Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc

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What is special about this course?

This Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (EMJMD, ACES) offers specialised training to deliver highly skilled graduates capable of addressing the challenge of food provision for a growing world population. 

Food security is of global importance and, in the face of declining resources, aquaculture will have an increasingly demand for people with in-depth knowledge and practical expertise to enable this major industry to produce nutritious, high-quality and affordable foods.  Graduates will be capable of addressing these challenges and will have exciting international career opportunities.

The sustainable development of the aquaculture industry in Europe has become essential for improving the competitiveness of this sector internationally. There are many major scientific, technological and social obstacles, however to overcome.

Special features

  • The course is delivered by an international team of experts at world-class research facilities including Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI; University of Crete (Greece) and University of Nantes (France)
  • The course language will be English although students are encouraged to learn Greek and French
  • Associate institutes with world-class reputations are an integral part of this course and include the United Nations University - Institute of Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) and the Huinay Research Station, Chile
  • There are numerous international partners (including the International Oceanographic Commission, Sainsbury’s and Marine Harvest) offering dissertation placements with full industry participation
  • The course gives students an opportunity to study for 6 months in three European countries and an unparalleled insight into aquaculture practices and policies across Europe and beyond
  • You will gain research experience through a dissertation, linked to an industrial partner and hosted by an ACES partner, with supervision from experts in the field
  • You will benefit from strong peer-group support and networking developed throughout the programme as you move around the partners as one group during the first three semesters
  • A limited number of Erasmus+ Scholarships are available on a competitive basis for each intake to cover the tuition fees, living and travel expenses. Any student can apply for a scholarship and applications from EU and particularly non-EU candidates are welcome

Entry requirements

The EMJMD ACES programme is aimed at students from all over the world. Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in one of the fields of environmental or social sciences, as well as a good level of English (at least IELTS 6.5). Basic French is recommended (although not essential as intensive French language classes are provided) for daily living in Semester 2. Admission is granted on the basis of a competitive selection procedure.

The course is open to international students, who are able to study at SAMS-UHI under a "Short Term" study visa, which allows students to study for a period of 6 months in the UK before moving to the University of Crete.

Access routes





To achieve the award of Erasmus Mundas Joint Masters, you must successfully complete three modules (each worth 10 ECTS, equivalent to 20 SQCF) at each of the partner institutions and a research dissertation (30 ECTS or 60 SQCF).

Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI modules:

  • Overview of global aquaculture (core)
  • Environmental interactions of aquaculture (core)
  • Governanance, management and knowledge exchange (optional)
  • Innovation, technology and systems (optional)

University of Crete modules:

  • Managing biological lifecycles - finfish (core)
  • Sustainability of feed production (core)
  • Fish quality and welfare (optional)
  • Environmental impacts for aquaculture projects (optional)

University of Nantes modules:

  • Managing biological lifecycles - shellfish (core)
  • Marine product safety (core)
  • Refinement and development of marine natural products (optional)
  • Food composition, trophic transfer and human nutrition (optional)

You must also complete a dissertation module:

  • Students are able to decide on their host institute for this module

Successful candidates receive an Erasmus Mundus+ Joint Master Degree from the University of the Highlands and Islands, the University of Crete and  the University of Nantes.


How will I study my course?

Full Time

You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), delivered by world-class researchers and guest lecturers from academia, business and industry.

How long will my course last?

Full-time: 2 years


Where can I study my course?

Start date



For information on costs of this course please contact the college at which you wish to study.



A limited number of Erasmus+ Scholarships are available on a competitive basis for each intake to cover the tuition fees, living and travel expenses. Any student can apply for a scholarship and applications from EU and particularly non-EU candidates are welcome. 


What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion, you will emerge with detailed knowledge of world aquaculture and the experience and confidence to operate in this global sector.

Employment opportunities in a world aquaculture market for ACES Master graduates include:

  • The aquaculture, including technology, and related commercial sectors
  • Policy makers and management roles related to the aquaculture industry
  • Food security and human nutrition sectors
  • Research / academia

You may also wish to progress to a PhD research programme to further your area of specialism.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc

If you are interested in applying for the ACES Erasmus + Joint Master Degree, then please download the application forms from the ACES website

International applicants should apply using the UHI International application form. Please download and print the form, complete and return using the address indicated. More information is available for international applicants at our international student page

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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