Study aquaculture and graduate with a university degree

This innovative course, will train you in all subjects appropriate to global aquaculture. Aquaculture - or aquatic agriculture - is much more than ‘fish farming’ and includes culture of species such as prawns, shrimps, mussels, oysters, crocodiles, turtles and algae. Aquaculture already produces more than half of all of the fish consumed globally.

The Institute of Aquaculture is the largest multi-disciplinary aquaculture department in the world, with 110 staff and 120 postgraduate students, and has a practical involvement in industry through its own fish farms, marine station and many commercial activities. There are especially strong links with research and development organisations worldwide.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

Essential subjects:
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Essential subjects:
To include Biology and one of Environmental Science, Geography or Geology.

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with HND in a Science based subject. For information on accepted courses please consult our Advanced Entry

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), Intermediate 2 (C), GCSE (C) or equivalent.
If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those students who do not meet the required criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Science, Computing and Engineering to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Course contact

Dr Darren Green University of Stirling
Scotland, UK
+ 44 (0) 1786 467872

Course Director

Dr Darren Green

Find out more

Degree course

Semesters 1-3 cover core modules:

  • Our Blue Planet
  • Our Thirsty Planet
  • Evolution and Genetics

During semesters 4-5, Honours students take 11 core modules, including: 

  • Science of Diving
  • Biodiversity
  • Animal Physiology

Together with specialised modules in Aquaculture (covering nutrition, disease, genetics and reproduction etc) and an Aquaculture Field Course.

Aquaculture is not available as a combined honours degree, however, it shares a common foundation with the degree course in Marine Biology, so the option to take a degree in Marine Biology is retained until the end of Semester 5.

Module titles

Teaching and assessment

The Aquaculture degree at Stirling is taught by one of the largest groupings of aquatic scientists in the world and shares a common foundation with the degree course in Marine Biology. Teaching is delivered through formal lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning, fieldwork and guided reading and research. Each semester module is assessed by a combination of coursework (usually 50 percent) and written examination.

Final degree classification is derived from your performance in Semesters 5 – 8 and does not involve a large final examination. Scuba diving, although not a compulsory part of the course , is available both through the University’s Sub-Aqua Club and an option to gain an HSE Professional SCUBA diving qualification, or a PADI sports diving qualification, through articulation with a professional diving company.

In addition to day visits to nearby facilities, you will take part in a residential field course in which you will study aquaculture in practice. An independent research project is a major component of the final year and is often carried out in association with external bodies. Staff involved in the Aquaculture course have considerable overseas research experience, contacts and current projects. Overseas projects in Semester 8 are encouraged and past projects have been located throughout Europe, North and South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, Oceania and Australasia.

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

  Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
1100   AQU5AR AQU5AR(P)   BIO5MI(P)
1300   BIO5AP      
1500   BIO5AP      
1600   BIO5AP      

Combined degrees

Aquaculture is not available as a combined degree. However, the option to take a degree in Marine Biology is retained until mid-way through Year 3.

The Institute of Aquaculture is uniquely placed in its field and there are no other Aquaculture Honours degree courses in the UK underpinned by the wealth of expertise and resources offered by this course at the University of Stirling. We also allow movement between this course and the Marine Biology stream until mid-way through the Year 3.

Study abroad

An exchange course is available to Aquaculture students in Year 3. The partners include the Universities of Uppsala and Stockholm in Sweden and various institutions in the USA. Semester 8 projects frequently take place overseas, often in conjunction with our international research and development activities.


Teaching provision in Aquaculture has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as 'highly satisfactory'. The Institute of Aquaculture was ranked top in Aquaculture with 90 percent of the research output rated as 'internationally recognised' in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).


The Institute of Aquaculture is the leading international centre in its field and is the largest of its kind in the world. With an excellent outcome in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, we bring together cross-disciplinary, world class researchers to meet the wide range of challenges faced as aquaculture grows to meet global demands.

We have built up a first class international reputation in teaching, research, contract research and consultancy, with an annual operating budget of almost £5 million. Our core-funded is from SHEFC via the University and we also receive substantial research and project funding from Research Councils, UK Government departments (Department for International Development, Department for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsDEFRA), the European Community and from a wide variety of national and international research organisations, foundations and trusts and industry.

We have links with many other academic institutions, throughout Europe, and also with the Asian Institute of Technology and the Aquatic Animal Health Research Institute (Thailand), the National Agricultural University, Mymensingh (Bangladesh), the College of Fisheries, Mangalore (India), the Universidad Michocana, Morelia (Mexico) and Myazaki University (Japan). We have had considerable, direct involvement with the industry during its rapid expansion and we provide disease and environmental management services to industry as well as project design, development and management through Stirling Aquaculture for which we received the Queens Award for Industry in 1990.

Academic Strengths

Research focuses on fundamental questions relating to strategies for sustainable aquaculture, whether in modern commercial markets or in feeding poor communities in developing countries. Fundamental research on environments, reproduction, genetics, aquatic health, nutrition and feed supplies, on production systems, on markets, and on social and economic impacts all play significant roles. We have grown steadily over the last 35 years to our present size of more than 110 staff and 120 postgraduate students.

94% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2012/13).

Career opportunities

A graduate, you will be well equipped to enter the expanding field of aquaculture or to work with related fish-farm, pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies.  Potential roles include pollution control, environmental impact assessment, fisheries management, governmental regulation, and conservation.  There are also opportunities in more general employment areas, such as bioinformatics, health and clinical sciences, forensic sciences, medical sales and marketing, science journalism, and teaching.

There is also the option to gain further advanced postgraduate training to Masters and PhD levels for those wishing to develop specialist skills or to pursue a research career.

Fees Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Science 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,760.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Fees Bachelor of Science Aquaculture 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,760.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Science 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,425.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Fees Bachelor of Science Aquaculture 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,425.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

  • Degree award BSc (Hons)
  • UCAS Code C163; C164
  • Type Campus based, Full-time
  • Start date September
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