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Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society Plus (EMJMD ACES\ACES+)

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Tijdsduur 4 semesters
Entry level Bachelor
Cost International students - €5,000 per academic year, UK/EU students - €2,500 per academic year

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society Plus (EMJMD ACES+) will give you a unique opportunity to study in up to four centres of European excellence in aquaculture research and learning; Scotland, Crete, France and the Netherlands. It will also allow you to gain the practical and theoretical skills needed for a successful career in aquaculture through industry-led research programmes, internships and fieldwork.

Course Objectives

Students will gain a broad understanding of the key principles of aquaculture and an in-depth knowledge of the many major scientific, technological and social challenges facing the sustainable development of the global aquaculture industry, including fin-fish, crustaceans, bivalves and seaweed. Key challenges influencing the sustainability of the industry include; environmental issues, nutrition, feed formulation, disease, welfare, reproduction and genetics, product safety, ecotoxicology, aquaculture systems (e.g. recirculation and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture), biosecurity, spatial planning and regulation.

Students will also be provided with key ‘life’ skills training, such as presentation, networking, social media, entrepreneurship (in association with the Scottish Institute for Enterprise), which will be tried and tested throughout the programme. This unique programme will, therefore, equip students with the essential skills required to establish, manage and/ or assess aquaculture activities either from a research, public authority or commercial perspective and to communicate confidently with industry representatives or the public sector.

Course Structure

The EMJMD ACES+ is a 2 year programme and involves study periods in three (or more) different European countries. This movement allows students to gain experience and networking opportunities in European ‘Centres of Excellence’ for aquaculture research and learning, the chance to learn new languages (including Greek and French, not essential, but definitely a plus point for your CV) and, of course, the experience of living in different cultures and making friends with students from all over the world!

The EMJMD ACES+ is  modularised to enable flexibility for learning whilst at the same time maintaining the very highest standards of training.  The modular structure allows the student to make subject choices according to their future career aspirations. The course is divided into nine taught modules and a single research project module.  The overall course is divided into four parts or semesters:

Semester 1 (September to February, Year 1) – Foundation

The first semester is based in Oban (Scotland) and students undertake two compulsory modules and one optional module.  The compulsory modules focus on providing the student with an overview of the global aquaculture industry and environmental interactions of aquaculture. These modules enables students to acquire the principles, concepts and skills of aquaculture. Students must select either a module focused on the new technologies and systems designed to address the various challenges and opportunities associated with aquaculture, or a module concerned with how the industry is governed and managed at a global level and how knowledge is exchanged between stakeholders and industry.

Successful completion of this semester will qualify the student for a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Semester 2 (March – August, Year 1) – Advanced

The second semester is based at the University of Crete in Greece and focuses on finfish aquaculture. It is based on two compulsory advanced and one optional module.  The compulsory modules specialise in early life stages, including critical points of development for marine and freshwater commercial fish species, feeding and nutrition, reproductive biology and broodstock management. These modules also focus on fish behaviour, stress and welfare, pathology and disease prevention, genetic selection and stock improvement, fish quality indicators, live prey – including new management methods for mass production, feed formulation and manufacturing, optimisation of feed digestibility and efficiency, feeding systems and biologicial feeds.

The student will also be able to choose one of two optional modules, which are (i) Fish Quality – Environmental and Genetic Components; and (ii) Environmental Impact Assessment for Aquaculture Projects.

Semester 3 – (September to February, Year 2) – Advanced

The third semester is based at the University of Nantes in France and focuses on bivalve and crustacean aquaculture and marine product safety. This semester comprises on two compulsory modules and two optional modules. The compulsory modules have a particular focus on shellfish reproductive cycles, development of early life stages, metamorphoses and postlarval critical developmental stages, focus on gill development, functions and performance in suspension-feeders, accessory feeding structures and functions, growth including physiological processes, net energy balance and modelling, analysis of the food sources in the environment: spatio-temporal variability, ecosystem carrying capacity, trophic competition, infectious diseases: characteristics and management and the economics of shellfish production.  In addition, the marine product safety module focuses on toxic fungi and microalgae, including their identification, ecology and relevance to the aquaculture industry, plus chemical pollutants and their bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity in marine products and public health implications such as biomonitoring, methodologies and regulation.

The student will also be able to choose one of two optional modules, which are (i) Refinement and Development of Marine Natural Products and (ii) Food Composition, Trophic Transfer and Human Nutrition.

Semester 4 (February – July, Year 2) – Research Project

The research dissertation module will be completed in a subject area which complements your choice of modules up to this point.  These projects can be lab-based or field based with one of our 4 core partners (SAMS-UHI, the Universities of Crete, Nantes or Radboud) or with one of our international Associated Partners.  All the projects must involve data analysis and the production of a report.  Successful completion of this module, together with the preceding foundation and advanced modules, will qualify the student for an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree.

Structurele componenten
Internship/Workplace experience
International component
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

How to apply? Click here

Grant opportunities

We aim to recruit talented, well-qualified and driven students irrespective of their financial background. To this end, we encourage students and potential students to apply for a range of funding provided by UK and international government bodies, the European Commission, trusts, research councils, industry and employers. Below are details of potential funders for students of our EMJMD ACES+ by region:

United Kingdom (please note some UK based institutions or funders provide scholarships or grants to international students)



North America

South and Latin America


Australia and New Zealand

Below is a list of portals (databases) providing information on scholarships, institutions and funders including sources of private finance:


The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (EMJMD ACES+) is open to students who meet the following minimum conditions:

  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent; second class or higher at Honours level) in one of the fields of biological or environmental sciences. An appropriate background could include; aquaculture-related studies, marine science and/or resources, aquatic biology, biology, or environmental sciences linked to the field of marine science and fisheries; and
  • For non-UK students, a Secure English Language Test (i.e. IELTS) certificate (applicants must achieve an overall score of 6.5 in this test and a minimum of 6.0 in all four components).

We particularly welcome applications from mature students and/or those with practical working experience in the aquaculture industry.

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language, then you must have;

If you have any questions about IELTS or taking an IELTS tests, please contact us or have a look at the IELTS website

If you are a citizen or hold an academic qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor degree that was taught in one of the following countries, you will not need to have an IELTS qualification:

ISCED Categories

Beleid en bestuur
Conservatie en milieumanagement
Mariene Ruimtelijke Planning
Veterinaire wetenschappen