The full-time program lasts 1.5 years, or 3 semesters of 30 ECTS credits. In total, 90 ECTS credits must be earned, 45 ECTS credits of taught courses and 45 ECTS credits for the Master’s thesis. The courses consist of 12 ECTS credits of mandatory courses, at least 18 ECTS credits of core elective courses, and at most 15 ECTS credits of elective courses.

Students who have been admitted to the program will be assigned a member of the teaching staff as a mentor. The mentor will advise the mentee on all aspects of study, including choosing appropriate courses from the offerings of the program as well as additional courses from the Master's offerings at the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, or other Swiss universities.


ECTS credits

Compulsory (incl. 45 MSc thesis)

Core electives min. 18
Elective courses max. 15
Total 90

Compulsory modules

Module ID Title Language ECTS Term
GEO 661 Fundamental Challenges in GIScience English 6 Fall
GEO 662 Project Planning, Execution and Management English 6 Fall
GEO 620 Master's thesis and master's exam English 45 Spring and Fall

The Master's thesis represents an independent scientific work under the guidance of an experienced member of the teaching staff.  The thesis is worth 45 ECTS credits and may extend over two consecutive semesters, but must not exceed one year. The results of the thesis will be presented in a public seminar.

Core elective modules

We offer a range of core elective courses, each counting 3 ECTS credits, covering the breadth of Geographic Information Science ranging from more computational to more cognitive topics, including:

Module ID Title Language ECTS Term
GEO 871 Retrieving Geographic Information English 3 Fall
GEO 872 Advanced Spatial Analysis I English 3 Fall
GEO 873 Cognitive Issues in GIScience English 3 Fall
GEO 874 Introduction to Databases English 3 Fall
GEO 875 Spatial Databases English 3 Fall
GEO 876 Introduction to Programming for Spatial Problems English 3 Spring
GEO 877 Spatial Algorithms English 3 Spring
GEO 878 Geovisualisation English 3 Spring
GEO 880 Computational Movement Analysis English 3


GEO 883

Interactive Information Visualization

English 3 Fall
GEO 884 Location-based Services English 3 Spring
GEO 886 Natural Resource Management of Mountain Areas English 3 Spring

Elective courses

May be freely chosen from the Master’s offerings at the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, or other Swiss universities, in consultation with the mentor. At most 15 ECTS credits of elective courses may count towards the Specialized Master in GIScience.

More information

Read further details in the University of Zurich module directory

For enquiries, contact Robert Weibel (