Back to school, for a different career... in Europe
May 3, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

After one year of getting BSc and working in the field, I'd like to switch careers and re-locate from Canada. Are there any schools in Europe that would take in foreign students interested in cartography?

I have been working as a web developer since 17, I am now 25. I am sick of web development and had epiphanies after epiphanies about doing other things with my life, especially now that I'm quarter-century old. (Quickie background info) I figure map-making is one area I can go into... (others are marine navigation, electrician, librarian technician). I do have familial obligations so I'm sticking with the more "stable" career choices.

I really yearn to live in Europe, doesn't matter which country exactly. I have beginners background in Swedish, Dutch when I visited the country, and French from highschool. There's also Japanese that I taught myself on and off since highschool 6 years ago. Basically I know I'm going to be a keen learner and adapt once plopped into something (as with rugby and dragonboating).

Are there such schools with a program in cartography (or its parent, geography) for someone like me? I don't care if it's a trades school, undergraduate, or masters... as long as what I learn will earn proper income and in the process, be in a totally different culture from the one I spent my formulative years in.

(And yes, I do like maps.)
posted by janek to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I know nothing about your subject, but since no-one had answered...

Undergraduate courses in the UK can be found via UCAS. Post-graduate courses can be found through Prospects. Both of them have related courses coming up if you search for cartography, but you'll need to grab someone with a bit of expertise to see if they're any good.

Foreign students are very welcome in UK universities because they bring in overseas fees, ie lovely lovely money for the university to spend :D
posted by Coobeastie at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2009

I think pretty much all universities in Europe accept international students as long as they meet their academic criteria (if you already have a BSC, then it may not be a problem but there could be an exam). Again, I don't know about your subject area, but there are university ranking for most states by subject that might be useful. You should really choose which states/institutions you're most interested in, and then check with them individually to see if you're suitable. Your options really are wide open, though there are a couple of things you need to think about.

Money is potentially a problem, as some universities charge international students considerable fees for study (mine charges £10k+ a year), though some states have an wholly subsidised system of higher education, even for international students. This should be a state by state thing, so either all universities charge or all are subsidised, so you can list the states you might like to study in and find out for each one. However, you will still need to support yourself and pay living costs while studying. If your web developer work is lucrative and transferable, then there should be no problem, but you will also most likely have the legal right to work while studying.

Language is probably the main issue though, especially as most universities still teach undergraduates in the national language. Without fluency in that language (or at least a good working level), you'll struggle to keep up. I checked for Sweden, and some universities do one-year language courses before undergraduate study begins, so that may be an option. Otherwise your choice is more limited to the UK and Ireland, with a handful of institutions elsewhere.
posted by Sova at 1:49 PM on May 3, 2009

It's not exactly cartography, but perhaps this is of interest to you as well: a list of universities worldwide where Geographical Information Science and Systems is taught.

More specifically about cartography is this website , set up by a European network called European Education in Geodetic Engineering, Cartography and Surveying. Under 'members' you can see where in Europe you can study these subjects, though as Sova said, language might be a problem.
posted by Ms. Next at 2:40 PM on May 3, 2009

"Beginners" Dutch, Swedish or HS French will get you absolutely nowhere for a grad program in Europe. Take some time to REALLY learn the languages or stick to the UK or Ireland as just mentioned.

If you want to study cartography the place to do it is at Wisconsin, but that doesn't answer your question I know.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:42 PM on May 3, 2009

Your options aren't necessarily just the UK and Ireland. Unis in places like the Netherlands and Sweden sometimes teach courses in English, though I don't know if cartography would be one of them.

Link to the British Cartographic Society's list of courses in the UK
posted by westerly at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2009

Response by poster: Sova, you've given me food for thought. Thanks for the links everyone!
posted by janek at 3:06 PM on May 4, 2009

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