MSc Aquaculture: Sustainable Aquaculture


Program Description

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 a 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.

Top reasons to study with us

  1. Our flexible course lets you make more subject choices which will benefit your future career.
  2. You’ll study at the Institute of Aquaculture, a leading international centre in sustainable seafood production.
  3. We work closely with the aquaculture industry in more than 20 countries.

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 contribute 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.

Course details

The full Master's course for each degree outcome is divided into six taught modules, containing 12 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 three compulsory modules consisting of six topics of study, taken consecutively, giving instruction in basic aquaculture concepts and skills. Successful completion of all 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 three advanced modules which cover six from 12 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 you 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 the foundation and advanced modules, will qualify you for an MSc in a selected degree outcome.


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.


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


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 9.30 am and 4.30 pm, 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

John Bostock
+44 (0) 1786 466575

Fees - 2020/2021

  • Overseas: £20,750
  • Home/EU: £8,500
Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society.

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society. Read less