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
- Environmental Management
- Aquaculture Systems and International Development
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.
The course 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.
Students will be able to appraise aquaculture operations and contribute to management decision making. The student will have the skills necessary to establish, manage and appraise aquaculture enterprises and development projects from within the industry or public sector.
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.
English 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).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
Modes of study
A variety of teaching approaches are used in the course. In addition to lectures, workshops, seminars, case studies, field and laboratory exercises, a number of minor projects are assigned throughout the course. These are an integral part of the teaching and will involve the students working alone or in groups. These projects may require a written outcome or a presentation to peers and other staff and students
Course start date
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.
Structure and content
The MSc course at the Institute of Aquaculture 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:
- Master of Science/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture
- Master of Science/Postgraduate Diploma in Aquaculture and the Environment
- Master of Science/Postgraduate Diploma in Aquaculture Business Management
- Master of Science/Postgraduate Diploma in Aquaculture and Development
- Master of Science/Postgraduate Diploma 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. The overall course is divided into three parts:
Foundation modules (September to December)
There are two compulsory modules consisting of six topics of study, 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. Students select a particular named degree outcome at the end of the foundation modules. Topics of study within the advanced modules are then chosen appropriately.
Advanced modules (January to April)
You must choose two advanced modules which cover six from 18 topics of study offered (choices are dependent on the final degree outcome to be awarded). Successful completion of the advanced modules, subsequent to the foundation modules, will qualify the student for a Postgraduate Diploma in a selected named degree outcome.
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.
Delivery and assessment
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.
- Principles of Aquaculture (topics: Aquatic Animal Biology and Health, Aquatic Animals in the Environment, Aquatic Animal Nutrition and Food Safety) (AQUPX1)
- Aquaculture Production (topics: Aquatic Animal Reproduction & Genetics, Aquatic Production Systems, Aquaculture in Practice) (AQUPX2)
Advanced modules (choose two from five):
- Aquatic Environmental Resources (topics: Environmental Management, GIS and Remote Sensing, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development) (AQUPY1)
- Animal Health & Breeding (topics: Broodstock Management & Genetics, Epidemiology & Health Control, Ecotoxicology) (AQUPY2)
- Advanced Aquaculture Production (topics: Aquaculture Engineering, Practical Feed Production, Non-fish Aquaculture) (AQUPY3)
- Aquaculture Development (topics: Policy, Planning & Management, Livelihoods & Aquatic Resources Management, Business & Financial Management) (AQUPY4)
- Aquaculture Biotechonology I (AQUPY5)
Research Project module
View module information
Dr Trevor Telfer
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Institute of Aquaculture, with a rating of 2.45 in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), was graded the top aquaculture department in the UK.
The Institute has been closely associated with the global expansion of aquaculture initially through developing and improving the existing production systems and the development of new farmed species. In recent years our research has focused on increasing the sustainability and security of aquaculture development and practice, and improving the efficiency of utilising natural resources.
This gives out students the unique opportunity to be associated with these activities and obtain an insight into all aspects of aquacultural sciences and development worldwide.
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:
- researching information
- information retrieval
- evaluative and analytical skills
- problem solving
- experimental design and statistics
- computing modelling
- oral presentation skills
- scientific and business report writing
- presentation of reports and research findings
- writing for a range of readers
- dealing with people, interviews
- teamwork, group-work, leadership
Personal management skills:
- time management
- organisation, planning and prioritisation
- working under pressure
- working to deadlines
The majority of our MSc research projects are developed in association with industry and are aimed at solving problems for the aquaculture industry. We also have an informal internship programme with industry, which will involve suitable students in real commercial projects. In the past these have included: development projects in Thailand and Vietnam, investigating carrying capacity for Indonesian aquaculture, and working with aqua-treatments within the pharmaceutical industry.
We work closely with the aquaculture industry in more than 20 countries, including every major company in Scotland, giving many of our students an opportunity to carry out industry-based research projects. During the course there are visits to various companies. Lectures and workshops in a number of modules are given by aquaculture professionals from Scotland.
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
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.
This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS. More information
Further information on possible sources of funding available here.