ACES Erasmus Mundus Joint MSc AquaCulture, Environment & Society

General information

The Erasmus Plus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society is a 120-ECTS course that runs for two years (= four semesters) and involves study periods in three different European countries (UK, France and Greece) in order to benefit from different welfare models, teaching strengths and the experience of living in different cultures and societies.

If you want the opportunity to be taught by a team of international experts, the chance to study in three fantastic locations in Europe and gain the skills required to address food security - an issue of global importance - then this is the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree for you!

Our Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (EM JMD ACES) will give you a unique opportunity to study in the United Kingdom, Crete and France, as well as allowing you to gain the practical and theoretical skills needed for a successful career in aquaculture through industry-led research programmes and fieldwork.

This full-time, 2 year course is specifically targeted at highly talented European and international students with a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in one of the fields of aquacultyre, marine science, marine biology, biology, environmental or social sciences, who wish to advance their skills.

The first semester is based in Oban (Scotland) and is devoted to gaining an overview of the global aquaculture industry, the interactions of this industry with the environment, new technologies and systems and how it is governed, managed and knowledge is exchanged with industry etc. In addition, there will be the opportunity to attend a 10 day optional overseas fieldtrip at the end of semester 1. The following two semesters are devoted to acquiring more specialist knowledge. The fourth semester is targeted at an industry-based research project, resulting in the writing of a dissertation (=30 ECTS or 60 SCQF). Students will be able to choose between the three Programme Partners as to where they undertake their dissertation. 

Classes are taught in English and the first three semesters are composed of 9 modules, including two core modules and one optional, from a choice of two modules in each country. Each module is up to 250 hours and worth 10 ECTS. You can find out more about the modules taught in each semester, including teaching methods and assessments, by clicking on the following links:

  • Semester 1: SAMS, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK
  • Semester 2: University of Crete, Greece - focus on finfish aquaculture
  • Semester 3: University of Nantes, France - focus on shellfish aquaculture
  • Semester 4: research projects in Oban, Nantes or Crete

General Core Modules

  • Overview of Global Aquaculture
  • Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture
  • Managing Biological Lifecycles
  • Sustainability of Feed Production
  • Managing Biological Lifecycles - Shellfish
  • Marine Product Safety
Contact Person: Elizabeth Cottier-Cook (


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

0312 - Policy and governance", "0511 - Biology", "0512 - Toxicology", "0521 - Ecology


Venue: The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) (Coordinating Partner)
Oban, United Kingdom

Semester 1: Oban, UK
Semester 2: Crete, Greece
Semester 3: Nantes, France
Semester 4: choose Oban, Nantes or Crete


Open from
26 Aug 2016 to 1 Feb 2017


The tuition fees for the EM JMD ACES will be:

  • Tuition fees for European graduate students (Category B students, see below): € 4,500 per year, € 9,000 for the full academic programme
  • Tuition fees for Third-country graduate student (Category A students, see below): € 9,000 per year,  € 18,000 for the full academic programme

The different tuition fees are connected to the University regulations. The Consortium Committee may revise the fees for further editions of the Masters Programme.

Tuition fees must be paid in full to the coordinating institution at the start of each academic year or accept the deduction of that amount out of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship according to the Students Agreement. Please for more information on payment details.

Category A - Partner Country - is open to students who are not nationals of an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Students cannot be residents of these countries nor have carried out their main activity (studies, training or work) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any of these countries.The five-year reference period for this 12-month rule is caluculated backwards as from the submission deadline (defined by the consortia) of applying for an EM JMD student scholarship.

Category B - Programme Country - is available to all applicants that do not meet the criteria for Category A (this includes all nationals of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey and FYROM, as well as, people who have spent more than a total of 12 months in the EU over the last five years).

