Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc

Course code D435

What is special about this course?

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society Plus (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 increasing 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, however, many major scientific, technological and social obstacles 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); University of Nantes (France); and Radboud University (the Netherlands)
  • 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
  • Altogether we have 21 international Associate Partners supporting the course. These include the International Oceanographic Commission, Sainsbury’s and Marine Harvest, and they offer dissertation placements with full industry participation
  • The course gives students an opportunity to study for 6 months in three European countries and offers 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 scholarships are available on a competitive basis. 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 day to day 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 with a standard visitor 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 Erasmus Mundas Joint Masters degree, 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 (Semester 1 - first September):

  • 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 (Semester 2):

  • Managing lifecycles in captivity: finfish biology, nutrition, reproduction and rearing (core)
  • Fish welfare and diseases management (core)
  • Fish quality – environmental and genetic components (optional)
  • Environmental impacts for aquaculture projects (optional)

University of Nantes modules (Semester 3 - second September):

  • Shellfish lifecycle (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 (Semester 4):

  • You may choose to study this module at SAMS, the University of Crete, the University of Nantes or Radboud University

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

We are continually reviewing the delivery of the programme for 2021-22 with the consortium partners and will provide updates regarding any changes as soon as they are available, please check for updates on the ACES website.
  • Full-time
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials, as well as online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE). The course is 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?

  • Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI

Start date

  • September 


Please note fees are in Euros and will be charged based on the current exchange rate.

Students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) €2500 per annum (€5000 for the full programme) €2500 per annum (€5000 for the full programme)
Students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK €2500 per annum (€5000 for the full programme) €2500 per annum (€5000 for the full programme)
International students €5000 per annum (€10000 for the full programme) €5000 per annum (€10000 for the full programme)



Erasmus Mundus Scholarships are available for this programme, which cover tuition fees and provide installation, travel and monthly subsistence funding.

Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre scholarships are available to cover tuition fees.

Please see website – for full details.

Additional costs

Additional costs will include: clothing (lab coats); relocation costs between Host Partners (approximately £150); and travel insurance costs.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of the programme you will receive an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Crete, and a degree from the University of Nantes. In addition to these qualifications, you will also receive a diploma supplement. You will emerge with detailed knowledge of the global aquaculture industry and with the benefit of practical work experience 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.

For more information, please visit the careers and employability page at:

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Apply for Aquaculture, Environment and Society MSc

If you are interested in applying for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters degree, then please download the application forms from the ACES website

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate 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.