to start your study journey in our beautiful city. You can search around and ask for help in the following Facebook communities (the list is not definite):
Find answers to your questions also from the Welcome Web for our international students.
The University of Tartu is the leading centre of research and higher education in Estonia. Currently, the university belongs in the top 1.2% of the world’s best universities (QS World University Rankings 2017/18). It is the only classical university in Estonia and has nearly 13,000 students and 3,000 employees. In 2017, 140 doctoral degrees were defended at the university.
Among 172 bachelor and master programmes, 23 programmes are entirely taught in English. In addition, the University of Tartu is partner in six international master programmes coordinated by other higher education institutions. As the language of instruction of PhD programmes in the university is typically English, motivated international students have the opportunity to continue their studies at doctoral level. There are approximately 1,300 international students in the University of Tartu, meaning that new international students can easily find peer-students from their own countries.
The university has joined several cooperation networks in Europe, such as the Coimbra Group or Utrecht Network, and has over 70 bilateral partnership agreements with universities throughout the world. As a result, these agreements provide our students a wide variety of international study options.
In 2019, University of Tartu will celebrate 100th anniversary of Estonian National University, i.e. provision of higher education in Estonian language. However, the history of Estonian higher educational leads back to AD 1632, when the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus founded Academia Dorpatensis, the forerunner of the current University of Tartu.
Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society, University of Tartu