The Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling has a global reputation as a leading international centre of expertise for aquaculture research and education, as such it attracts postgraduate students from all around the world. The Institute brings together world-class researchers from a variety of disciplines to address the challenges faced as aquaculture grows to meet global demand. Research focuses on critical questions, such as how to develop strategies for sustainable aquaculture and aquatic food security for both rural and urban communities in the contexts of advancing technology, globalising trade and uneven economic development. Core areas of research cover breeding, genetic selection and genomics, health and welfare nutrition, production systems, environments, markets, and social and economic impacts in aquatic animals. The Institute has grown steadily since its formation in 1971 and now has over 180 staff and postgraduate students and an annual operating budget of approximately £10 million. The Institute is located on one of the most scenic and inspiring campuses in Europe, set in 300 acres at the foot of the Ochil Hills. In addition to extensive on-campus facilities, the Institute has separate off-site large-scale freshwater and marine research systems on the west coast of Scotland, and collaborates extensively with most other research organisations in the UK, Europe, and globally.
There are around 90 postgraduate students at any time coming from all over the world, divided approximately equally between one-year taught Masters programmes and four-years research-based Doctoral studies; creating a vibrant and multicultural environment. The Institute also runs undergraduate programmes in Aquaculture and Marine Biology and offers short continuing professional development courses for people wishing to extend their knowledge in specialist areas.
Studying aquaculture at the University of Stirling can be challenging, but also great fun as programmes are intensive and engaging with plenty of collaborative exercises that help consolidate knowledge, build confidence and foster interpersonal and communication skills that are highly valued by employers. The aim is to help all students to realise their full potential and ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and expertise need to succeed in their chosen career path. As a University, Stirling is positioned 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for graduate employability, with 97% of students in work or further study within six months of graduating. Throughout the taught programmes there are many opportunities to visit the local industry and meet professionals involved in a wide range of commercial and regulatory roles. Many MSc students undertake their 3-month research project either with or in partnership with an aquaculture leading sector company; sometimes overseas.
Taught programmes include an MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture, which aims to give a broad introduction to the principles of aquaculture and what drives the viability of aquatic production systems, including environment, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, disease, engineering and economics; MSc programmes in Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Aquatic Pathobiology with the former specifically aimed at students with a veterinary science qualification and the latter for those with other biological backgrounds who are looking to develop specialist expertise in aquatic animal diseases.