What is included in the Tuition Fees? The participation costs (or Tuition fees) are designed to be inclusive in relation to academic provision.  The following services are therefore included:

  • tuition and examination fees
  • access to library and electronic resources
  • computing facilities
  • costs of short fieldtrips/ industry site related to a particular module
  • language classes (French and Greek) that are an integral part of the EM JMD ACES programme
  • access to university sport and medical facilties where available 
  • Insurance - this includes accident and health insurance satisfying the 'minimum requirements for the health and accident insurance coverage' as published by the EACEA in its guidelines for Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees.

What is NOT included in the tuition fees for NON-EM JMD Scholarship holders?

  • travel to/from EM JMD ACES institutions
  • visa-related costs
  • residence permits
  • accommodation
  • personal living expenses
  • textbooks that the student decides to purchase
  • personal computers
  • optional 10 day fieldtrip overseas*

  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in one of the fields of environmental or social sciences. An appropriate background could include; Aquaculture-related studies, Marine Science, Aquatic Biology, Biology, Environmental Sciences or Marine Resources, Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy.
  • English competence equivalent to 6.5 Academic IELTS (with a minimum of 6.0 in all four components).

Application Procedure:

We are now accepting applications for fully funded scholarships for the next academic year of the EM JMD ACES programme, starting in September 2017. Applications from EU and non-EU candidates are welcome - the programme is aimed at students from all over the world. Scholarships will cover tuition fees, living and travel expenses. This website contains all the information you need to know about the programme, but you can also contact our Education Administrator, Helen Bury, via email The closing date for scholarship applications is early February 2017.

24 June 2016: The UK referendum decision to leave the European Union will NOT affect this programme as confirmed by the European project office. We have a signed agreement that will stand for three cohorts of students: The current students who started their 2-year degree in 2015, the incoming 2016 cohort as well as a 2017 intake. The programme will continue to provide students with outstanding training and networking opportunities in Scotland, Greece and France. The future beyond the completion of the course starting in 2017 is uncertain.

To apply for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society, you must look at oureligibility requirements. If you meet the requirements, then please follow the process below.  If you are unsure or have any questions, contact us at

To apply for a place on the programmme, you will need to download TWO application forms, complete both of these in full in English and then email them back to Helen Bury at, together with the additional information listed below.  Please note that there is no separate application process for the Erasmus Mundus JMD scholarships.

If you have previously studied outside the United Kingdom, we would normally accept the equivalent qualification from a recognised university. If you are uncertain about whether your qualification(s) and/or experience are equivalent to or meet the requirements of the EM JMD ACES programme, please contact us.  

The following documents should be emailed to us at as part of your application:

  1. Completed EM JMD ACES application form (in Microsoft Word) in English, including a 350-word statement of motivation and 350-word essay reflecting on your professional experience and understanding of the issue facing the aquaculture industry. 
  2. Completed UHI International Student Application Form (applicable for ALL students, including European). This is a standard UHI application form, which needs to be completed in English. However, for the Course Details section please insert UHI-SAMS; and please leave blank the Personal Statement in this form, as it will be included in the EM JMD ACES application form above.
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV) in freestyle format
  4. A professional reference
  5. Copy of your passport
  6. Copy of your degree certificate (plus certified translation into English if applicable)
  7. Copy of your transcript of marks (plus certified translation into English if applicable)
  8. Copy of your IELTS English language test result with validity until the end of Sept 2016 (You must have official proof of your English proficiency by the time you apply for the ACES course)

Please read the information about statements and references.

Application deadlines

  • Non-European and European EM JMD scholarship applications: 17 February 2017 (Intake 3)
  • Self-funded applications: 5 June 2016 (intake 2 - Sept 2016 start date)

Certified translations

If any of your documents (e.g. official degree certificate, transcript or professional reference) were not issued in English, then you will need to provide a certified translation that is verified by your university, an official translator, embassy or lawyer.  This translation may be checked by the EM JMD ACES admissions team.  Misleading translations can lead to the rejection of otherwise eligible and complete applications.  

Grant Opportunities:

The EM JMD ACES will propose best ranked students to be awarded with individual Erasmus Mundus scholarships according to the student selection criteria approved by the EACEA and the Erasmus Mundus programme guidelines. The number of scholarships will be defined on a yearly basis.

