Coronavirus information and guidance

Sustainable Aquaculture – distance learning (PGDip/MSc) 2021 entry

The PGDip/MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture offers a range of part-time, e-learning, postgraduate-level modules which aim to develop students' critical understanding of the development and principles of aquaculture.

Sustainable Aquaculture is also offered as a Postgraduate Certificate degree programme and as a modular course (in which you can take modules individually).

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

The following course dates are for those planning to complete the PGDip or MSc in the minimum time required. 

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 March 2023 (PGDip) or 30 September 2023 (MSc)

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

Minimum 18 months part time, maximum four years part time (PGDip); minimum two years part time, maximum five years part time (MSc)

Entry requirements

  • A 2.1 undergraduate Honours degree in a relevant biological science. Entry will also be offered following successful completion of the Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture in conjunction with additional evidence of relevant professional experiential learning. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

MSc: £24,240
Postgraduate diploma: £16,160

Application deadline

Wednesday 11 August 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
  • covering letter or letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The Sustainable Aquaculture distance learning programme is taught part time via an online e-learning platform offering online tutorial support, direct email contact with tutors, video streams and access to student bulletin boards. This structure allows students the maximum flexibility to complete their studies while continuing in their employment.

Teaching format

Both PGDip and MSc students take taught modules covering all aspects of aquaculture - both vertebrate and invertebrate species - over an 18-month period. MSc students then spend the next six months researching and writing a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words to be submitted on a specified date at the end of the course.

Classes are taught through a combination of weekly lectures and tutorials and are assessed through a combination of written examinations and coursework. The course consists of a series of compulsory core modules and a choice of five optional modules matched to students’ specific interests.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

  • Aquaculture and Fisheries: the global importance of aquaculture and fisheries industries worldwide.
  • Biology for Aquaculture: the fundamental biology, anatomy and physiology of both invertebrate and vertebrate aquaculture species. 
  • Health and Disease: the factors that influence disease processes in cultured fish and invertebrates. 
  • Local and Global Impacts of Aquaculture: the environmental impact of aquaculture practices on both local and global scales.
  • Management, Husbandry and Sustainability: production management and business management of modern aquaculture practices.
  • Markets, Products, Processing and Food Safety: advanced knowledge of aquaculture markets, products, processing and food safety.
  • Nutrition for Aquaculture: the anatomy, physiology and nutritional requirements of key fish and invertebrate species.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).

Optional modules in the past have included:

  • Advanced Welfare and Ethics
  • Breeding and Genetics
  • Larval Rearing
  • Ornamental and Aquaria Production
  • Recirculation Aquaculture Systems.

Students on the MSc programme complete a 15,000-word dissertation at the end of their studies. The dissertation involves the study of a defined problem within the field of sustainable aquaculture. Students are required to collate and analyse data and to discuss their results in the light of existing literature. In some cases, projects might also involve designing experiments or gathering data. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing the exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the taught portion of the programme and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

After the PGDip/MSc

Research degrees

Graduates may continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews. PhD students at the School of Biology at St Andrews have the opportunity to undertake a research degree in their chosen subject area where research interests span the breadth of biological science.

PhD in Biology


Graduates will typically pursue a career in higher level management, research and development or business development within the global aquaculture business.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"I have a full-time job, besides studying on this distance learning course, but I believe this time spent in broadening my field of knowledge will be beneficial for my career."

- 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands


School of Biology
University of St Andrews
Biomolecular Sciences Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3441

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Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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