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Distance course in

Principles and Applications of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Certification Distance Location Start Duration EC Tuition fee Registration deadline NFP registration deadline Register
Certificate Distance 05 Feb 2018 9 months 15 EUR 2672 / 2004 05 Jan 2018 Not applicable Register


Geographical information science (GIS) and Earth Observation are scientific disciplines that develop methods to extract information about the earth surface and use this information for solving real-world problems. Many tools and services that are now main stream like GPS, route planners in cars and Google Earth were developed by GIScientists. Spatial data, and methods to combine and analyse spatial information can help to solve complex issues concerning health care, water and food security, climate change, urban planning, natural hazards and land scarcity.

Learn all about Earth without leaving home

Are you a professional (scientist of practitioner) with an academic background dealing with geospatial data? Do you have only a limited knowledge of the principles of GIS and earth observation in your application field? Would you like to take a course in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, which is an integral part of a full MSc programme, without having to spend any time away from home?

ITC at the University of Twente (the Netherlands) now offers you this opportunity, with a brand-new distance course entitled “Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation: a Systems-based Approach”. Depending on your circumstances, this could be a convenient first step towards taking the remainder of the ITC Master’s programme in face-to-face mode, or simply a smart and affordable way of getting a taste of the full programme. You could also use this distance course to, e.g., acquire a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter or see how your current knowledge level measures up to academic standards. The course consists of three separate but connected 5 EC modules:

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  • Module 1: Geo-Information Science and Modelling (5 EC) (5 February - 20 April 2018)
    This module will deal with geo-information science covering a range of techniques for data modelling, data collection, data storage, analysis and visualisation of spatial-temporal data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Module 2: Earth Observation (5 EC) (23 April - 29 June 2018)
    This module will cover the complete process from the specification of image data acquisition requirements, through image enhancement to image analysis and classification.
  • Module 3: Data integration: Principles, approaches and user perspectives (5 EC) ( 27 August - 2 November 2018)
    Module 3 includes three main topics offered through lectures, practical sessions, guided discussions and a project related assignment which are:
    • System Earth
    • Use and Users, SDI and Geo-Portals
    • Data Integration

Each module takes 10 weeks (as opposed to 3 weeks each in full-time face-to-face education). This means that on average you’ll need to dedicate 14 hours a week to studying, 2 of which are compulsory hours spent in virtual classroom sessions. You will achieve the same learning outcomes as in face-to-face. As to the educational quality − again, as in face-to-face − you’ll be studying under the guidance of highly qualified and thoroughly committed staff, at an accredited and internationally acclaimed faculty.

Added benefits

Make no mistake: even though you’ll be studying part-time for about 14 hours a week, this distance course constitutes quite a challenge. That being said, it should leave you with enough time for working a job, parenting or other activities. While there is no physical interaction, the digital learning environment encourages you to interact with your fellow students anywhere, anytime. The course is designed to keep you on track, and you stand to gain important additional skills such as studying independently in a virtual environment. Instead of taking the entire course you can also choose to take one or two separate modules. This could apply if for some reason you’re particularly interested in (a) specific field(s) covered by the separate modules. Each module is credited in itself.

A smart way to start the full Master’s programme

The distance course produces the same learning outcomes and has similar content to the face-to-face course that starts off ITC’s regular Master’s programme in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. Distance education also takes place in a similarly international (albeit virtual) environment. Consequently, this could be a head start of a full MSc or a sensible way for you to get a taste of the full face-to-face programme, and determine whether you’re up to it. The distance course will be completed 2 November 2018, which is before the start of the remainder of the regular face-to-face Master’s programme (12 November 2018). This could give you the time you need to make arrangements for your transfer into the regular programme, if that is what you want at that moment. If, for whatever reason, you want or need to be back home later on in the programme, you always have the option of working on your thesis there instead of in the Netherlands. Upon completing the distance course you can also choose to postpone enrolling in the rest of the Master’s programme. As module exam results remain valid for 6 years, after completing your first distance module you’ll have up to 6 years to complete the remainder of the full Master’s programme.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this course you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course.

Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states for each module: the module code, number, subject, ECTS credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.

If you decide to follow a full Postgraduate or Master’s programme at ITC, and after approval of the Examination Board, you will be exempted from the module(s) you followed successfully as a distance course.

This course is part of our accredited Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation. If you later decide to follow the Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation you are exempted from the successfully completed module.

Admission requirements

Academic level and background
Applicants for the Distance programme should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognised university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.

English language
As all courses are given in English, proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite. If you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF), you are exempted from an English language test. Please note: the requirements when applying for fellowships may vary according to the regulations of the fellowship provider.

English language tests: minimum requirements
Only internationally recognized test results are accepted.

  • TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT) 550
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test 79-80
  • British Council / IELTS 6.0
  • Cambridge CPE/CAE

Computer skills
Computer skills and regular access to internet and e-mail are essential in this course.
Candidates are asked to provide proof of identity during the registration and examination process.

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