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MSc Sustainable Aquaculture

Explore the principles of sustainable aquaculture and the key factors influencing the viability of aquatic animal farming and food production systems.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months
  • Mode of study Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Study at the world-renowned Institute of Aquaculture – a leading international centre in sustainable seafood production and the largest of its kind in the world. The Institute brings together world-class, cross-disciplinary researchers to address a wide range of global challenges facing industry and society.

Our Masters in Sustainable Aquaculture explores the principles of aquaculture and the key factors influencing the viability of aquatic animal farming and food production systems. You’ll develop an understanding of aquatic animal biology, environmental issues, nutrition, reproduction and genetics, disease and health management.

With practical application at the core of your studies, you can choose to focus on specific aspects of sustainable aquaculture, including:

  • advanced broodstock management
  • aquaculture policy and planning
  • livelihood analysis
  • environmental management and biodiversity
  • feed formulation and resources
  • aquatic animal health control
  • epidemiology
  • ecotoxicology

You can also explore the commercial business of sustainable aquaculture, with optional modules covering marketing, business studies and economics. You’ll learn the skills necessary to establish, manage and appraise aquaculture enterprises and development projects from within the industry or public sector.

 
A flexible course

This course is highly modular, and has been designed to offer considerable flexibility for learning while maintaining a high standard of training. This structure lets you make more subject choices which will benefit your future career.

There are 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 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 Aquatic Food Security

The course is also available on a block-release basis (by selecting individual or a series of modules) over a period not exceeding five academic years.

I chose to study at the University of Stirling because it is one of the best universities in the world. The Faculty members are highly experienced and the employability rate of the graduates from the Aquaculture courses, is exceptionally high. The lecturers always try to help solve our problems with a smiling face. The campus is spectacular. Staff members are extremely helpful and I feel this place is like my second home.

Riddhiman Saha, MSc Sustainable Aquaculture

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Find out more about our MSc courses in aquaculture, as well as life at Stirling. Watch our webinar >>

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    The Institute of Aquaculture 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 on improving the efficiency of utilising natural resources. You’ll have the unique opportunity to be associated with these activities and get an insight into all aspects of aquaculture sciences and development worldwide.

    Our students

    Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. Many have first degrees in natural sciences; others have qualifications in agriculture, engineering, business and finance or information technology. Many have some prior work experience and we welcome more mature applicants looking for a step-change in their career. The diversity and experience of students on the programme contributes substantially to everyone's learning and ensures the programme is relevant to, and connected with, the global aquaculture industry.

    Our MSc Aquaculture courses are also very International. In 2016-17 there were 42 MSc students across our courses from around 25 different countries. This involved students from Europe, the Near/Middle East, Africa, Asia, The Americas and Australasia.

  • Study abroad

    The MSc Sustainable Aquaculture involves a research project lasting approximately three months. This can be carried out in Stirling, or with partner organisations in Scotland and other countries. In recent years, student projects have been hosted in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, USA and New Zealand.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Faculty facilities

    The Institute of Aquaculture aims to provide the highest standard of facilities in an ever-changing commercial, academic and regulatory environment. We have freshwater sites in Central Scotland, tropical and temperate freshwater recirculation systems in Stirling and marine facilities in the West of Scotland.

    The Institute provides analytical laboratories in all the key priority research areas, including:

    • Genomic, molecular and bioinformatics
    • Microbiology and Immunology
    • Imaging facilities
    • Nutritional analytical services
    • Water quality services
  • Research
    • Top 5 in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Sciences (REF2014)

    With more than 80 percent of our research rated either world-leading or internationally excellent, students benefit from our focus on research-led teaching in key areas such as Sustainable Aquaculture, Health, Breeding and Genetics, Welfare and Behaviour, and Nutrition. The Institute of Aquaculture was graded the top Aquaculture department in the UK.

  • Academic requirements

    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 have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 with minimum of 162 in each skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 with minimum 162 in each skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    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.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

The full Masters course for each degree outcome is divided into six taught modules, and a single research project module. The overall course is divided into three parts:


Foundation modules (September to November)

There are two compulsory modules taken consecutively, which give a broad introduction to aquaculture science and practice. The first focuses of aquaculture species, systems and environments and their interaction whilst the second considers aquaculture as a commercial activity, its governance and insights into aquaculture in practice. Successful completion of the foundation modules plus one advanced module will qualify you for a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture.

Advanced modules (November to March)

You must choose four advanced modules from nine offered. As these are sequential, there is a choice of two or three modules for each of the four timetable blocks. Successful completion of the two foundation modules plus four advanced modules, will qualify you for a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture.

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 you for an MSc in a selected degree outcome.

 

Modules

The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    A variety of teaching approaches is 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. 

  • Fieldwork

    There will be a number of field exercises throughout the course. Some trips may involve several nights away from Stirling.

  • Assessment

    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 a written dissertation, a press release and seminar presentation which is delivered to peers, supervisors and the external examiner.

  • Classroom hours

    The Sustainable Aquaculture course involves intensive teaching and study. A standard day involves lectures, practicals, tutorials or group work between 9.30am and 4.30pm, with assignments taking additional time in evenings or weekends. There are sometimes field trips which may start earlier or return later or involve several nights away from Stirling. 

  • Course director
  • Key staff

    Teaching on the Sustainable Aquaculture postgraduate course draws on the wide range of expertise available within the Institute of Aquaculture. Module and topic leaders include:

    Ask an expert

    Professor Herve Migaud

    Professor Migaud, Director of the Institute of Aquaculture, talks in more depth about the science of aquaculture and the benefits of studying at Stirling.

    Ask an expert in aquaculture

  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)

      2020/21

    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £8,500

    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £20,750

    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding
    University of Stirling Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

    The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study. Find out more about the Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

This course has run for over 30 years and we’ve trained over 700 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 the industry, including production, the supply sector (feed, health, equipment and systems), or post-harvest (processing and marketing).

The course is also 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.

  • Our career services is 1st in Scotland, top 5 in the UK and top 15 in the world (UK International Student Barometer (ISB) Benchmark and Global ISB Benchmark 2018)
  • Employability skills

    We have designed our postgraduate taught courses so that, in addition to learning about your specialist discipline, you’ll 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’ll develop capabilities in the following areas:

    Academic

    • Researching information
    • Information retrieval
    • Evaluative and analytical skills
    • Problem solving
    • Experimental design and statistics
    • Computing modelling

    Communication skills

    • 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
  • Companies we work with

    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.

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