FAQ's about the Aquaculture Degree

What will I study on the Aquaculture degree at Stirling?

An Aquaculture degree is much more than learning about fish farming, and is very much a science degree rather than a vocational course. In the first year we will build on whatever knowledge you have with a fascinating look at Our Blue Planet. Cell biology, Laboratory and Field skills, Animal Physiology and Our Thirsty Planet (all about man's thirsty relationship with water) will also form the core first year subjects, through a mixture of lectures, practical and fieldwork.

In the second year Introduction to Aquatic environments will explore the nature of freshwater and marine systems, their biology, physics and chemistry. This will be accompanied by courses in Statistics, Evolution & Genetics, Biodiversity, and Science of Diving. The latter covers the physiology and science behind diving, as well as other forms of underwater observation and research.

Modules in the third year include Microbiology, Management of Living Aquatic Resources (which includes fisheries), Animal Physiology, Issues in Marine Biology, and Aquaculture, as well as an intensive field-based module before the summer break.

Students in semester 7 benefit from small class sizes and focussed teaching in four modules that relate to the four research groups of the Institute, that is on: Aquaculture Production Environments; Reproduction and Genetics; Nutrition; and Aquatic Disease.

A major part of the Honours (4th) year is the Honours Project module, which runs over both semesters and involves individual research work alongside a named academic supervisor. This culminates in the writing of the honours thesis, and giving an oral presentation of your findings. This project gives you the opportunity to research a topic of particular interest with support from our experienced staff. There are considerable opportunities for project work overseas as well as in the UK.

4 years will pass quickly and it is up to you to make the most of your time at Stirling. We will provide the means and materials, the exhilaration and inspiration and you just need to enjoy the experience of learning about marine biology!

Where does the Aquaculture course lead? What are my job prospects?

The transferrable skills and expertise gained at Stirling makes our graduates are very employable. Actually 96% of Stirling graduates find jobs within 6 months of completing their degrees. Our students are sought after in relevant jobs, in areas such as:

Aquaculture development, aquaculture production, hatchery companies, fish farm companies, environmental impact assessment, environmental and conservation fields, pollution control, pharmaceutical companies, fisheries management and governmental regulatory departments.

In addition there is a wide range of more general graduate employment, such as biotechnological companies, bioinformatics, health and clinical sciences, forensic science and medical sales and marketing, science journalism and teaching.

There is also the option to gain further advanced post-graduate training to Masters and PhD levels for those wishing to develop specialist skills and to conduct a research career.

Of course it is important to consider your future career, but it is equally important to complete a degree in Aquaculture that will inspire you, exhilarate you, will make you think, will give you up-to-date transferable skills, will give you an advantage when the time comes to graduate and one that enables and will give you an all-round experience that you will never forget.

How much work will I be expected to do?

As a science student, quite a lot of your time (12-16 hours a week on average) will be organised by the Institute through a weekly timetable of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical classes. The actual number of hours depends on the content of specific modules. Much of your time will be self-managed - you will be reading, studying and completing assignments or projects.

This is a full time course and you should do well if you think in terms of a typical "working week" of about 6-8 hours a day.

Many students do support themselves with a part time job, but you will need to be well organised to make sure that this does not interfere with your studies.

What is a typical week on an Aquaculture course?

There is not really such a thing as a typical week in Stirling. You may be in lectures, you may be in the lab or carrying out fieldwork on the shore and each week the content varies. So there is always plenty of interesting work to occupy you.

The University operates a two-semester system and in each semester you will normally be studying 3 modules at a time, totalling 6 per year. Most modules consist of 3 lectures per week and typically a practical session every week or two. The structure varies according to the subject and practicals will be a mixture of laboratory and field-based work.

There are dedicated reading weeks mid-semester and before exams. As with any university course, there is the expectation of a large amount of independent study, which can be in your own home or our recently refurbished library and study space.

In your final year, you will complete a piece of research for which you will contribute to the experimental design and you will manage the time and effort required to complete this work. This is completed with the presentation of a report and an oral presentation to complete your degree programme and is equivalent to a triple module.

Outside these commitments, the campus and the city of Stirling offer many eating and drinking opportunities, time for socialising and developing as an individual. However, it's well worth looking at the opportunities on campus too, such as joining a course-relevant club or society - maybe the ever-popular diving club!

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