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Food from aquatic systems is essential for much of the world’s population. However, with wild catches of seafood declining in many places, aquaculture is playing an increasing role as an alternative source of high-quality, nutritious food - and as an employer. Controlling disease is important to the ongoing success of this industry.

This Masters in Aquatic Veterinary Studies provides you with training in the wide range of disciplines and skills you need for the investigation, prevention and control of aquatic animal diseases. You’ll develop an understanding of the biology, husbandry and environment of farmed aquatic species, as well as specialist expertise in aquatic animal diseases.

You’ll study at the Institute of Aquaculture, one of the top institutions in this field. It’s internationally recognised for both research and teaching and has more than 70 staff and 80 postgraduate students. 

The Institute has over 40 years of experience in investigating and controlling fish and shrimp diseases worldwide, which it uses to improve your problem-solving skills, ultimately equipping you to make a real contribution to the sustainability of aquaculture.

The course can also be seen as preparation for anyone who plans to undertake a PhD in the area of aquatic animal health or disease.

Our students

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds and many different countries. Some may have prior experience in general veterinary practice; others already have some experience in fish health laboratories.

Intercalating opportunities for veterinary students

Intercalation gives you the opportunity to take 12 months off of your undergraduate studies to specialise on a subject by undertaking another degree such as a Masters course. Our MSc Aquatic Veterinary Studies is available to all students considering this option. This is a great opportunity as you will gain an additional degree for only one year of study. It offers greater career prospects, and provides you with a specialisation on aquatic veterinary.

After the completion of the Masters, you can return to finish your undergraduate course.

Course details

The full Masters 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 six compulsory topics of study within three taught modules, taken consecutively, giving instruction in basic aquaculture concepts and skills. Successful completion of all of the Foundation modules will qualify you for a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture.

Advanced modules (January to April)

There are three advanced modules consisting of six compulsory topics of study. Successful completion of the advanced modules, following the Foundation modules, will qualify you for a Postgraduate Diploma in Aquatic Pathobiology.

Research Project module (April to August)

The Research Project module involves research in many areas of aquatic animal health. These projects are mostly laboratory based and often result in peer-reviewed publications. Successful completion of the module, following the foundation and advanced modules, will qualify you for an MSc Aquatic Veterinary Studies.

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


With more than 80 percent of our research rated either world-leading or internationally excellent by REF 2014, 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.

After you graduate

This course has run for almost 40 years and we’ve trained over 200 students (in combination with Aquatic Pathobiology) from all over the world. As a graduate, your expertise will be relevant to a wide range of potential careers in aquatic animal health. Your selected career path will depend on your personal interests, as well as your previous experiences. Graduates have gone on to work as aquatic health consultants, with government fisheries departments, and as managers of seafood farms and aquaria.

The course provides training for those who wish to pursue a PhD, especially in aquaculture, aquatic health, fisheries and aquatic resources management.

In combination with the Aquatic Veterinary Studies degree these are the destinations of our graduates over the last five years:

  1. About 30 percent have gone on to a PhD or further research
  2. Around 20 percent work in government fisheries departments
  3. About 15 percent are university lecturers
  4. The remainder are managers of farms or aquaria or have other similar types of employment

Visit the Aquatic Veterinary Studies MSc page on the University of Stirling website for more details!





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