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Postgraduate Certificate Sustainable Aquaculture (Vertebrates)

General information

Postgraduate Certificate
Postgraduate Certificate Sustainable Aquaculture (Vertebrates)
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
PG Certificate (Science Faculty)
Sustainable Aquaculture (Vertebrates)
School of Biology
Faculty of Science
24 months (2 years)
See the School of Biology website at

For further details about this programme contact
For general QAA information on academic infrastructure see

For subject specific benchmarking see: (Biology)

Educational aims

This programme will involve study of Sustainable Aquaculture (Vertebrates) at an advanced, research-led level in which students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is created, advanced and renewed. The programme will encourage in all students a desire to pursue independent learning with curiosity, integrity, accuracy and intellectual rigour.

Programme structure

This is a 24-month programme of study leading to the degree of Postgraduate Certificate. As with all St Andrews programmes, it is made up of credit bearing modules. Students must earn 60 credits over the duration of the programme, with 120 credits normally earned each academic year. Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum.

For information about core and optional modules for each programme, please consult the Programme Requirements, which can be found at

These requirements describe the detailed structure of the course and link to the contents of all the modules that can be included in the programme. Teaching, learning and assessment are progressive, with both the content and methods of delivery changing to suit the increasing level of complexity in the material, and independence of students, as they work through the programme.

Distinctive features

Learning framework
• All modules in the programme will only be available by e-learning for distance learning students.
• Course material will be written by acknowledged world experts in the area.
• The Postgraduate Certificate course may be taken over a period of 6-12 months. Students may engage as effectively full-time students, completing the Postgraduate Certificate in 6 month, or part-time taking the Postgraduate Certificate normally over 12 months.

The programme will be delivered through e-learning. Course text material will be commissioned from and produced by discipline and professional experts arranged by 5m Publishing, and will be made available to registered students through the Online tutorial support, direct e-mail contact with tutors, video streams, and access to student bulletin boards will be features of the e-learning strategies used. The learning platform will be provided by 5m Publishing. Students will be referred to supplementary reading material which will be accessible either through the Internet or through St Andrews University Library online electronic resources or other electronic resources.

Course management
1. Both the Course Director and Deputy Director are members of the academic staff of the School of Biology, and will provide academic and administrative direction to the course.
2. All authors, module leaders and tutors will be required to become Honorary lecturers/professors within the School of Biology.
3. Each module is under the direction of a module leader appointed by 5M Publishing and approved by the Course Director.
4. Each module leader will be assisted by a module tutor, who will conduct on-line tutorials, be available for student consultation, and assist in assessment and other relevant issues.
5. A Steering Committee will be appointed consisting of the Course Director, Deputy Director and a Programme Manager (appointed by 5m Publishing who will have responsibility for developing and maintaining the e-learning platform) and another relevant 5m Publishing employee. Normally the steering committee will meet twice per year and ensure the smooth running of the courses although meetings may be more frequent during the initial start up phases of each stage of the programme.
5. A Course Committee, consisting of the Course Director (Chair), Deputy Director, Module leaders and module tutors will constitute an overall management group for the programme, and will meet at least once per academic year.

Programme outcomes/graduate attributes

In the course of this programme students will develop programme-specific skills. On completing the programme students should be able to demonstrate the graduate attributes outlined below.

Demonstrate original thought
Construct a coherent argument or debate by demonstrating logical processing of (complex) information and deductive reasoning
Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to solve complex problems
Test hypotheses, theories, methods and evidence within their proper contexts
Reason from the particular to the general
Identify relevant techniques and concepts to solve advanced and complex problems
Demonstrate use of an appropriate range of resources to the task at hand
Evaluate relevant best practices for the task at hand
Engage directly with current research, developments and skills in the discipline
Engage with primary and secondary material and differentiate between them
Demonstrate active learning
Demonstrate reflective learning, including the ability to engage with and learn from feedback
Demonstrate creativity and curiosity
Demonstrate independence of thought and reasoning
Demonstrate skills in time management, self-discipline and self-motivation
Demonstrate skills in close textual and comparative analysis
Demonstrate skills in close analysis of visual material
Demonstrate advanced IT skills
Demonstrate quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis
Demonstrate expertise in the use of statistical software packages for recording, manipulation and analysis of data
Convey statistical results and methods in a manner understandable to the lay-person via written or oral reports
Work independently
Work as part of a team
Communicate with clarity and accuracy, orally (including presentation) and in writing
Engage with the views and opinions of others
Present work and findings in a professional manner, with attention to detail
Learn and use research skills

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

a) Teaching and learning delivery

Students will engage with independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning. The strategy is to use methods of teaching and assessment that will facilitate learning appropriate to the aims of the degree programme. The following methods will be employed where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Small group discussions / tutorials
Problem solving workshops
Autonomous learning groups
Independent study activities (supervised and unsupervised)
Laboratory based teaching and problem solving
Computer based teaching and analysis
Field Trips
One-to-one discussions / supervision
Project work
Practical work
Practice exercises
Larger group discussions / seminars
Technology enhanced learning
Group work
Reflective practice

b) Material submitted for assessment

Assessment can be a blend of diagnostic work to determine student needs, formative work submitted for assessment and feedback (but not necessarily for academic credit) or summative work submitted for academic credit.

Dissertations / projects
Class tests
Unseen written examinations
Oral examinations
Literature reviews
Portfolio of independent work
Technology enhanced assessments
Lab reports
Group assignments
Problem solving exercises

c) Learning and teaching support

Students' scholarship skills (in, for example, academic writing, information gathering and academic conduct) will be supported and developed through this programme. The following will be available, where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Handouts / handbooks
Web based and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) resources
Library support and resources
Reading lists
Training in Good Academic Practice
Office hours and staff availability
Access to computer classrooms
IT services support
Student services support (available on application. Individual support will be available for students with disabilities registered with the University)
Study skills support (CAPOD) (available on application)
Mathematics and statistics support (available on application)
Student representation
Free WiFi