Skip to main content

Prepare for long-term professional success at Canada's most creative, connected and entrepreneurial university for graduate education.

Increase Text Size
Decrease Text Size
 Change Text Size 

Graduate Program in Spatial Analysis

About the Program
 


The Master of Spatial Analysis with its unique MSA degree designation is an academically rigorous yet professionally oriented, 12-month graduate program with a 16 to 20-month thesis option. Through project-based lectures and labs, a work placement, and a major research paper or thesis, MSA students are prepared to think geographically and master geographic information systems (GIS) to support operational and strategic decision-making in government and industry.

Spatial analysts work for major banks, retailers, and real-estate developers to delineate market areas, estimate sales potentials, and recommend facility locations. Other career fields include environmental analysis and consulting, crime analysis, epidemiology, telecommunications, and natural resource management, to name just a few. Through the effective use of GIS-based analysis, mapping, and reporting, our graduates are shaping the economic and social wellbeing of cities, the settlement and conservation policies of regions, and the health and connectivity of people across the globe. MSA students are also increasingly involved in faculty research and scientific publication, and decide to pursue doctoral studies after graduation.

The following tagcloud provides an illustration of the MSA graduates’ first and current job titles that are known to the program.

The MSA program has its academic home in the Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, Canada’s economic engine and one of the most progressive, multi-cultural, and vibrant cities in North America. Ryerson’s Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) was a founding partner of the MSA program, and remains a key contributor to the business geomatics field of study.

The MSA degree can be completed in 12 months (three semesters) by fulltime students and 24 months (six semesters) by parttime students. The degree requirements include four core and two elective courses, a practicum placement (waived for most parttime students), and a major research paper or thesis. Although much of the curriculum is in common for all students, and many of the spatial analysis skills are transferable, three fields of study are recognized: physical/environmental geography and landscape analysis; business/commercial applications; and social and community information analysis. Students participate in one of the fields by selecting electives, the practicum host, and their research topic according to their interests.

 

 

Spatial Analysis:
Program Details
Program-Related News

27 August 2019 - Orientation event for a new class of 22 MSA in Spatial Analysis candidates: Welcome to Toronto, Ryerson, and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies!

10 July 2019 - MSA thesis student Arsh Grewal presents his research with MSA faculty members Drs. Stephanie Melles and Claire Oswald on “Source, Transport and Fate of Cohesive Sediment in Aquatic Systems: Implications for Water Quality and Ecosystem Health” at the 27th IUGG General Assembly in Montreal.

30 May 2019 - Congratulations to MSA faculty member Dr. Claire Oswald, winner of Water’s Next academic leader award for her work on road salt and the impact on surface waters!

4 April 2019 - MSA student Selasi Dorkenoo presented in the Geospatial Health Research Poster Session at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the AAG. Her topic “Accessing informal and formal social supports among older immigrants in Canada: A mixed-methods approach” is part of a collaboration of MSA faculty member Dr. Lu Wang with researchers at Ryerson and three other Ontario universities.

1 February 2019 - Are you interested in impervious land-use feature classification? Check out the new paper by MSA graduate Ela Lichtblau and MSA faculty member Dr. Claire Oswald, “Classification of impervious land-use features using object-based image analysis and data fusion”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0198971518303788

29 January 2019 - MSA faculty member Dr. Lu Wang, Gabby Lee, MSA ‘17, and Ian Williams, MSA ’09, and Head of Analytics & Innovation at the Toronto Police Service, co-authored a paper on “The Spatial and Social Patterning of Property and Violent Crime in Toronto Neighbourhoods: A Spatial-Quantitative Approach”, which is available at https://mdpi.com/2220-9964/8/1/51

14 November 2018 - GIS Day2018 event in collaboration with Ryerson University Library and Archives and Esri Canada includes a presentation on big data in retail analytics by MSA faculty member Dr. Tony Hernandez and Joe Aversa, MSA ’10 and PhD cand. at Wilfred Laurier University. The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies will also participate in the City of Toronto’s GIS Day event on November 20th with a presentation of select MSA student work.

13 November 2018 - Thank you, Environics Analytics, for allowing 25 MSA students to present their cool cartography and geovisualization course projects at the 2018 EA User Conference!

