MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Aquaculture: Sustainable Aquaculture

General information

The MSc course at the Institute of Aquaculture provides advanced knowledge in chosen areas from; advanced broodstock management, aquaculture policy and planning, livelihoods analysis, geographic information systems, environmental management and biodiversity, feed formulation and resources, economics, marketing and business studies, shrimp culture, aquaculture engineering, aquatic animal health control, epidemiology, and ecotoxicology.

The course is available on a block-release basis (by selecting individual or a series of modules) over a period not exceeding five academic years. The course is highly modularised and is designed to give considerable flexibility for learning, while maintaining a high standard of training. This structure allows students to make more subject choices which will benefit their future career and also have greater flexibility of learning over time. There is a number of degree outcomes available. These differ primarily in their defined path of required modules; specialised outcomes have more compulsory modules where the Sustainable Aquaculture degree has greater choice. The degree outcomes are:

  • MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Sustainable Aquaculture
  • MSc/PGDip in Aquaculture and the Environment
  • MSc/PGDip in Aquaculture Business Management
  • MSc/PGDip in Aquaculture and Development
  • MSc/PGDip in Aquaculture Biotechnology

The full Master’s course for each degree outcome is divided into four taught modules, containing 18 subject areas or topics, and a single research project module. In addition to lectures, tutorials and seminars, a number of assignments must be completed. Laboratory-based practical sessions and fieldwork are also important elements. The 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 (September to December)
- Principles of Aquaculture 
- Aquaculture Production

2. Advanced modules (January to April)
Choose two from five:

- Aquatic Environmental Resources
- Animal Health & Breeding
- Advanced Aquaculture Production
- Aquaculture Development
- Aquaculture Biotechonology I

3. Research Project module (April to August)
The Research Project module is completed in a subject area which complements the chosen course of advanced study or your named degree outcome. These projects can be lab based, field based, or involve a desk study analysis/report. Successful completion of the module, subsequent to foundation and advanced modules, will qualify the student for an MSc in a selected degree outcome.

Learning outcome:

Students will attain background knowledge in the principles of aquaculture and key factors influencing viability of aquatic animal production systems, including an understanding of aquatic animal biology, environmental issues, nutrition, reproduction and genetics, disease and health management. They will be able to appraise aquaculture operations and contribute to management decision making while having the skills necessary to establish, manage and appraise aquaculture enterprises and development projects from within the industry or public sector.

Career opportunities. This course has run for over 30 years and has trained over 620 students from all over the world. The comprehensive nature of the course and our close links with UK and overseas industry allows good potential for employment in any aspect of commercial aquaculture. Approximately 30 percent of our students follow a direct route into industry.

Additionally, the course is an excellent grounding for research and further education, often building on the dissertation, and about 30 percent of graduates choose this route. Links with government departments throughout the world allow many of our graduates to establish careers in aquaculture development and aquaculture management in developing countries.

We have designed our taught postgraduate courses so that, in addition to learning about your specialist discipline, you will be exposed to, and trained in, a number of skills which are not specific to aquaculture but which employers increasingly expect. During your course you will develop capabilities in the following areas:

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", "0511 - Biology


Venue: University of Stirling
Stirling, United Kingdom

School of Natural Sciences
FK9 4LA Scotland

The Institute of Aquaculture is one of a handful of institutions world-wide 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



Full-time programme 2016/2017

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

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


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).
  • 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. 

EU Applicants: EU students who have applied or who have been made an offer to study at the University of Stirling in 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) are unaffected by the outcome of the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016. Those who are considering applying to the University for 2017 entry are encouraged to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed as relevant details emerge.

Grant Opportunities:

Masters Scholarships: the Scottish Funding Council is funding Home/EU tuition fees for a number of places on the MSc Sustainable Aquaculture. Funded places are open to applicants domiciled in Scotland and the EU. More information

Fishmongers Society of Great Britain Bursary
A single bursary of around £3.500 is normally awarded each year by the Fishmongers Society of Great Britain for the MSc Sustainable Aquaculture programme.  All eligible applicants are considered for these awards in June/July preceding entry on the basis of academic merit.

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

Further information on possible sources of funding is available at the Scholarhsip Finder of the University.


Academic level: Master


In addition to lectures, tutorials and seminars, a number of assignments must be completed. Laboratory-based practical sessions and fieldwork are also important elements of the course. Taught module assessment is continuous, involving short tests, seminars, essays, practical reports, critical and computational analysis, field assignments and set project reports. The Research Project module is examined through written dissertation and seminar presentations by both examiners and the external examiner.

Qualification: Master of Science

SCQF Credits
Occupations (not validated):
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