Aquatic Veterinary Studies

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma


Food from aquatic systems is essential for much of the world’s population – but wild catches are declining. Fortunately Aquaculture (farming of aquatic animals) is an alternative source of high quality nutrition and employment. Aquaculture has been very successful but diseases can be damaging. Aquaculture has over 40 years of experience in investigating and controlling fish and shrimp diseases worldwide, which it utilises to improve your problem-solving skills, equipping you to make a real contribution to the sustainability of aquaculture.


Key information

  • Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Trevor Telfer

Dr Trevor Telfer University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467921

View fees and finance

Course objectives

The course is specifically aimed at students with a veterinary science qualification with the object of giving training in the wide range of disciplines and skills necessary for the investigation, prevention and control of aquatic animal diseases. You will gain an understanding of the biology, husbandry and environment of farmed aquatic species, in addition to specialist expertise in aquatic animal diseases. It is also intended to prepare students who plan to pursue a PhD in the area of aquatic animal health or disease

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree or equivalent in Veterinary Medicine. 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 have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • 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

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.


2016/17 Overseas £17,350
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £16,600
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

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.

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

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Scholarships & funding

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.


Information on possible sources of funding

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

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. The overall course is divided into three parts:

Foundation modules
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.

Advanced modules
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.

Research Project module
The Research Project module is normally completed between April and August, and involves research in many areas of aquatic animal health. These projects 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 Veterinary Studies.


Delivery and assessment

The course is delivered through a variety of formats including lectures, practical classes, seminars, field visits and directed study. Assessment consists of a number of assignments in a range of formats. The Research Project is graded on activities undertaken during the project, the thesis and a presentation you make in front of your peers, supervisors and examiners. The dissertation is examined by internal and external examiners.


Foundation modules:

  • 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:

  • Aquaculture Diseases & Diagnosis (topics: Systemic Pathology & Histopathology, Parasitic Diseases, Microbial Diseases) (AQUPW1)
  • Aquaculture Disease Treatment (topics: Immunology, Epidemiology and Health Control, Ecotoxicology) (AQUPW2)

Research Project

Module information

Modes of study

Full-time or discontinuous study.

Study method


Why Stirling?


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 degree has been taught for almost 40 years and only one of its kind. It gives students the unique opportunity to study the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of aquatic animal diseases in cultured organisms in one of the top institutions of the world.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The course has run for almost 40 years and has trained over 200 students (in combination with Aquatic Pathobiology) from all over the world. It equips you with expertise applicable to a wide range of potential careers. 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 Pathobiology degree, about 30 percent of graduates have gone on to a PhD or further research, about 25 percent have taken employment as fish health consultants or veterinarians, 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.

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).

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