11 October 2018 - Congratulations, MSA class of 2018 on today’s convocation ceremony!

11 June 2018 - MSA student Krystal Siebert presented her research on “Use of Wetland-to-Lake Hydrologic Connectivity Metrics to Better Understand Broad-Scale Patterns in Lake Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentrations” at 2018 meeting of the Canadian Geophysical Union.

1 June 2018 - At the 2018 meeting of the Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA), MSA student Melanie MacDonald reported on her course project on mapping informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, using OpenStreetMap with an associated story map and some artwork too. Congrats, Melanie, on being selected for the CCA’s best student paper/presentation award at the conference!

17 May 2018 - Andy Charles, MSA '01, who served as Analyst and Retail Consultant at Scotiabank, and Sears Canada, and now is Senior Manager of Strategy, Analytics, and Insights at Loblaw Co, was profiled for Ryerson University’s 70/25-year anniversary. Andy was among the first eight Ryerson students to ever receive a graduate degree - see him cross the stage at Fall 2001 convocation at https://youtu.be/8N21ixucAbA

3 May 2018 - At the MSA Poster Day, 19 students presented their major research paper or thesis research plans. The photo at https://twitter.com/RyersonGeo/status/992109214150602752 shows faculty, staff, prospective MSA students, and industry representatives listening attentively to the student’s presentation across an extraordinary range of topics.

28 March 2018 - Sean Marshall, MSA ’05, spoke to an undergraduate Geographic Analysis class today about potential campus locations in Brampton. In addition to his day job as Geospatial Health Analyst, Sean blogs about urban transportation issues and is a contributing writer for Spacing Magazine and TVO.

14 March 2018 - Taking a daily dive into Data Lake… For International Women’s Day, Scotiabank’s Digital Factory profiled the work of Margaret Woo, MSA ’01, and Senior Manager, Applied Analytics at the bank.

2 March 2018 - Ryerson’s “Alumni of Grad Studies” series features a portrait of Amanda Maze, MSA '04, and Director of Spatial Strategy and Real Estate Insights at Walmart Canada. The Master of Spatial Analysis is one of Ryerson’s longest-running graduate degrees with extraordinary career opportunities in geography, GIS, retail, marketing, banking, and real estate.

10 February 2018 - New article by a group of MSA faculty and students: K. Wayne Forsythe et al., “Assessing fine particulate matter concentrations and trends in southern Ontario, Canada, 2003-2012.” Get your open access copy at https://www.aimspress.com/fileOther/PDF/environmental/environ-05-00035.pdf

2 February 2018 - Ryerson Today  article on “Why your geography degree will get you a job”, highlighting the transferable skills acquired in the MSA program: “From retail to crime analytics to public health, geography is in high demand”, citing the experience of MSA alumni Heather Hart and Joe Aversa.

23 November 2017 - Celebrating the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity's (CSCA) 25th anniversary with an evening event around Canadian retail, real estate, and consumer behaviour trends. The CSCA is a founding partner of the MSA program and has hosted numerous MSA student research projects.

13 November 2017 - GIS Day event in the MSA lab. Students presented their completed Geovisualization projects, ranging from interactive and animated maps to 3D prints and other physical models.

19 October 2017 - The annual MSA practicum host reception showcases experiential learning at its best. Quotes from placement hosts overheard at the reception: MSA students make “maps that really change the conversation” about city planning and are “fully involved in our work group”, not just given a project to go off with. In other organizations, MSA students use GIS to help estimate mortgage risk, and employ location intelligence in environmental conservation. In retail network planning, MSA students consult on store cannibalization. As information designers at a major consultancy, MSA students will contribute to turning analytics into actionable decisions. MSA placement students will also participate in addressing police accountability and cost using geospatial data analysis. There even was a bit of competition between hosts about which is the coolest placement in conservation!

12 October 2017 - Congratulations, Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA) class of 2017 @RyersonU! Eggy, the mascot, likes #Geography #GIS and #WomenInAnalytics, see our tweet at https://twitter.com/RyersonGeo/status/918633759443910656.


Previous news items