MSc Biology and Aquaculture

General information

Marine resources are of great value to mankind and must be maintained for future generations. Master's students will gain knowledge on the marine environment and its living resources, helping them understand the importance of sustainability both in aquaculture production and in the face of climate change. Practical experience obtained through fieldwork, experiments and laboratory analyses, will qualify students for career paths in the field of aquaculture, genomics and marine sciences.

The main aim of the Master programme in Aquaculture is to provide students with scientific and practical skills crucial for the development of the aquaculture industry. Students can specialise in reproductive biology, fish health and welfare, nutrition, seafood quality, or molecular biology/genomics. Further, students will develop perspectives and skills relating to ethical consciousness and interpersonal relations.

The programme's duration is 2 years (120 ECTS credits), and comprises degree courses, of which 20 credits are obligatory courses and 40 credits elective courses, and an independent scientific Master thesis (normally 60 ECTS credits). It is also possible to write a 30 ECTS credit thesis, in which case the coursework will be expanded to 90 ECTS credits. The following subjects are included in this programme: physiology, fish welfarereproductionseafood quality and molecular biology.

The master programme is an academic programme and offers three specializations: aquaculture, marine ecology and marine genomic.

Specialization Aquaculture:

Aquaculture - also known as fish or shellfish farming - refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments. Aquaculture is probably the fastest growing foodproducing sector in the world, now accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world's food fish. The specialization in Aquaculture aims to give students a deeper knowledge in selected areas of aquaculture. Through the choice of topics, you can delve into subjects such as aquaculture nutrition, fish physiology, fish health, quality and food safety. The master thesis are normally within themes like reproduction of fish, nutrition, fish welfare and health, and muscle quality. The practical work can be carried out in the University¿s research station or in close cooperation with the industry. The specialization offers both 30 and 60 credits thesis. Selecting a 30-credit thesis, you have the opportunity to take courses in for example economics and management (in Norwegian) at other faculties.

Specialization marine ecology:

Knowledge about factors and mechanisms, which determine the number and distribution of organisms also known as ecology, becomes increasingly important as human activity continues to exploit and affect nature in different ways. Field sampling, controlled experiments, modelling and advanced laboratory analyses are all common research methods in the study of ecology. As a master student within the field of marine ecology, you can choose among study topics related to benthic animals and plants to understand and predict how climate change and other anthropogenic or natural factors affect marine benthic systems and to apply this knowledge to sustainable ecosystem management. Another possibility is to study the interactions between marine organisms and their environment on all scales from the cell level to ocean basins, or using molecular biological techniques to analyze how populations are related and adapt to the changing environments.

Specialization marine genomic:

Technological breakthroughs in DNA sequencing has quickly made new issues available and changed practices within biological research. Study provides knowledge on how to collect, analyze and interpret large data sets using bioinformatics. Genomics is the study of structure and function of the genetic material. The specialization makes it possible to immerse yourself in an exciting theme, selected from a wide range of possible issues. Relevant disciplines includes marine ecology, evolutionary biology, systematics, ethology and aquaculture. Completion the master makes it possible to work with a variety of biological disciplines within the industry, health, management and research.

Learning outcome:

Knowledge. The candidate shall

  • have knowledge in general scientific method.
  • have an overview of important farmed species, and knowledge of the interaction between farming and
  • the surrounding environment in the light of ecological and genetic methodology.
  • depending on specialization have good knowledge within aquaculture, marine ecology or marine genomics.
  • have good knowledge and understanding in one or a few biological themes, based on work with his own thesis

Skills. The candidate shall

  • be able to use their acquired knowledge to interpret and critically assess problems in biology and aquaculture and propose practical solutions
  • have intellectual and practical skills to collect, analyse, interpret and understand data related to biology and aquaculture
  • evaluate different research strategies and methods, as well as use this in research

General competence. Candidates should be able

  • communicate relevant biological problems to management, scientific environment, aquaculture industry and the general public
  • participate in scientific marine ecological, marine genomics or aquaculture related research in a professionally research environment


  • Have general knowledge of aquaculture with a gloabl perspective, including the biology of the major aquatic species used in farming, as well as farming technology.
  • Be proficient in different segments of the aquaculture value-chain - reproduction, rearing, nutrition, health, disease control and product quality of farmed species.
  • Have developed expertise in selected fields of aquaculture, based on the research work undertaken as part of the MSc programme.
  • Be able to apply the knowledge gained in biology to interpret and critically assess issues in aquaculture and offer practical solutions.
  • Have intellectual and practical work skills and be able to collect, analyse, interpret and understand biological, physical and chemical data.
  • Be able to use scientific information and evaluate a range of research strategies and methods in aquaculture science and apply them to conduct research.
  • Be able to work in the aquaculture industry or related industries such as feed or biotechnology companies, administrative or advisor positions in governmental or non-governmental organizations.
  • Be able to build a scientific career, proceed to PhD studies as a professional aquaculture biologist/technologist.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES. A master's degree in «Biology and Aquaculture" will qualify forjobs in both public and private sectors, for example in consulting and investigation both privately and invarious ministries, directorates, county and municipal autho

FURTHER EDUCATION. Graduates qualify to apply for admission to PhD programmes at Norwegian and foreign universities. If students take additional teaching training programme, they will also be qualified to teach in secondary school.

Contact Person: Marit Bjørnevik (Programme Coordinator) (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0841 - Veterinary sciences", "0831 - Aquaculture", "0511 - Biology", "0512 - Biotechnology", "0512 - Toxicology", "0521 - Ecology


Venue: University of Nordland
Bodø, Norway



No special costs except semester registration fee and syllabus literature. Fees could apply for elective courses, maximum NOK 3000.

The University of Nordland (UiN) does not charge tuition fees. However, all students studying at UiN, except ERASMUS students and exchange students from other partner institutions, must pay the semester fee: NOK 815. This amount covers the Student Welfare Organisation, the university's agent for licensing and use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes (Kopinor) and the Norwegian Students' and Academics' Assistance Fund (SAIH)*.

*The contribution to SAIH is voluntary.  If you do not wish to contribute to SAIH the total semester fee is NOK 795.


Degree Requirements
A completed Bachelor's degree or its equivalent, with an average grade of C or better either for the entire programme or within the bioscience specialisation. The Bachelor degree must be within the Biological Sciences such as Biology, Physiology, Aquaculture, Seafood Quality, Fisheries technology or Food technology. Students must have at least 60 ECTS credits bioscience courses, 5 credits mathematics, 5 credits statistics as well as 10 ECTS credits physics or chemistry.

Language Requirements
All applicants to Master degree programmes must satisfy requirements for advanced English proficiency.  Proficiency can be documented in any of the following ways:

  1. English basic course from upper secondary school in Norway with mark 2 or better.
  2. TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 points on the paper-based test or 80 (20 reading/20 writing/20 speaking/20 listening) points on the Internet-based test.
  3. IELTS with a minimum score of 6.0.

Application Procedure:

Complete the online application form and submit along with supporting documentation directly to University of Nordland.

Application Deadlines:

  • Non-EU citizens: February 1st
  • EU citizens: April 1st
  • Applicants with Norwegian education: May 15th


The Norwegian system for grading and assessment using the letter grades A - F, in which A denotes the best/highest grade and F denotes "not passed". Grades can also be awarded as "passed", "not passed", "approved" and "not approved".


Academic level: Master


Written and oral examinations. After submission of the Master thesis, the student defends his/her thesis in a public lecture. After the lecture, there will be an oral examination.

Qualification: Master of Science

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