Top 10 Questions For Potential Program Applicants

1. What are the advantages of getting a Master's degree in GIS?

  • Completion of the program allows you to apply for positions that many GIS students are not qualified for.
  • Your starting income is likely to be higher than students who do not hold a Master's degree.
  • You will have higher status within the workplace, and better access to promotions.

2. How long is the program?

  • The program is normally two full years in length (September - August) if taken full-time.
  • For those completing the program while maintaining fulltime work a more realistic timeframe to completion is three years.
  • Students who qualify for Advanced Placement into Stage 2 will be able to complete the program in one full year (September - August).

3. Where is the program held?

  • Stage 1 of the program may be taken face-to-face at the Nanaimo campus, or entirely online.
  • Stage 2 may be taken entirely online, or in a blended mode which requires students to attend classes at the Nanaimo campus.

4. How much does the program cost?

5. How difficult is the program?

  • For some students, this program will be the most difficult but most rewarding thing that they have ever done.
  • Students who have already completed a Post-Graduate GIS Diploma will know the kind of workload to expect, but will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of self-direction and independence than in the previous program.

6. What are the admission requirements?

7. What is the admission process?

  • The Admissions process for the Master of GIS Application depends on where you come from, and what your background is.
    • For Domestic Students
      • Students with limited GIS Experience (A Bachelor's degree in any discipline, plus at least one applied course in GIS)
        • Entry into Stage 1 of the MGISA program
          • Stage 1 is identical to the Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications program (
        • Students holding a Post-graduate GIS Diploma (equivalent to VIU's Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications) with grades in all courses higher than a "B"
          • Advanced placement into Stage 2 of the MGISA program
          • Students who do not have all grades higher than a "B" in all courses may apply to take these courses again, prior to applying for Stage 2 (Note: this does not automatically guarantee entry into Stage 2; entry is still a competitive process)
    • For International Students
        • Admission policies are identical to those for Domestic Students above, but you also need to meet the general requirements for entry into VIU. See VIU International Admissions.

8. What documents do I have to send with my application?

  • Official copies of all post-secondary transcripts, demonstrating that you hold a bachelor's degree at an accredited post-secondary institution.
  • Evidence that you have completed an introductory GIS course. For information on acceptable courses and challenge options for fulfilling this requirement, please see Prerequisite GIS Courses.
  • A resume of academic and professional experience.
  • A cover letter explaining, in your own words, how the MGISA program will contribute to your career plans.
  • A preliminary description of the research topic you wish to pursue.
  • Two letters of recommendation (references) - not required if you are a graduate of VIU's Advanced Diploma in GISA (reference letter template).
  • If your first language is not English, your TOEFL or IELTS score sheet.

9. Why study at VIU?

  • Dedicated, experienced GIS faculty who are experts in their fields.
  • VIU has a staff of 6 GIS experts with a variety of backgrounds that can serve as research project supervisors.
  • Training program focused on practical and personal skills that are required in the job market.

10. How do I apply to the program?

  • You can apply to VIU online, by mailing in an application form, or in-person at the Registration and Admissions Centre (Nanaimo Campus, Building 200, Room 340).