MSc/PGDip in Aquatic Pathobiology

General information

The Institute of Aquaculture is one of a handful of institutions worldwide wholly devoted to aquaculture science and is the only university department of its kind in the UK. The Institute is internationally recognised for both research and teaching and has more than 70 staff and 80 postgraduate students.

Our goal is to develop and promote sustainable aquaculture and in pursuit of this carry out research across most areas of aquaculture science including:

  • Reproduction and Genetics
  • Health Management
  • Nutrition
  • Environmental Management
  • Aquaculture Systems and International Development

The full Master’s course for each degree outcome is divided into four taught modules containing 12 subject areas or topics; two foundation modules, two advanced modules and a single Research Project module. Teaching is through a variety of formats including lectures, practical classes, seminars, field visits and directed study. This course is also available on a block-release basis (by selecting individual or a series of modules) over a period not exceeding five academic years. The overall course is divided into three parts:

1. Foundation modules (Semester 1) The Foundation modules are taught between September and December. There are six compulsory topics of study within two taught modules, taken consecutively, giving instruction in basic aquaculture concepts and skills. Successful completion of both Foundation modules will qualify you for a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture.
    - Principles of Aquaculture
    - Aquaculture Production

2. Advanced modules (Semester 2) The two advanced modules consisting of six compulsory topics of study are taught between January and April. Successful completion of the advanced modules, subsequent to the Foundation modules, will qualify you for a Postgraduate Diploma in Aquatic Pathobiology.
    - Aquaculture Diseases & Diagnosis
    - Aquaculture Disease Treatment

3. Research Project module (Semester 3)The Research Project module is normally completed between April and August, and involves research in many areas of aquatic animal health. These projects are mostly laboratory based and often result in peer-reviewed publications. Successful completion of the module, subsequent to foundation and advanced modules, will qualify you for an MSc in Aquatic Pathobiology.

Learning outcome:

Career opportunities. This course has run for almost 40 years and has trained over 200 students (in combination with Aquatic Veterinary Studies) from all over the world. It equips graduates with expertise applicable to a wide range of potential careers. The career path selected depends on your personal interests, as well as your previous experiences. Our graduates generally find employment in their area of interest and the world employment market in the area of aquatic animal health remains buoyant.

The course provides a natural career progression for most candidates and a conversion course for others wishing to enter the field. It also provides training for those who wish to pursue a PhD, especially in aquaculture, aquatic health, fisheries and aquatic resources management.

Over the last five intakes, in combination with the Aquatic Veterinary Studies degree, about 30 percent of graduates have gone on to a PhD or further research, about 25 percent have taken employment as aquatic health consultants, about 20 percent work in government fisheries departments, about 15 percent are university lecturers and the remainder are managers of farms or aquaria or have other types of employment.


You will gain an understanding of the biology, husbandry and environment of farmed aquatic species, in addition to specialist expertise in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of aquatic animal diseases in cultured organisms. It is also intended as preparation for students who plan to pursue a PhD in the area of aquatic animal health or disease.

Contact Person: Dr Trevor Telfer (Course Director) (


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

0831 - Aquaculture", "0512 - Toxicology", "0841 - Veterinary sciences


Venue: University of Stirling
Stirling, United Kingdom

School of Natural Sciences
FK9 4LA Scotland



Full-time programme 2016/2017

  • UK/EU students: £6.100
  • Overseas students: £17.350

Full-time programme 2016/2017

  • UK/EU students: TBC
  • Overseas students: £18.150

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Cost of Living. Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options. Find information on paying fees by instalments


Degree Requirements
A minimum of a second class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Language Requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

Application Procedure:

You can apply for this master using either the online application form or via an international representative. Please see the full list of international representatives or you can email the international recruitment team: Please include the following documents, as well as your application form:

  • Copies of academic qualifications or certificates
  • An academic transcript from your undergraduate programme (translated if not in English)
  • One reference
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (if relevant)
  • A copy of the personal details page of your valid passport (for international students)
  • A copy of your current Tier 4 visa, if you are currently studying in the UK (for international students)

Application Deadline: applications can be made up to one years in advance of the programme start date. There are no application deadlines - the University considers applications throughout the year. International candidates requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK are advised to apply at least 8 weeks in advance of the programme start date. 

More information on how to apply

Grant Opportunities:

Scottish Funding Council Masters Scholarships

The Scottish Funding Council is funding Home/EU tuition fees for a number of places on this course. Funded places are open to applicants domiciled in Scotland and the EU. 

More information can be found here.

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS.  More information

Information on possible sources of funding

Scholarship finder

Fully funded masters scholarships. In partnership with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre and The Data Lab, the University of Stirling is currently offering up to 82 fully funded places on a select range of Masters Programmes during 2016/17. For each place, the full cost of tuition will be covered across a diverse set of courses.

All of the cutting-edge programmes supported by this funding have been handpicked because they arm graduates with all the skills necessary to impact Scotland's key up-and-coming industries – and each scholarship is supported by a set of inclusive eligibility requirements.

How do I apply? You don't. So long as you apply for one of the listed postgraduate courses, accept an unconditional offer and meet all eligibility requirements, you will automatically be considered for one of the SFC's 82 masters scholarships. Successful candidates will then be notified via email by the University's Admissions Office.


Academic level: Master


Assessment consists of a number of assignments in a range of formats. The Research Project is graded on your activities during the project, your dissertation and a seminar presentation made in front of your peers, supervisors and examiners. The dissertation is examined by Aquaculture and external examiner.

Qualification: Master of Science

SCQF Credits
Occupations (not validated):
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