The concession of the scholarship will be subjected to the following limitations:

  • Exclusively full-time enrolment.
  • Not being awarded with other EU grants for the same joint course over the length of the course concerned.
  • No more than two of the students with the same nationality.

Two scholarship categories are established: Partner Country students (Category A) and Programme Country students (Category B).

Category A is open to students who are not nationals of an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).  In addition, scholarship holders cannot be residents of these countries nor have carried out their main activity (studies, training or work) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any of these countries. The five year reference period for this 12-month rule is calculated backwards as from the submission deadline (defined by the consortia) of applying for an EM JMD student scholarship.

Category B is available to all applicants that do not meet the criteria for Category A.

Contribution to travel and installation costs

  • € 1,000 per year per scholarship holder resident of a Programme Country for travel, visa and installation costs
  • € 2,000 per year for travel costs + € 1,000 for installabtion costs for scholarship holder resident of a Partner Country whose location is situated at less than 4,000 km from the EM JMD coordinating institution (i.e. UHI-SAMS).
  • €3,000 per year for travel costs + € 1,000 for installation costs for scholarship holder resident of a Partner Country whose location is situated at 4,000 km or more from the EM JMD coordinating institution (i.e., UHI-SAMS).

It is the responsibility of the consortium to verify the place of residence of the student candidate. The place of residence should be verified on the basis of the provision of:

  • A residence certificate issued in accordance with the candidate's municipality normal registation rules;
  • A certificate from the candidate's place of work, study or training issued by the employer or institution in question.

Contribution to monthly alllowance (for both programme and partner country scholarship holders)

€ 1,000 per month for the entire duration of the EM JMD study programme (i.e. 24 months). This monthly allowance must NOT be given to:

  • Scholarship holders for the EM JMD period (study/research/placement/thesis preparation) spent in their country of residence.

EM JMD ACES also accepts students on a self-financing basis who pay their tuition fees and cover living costs from private sources or other scholarships. The academic conditions for admissions are the same for all students regardless of sources of funding, therefore the general conditions of eligibility apply to self-financing students as well.

Please note that EM JMD ACES is very competitive, only the highest ranked of the selected applicants will be offered an Erasmus Mundus scholarship.  Other accepted applicants will be placed on the reserve list for Erasmus Mundus scholarships. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding.


Careers and employability. So, once you finish your 2-year programme with us, what can you do with your qualification?

Employability. The objectives and format of the course mean that ACES graduates will be equipped to work in senior management roles in a wide range of settings, including fin and shell-fish farms, environmental and regulatory organisations, international trade organisations, and non-governmental organisations. 

Expected career paths include:

  • Company manager: work with a team to innovate and develop farm operations to boost productivity.
  • Policy and strategy: develop aquaculture-related procedures, guidelines and policies
  • Project development: create and implement aquaculture-related projects.
  • Applied research: design and carry out research into environmental and/or social issues and the effectiveness of certain practices and innovations in the aquaculture industry.
  • Stakeholder partnership: build networks and collaboration, especially to raise the profile of the aquaculture industry and develop consensus to promote sustainable practices.

Interaction with industry. The Erasmus Plus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES) is geared towards developing professional practice and policy. Close links with the aquaculture industry and legislators are central to this course. Course objectives explicitly promote the interests of the industry and cooperation with other professionals.

Each university of the consortium will facilitate links between students, local industry and regulators through invited lectures, fieldtrips, workshops and networking events for the exchange of information, knowledge and contacts. Dedicated industry placements have been built into Semester 4, so that learning is applied and developed in an industry-based setting, where students can benefit from exposure to this type of environment. 

Further details of our industry-based partners can be found by clicking on this link: Industry partners


Academic level: Master


Most modules will be assessed by two different types of assignments, generally one written and one presentation or reflection-based. Role plays, presentations, simulations and team projects are just some of the assessment tools used to help students develop useful skills for their careers.

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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