BSc (Hons)


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 100 staff and 110 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.

Key information

  • UCAS: C163; C164
  • Degree type: BSc (Hons)
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Darren Green
  • School: School of Natural Sciences

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

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What makes us different?

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.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Entry requirements

Academic 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), National 5 (B), 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 international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language 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 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

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Semesters 1-3

During Year 1 and half of Year 2 (Semesters 1-3) you will take core modules such as:

  • Our Blue Planet
  • Our Thirsty Planet
  • Introduction to Aquatic Environments
  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Physiology
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Practical Science Skills

Semesters 4-8

Honours students take the following core modules:

  • Science of Diving
  • Managing Living Aquatic Resources
  • Advanced Marine Biology
  • Biodiversity
  • Microbiology
  • Animal Physiology
  • Statistacal Techniques
  • Aquaculture
  • Aquaculture Field Course
  • Aquaculture General Exam
  • Aquaculture Project (Final Year)

Specialised half modules in:

  • Aquaculture Nutrition
  • Aquaculture Production Environments
  • Aquatic Diseases
  • Aquaculture Genetics and Reproduction

Delivery 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 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.


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Combined degrees

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

Related degrees

Marine Biology

Modes of study

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

Find out more

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      

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.


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).

Study abroad opportunities

Year 3 students can benefit from an exchange programme with various institutions across the world including Australia, Canada, and the USA.  In Semester 8, projects frequently take place overseas, often in conjunction with our international research and development activities. 


Students benefit from their close association with a strongly research-led department, particularly in the move advanced and project modules. 

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 (DFID), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)), the European Union 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

Our 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.

Careers and employability

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.

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

Scholarships & funding

information on possible sources of funding

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