The Master of Science of Aquaculture is a two-year programme at an university level on the most important aspects of aquaculture for both marine and freshwater organisms. In the first semester, basic knowledge such as biology, physiology, microbiology, statistics, informatics are broadened and/or refreshed. The second semester of the first year focuses on specific aspects in aquaculture such as larviculture and larval food production, fish and shellfish production techniques, algae culture and farm management training.
The whole first semester of the second year students follow specialised courses on diseases, genetics and management at Ghent University. During the second year, the student can specialise in a particular field of aquaculture by following a 15 credits Major in Aquaculture Health Management or Sustainable Management of Aquatic Resources. This master’s programme is organised solely in English and receives a diverse international audience. Several guest speakers and practicing scientists and scholars from other European institutions (and abroad) contribute to the programme. The Faculty of Bioscience Engineering has a wide range of bilateral agreements for both student and lecture exchange with universities all over the world. This offers opportunities for integration of the UGent Aquaculture curriculum with the curriculum of other universities teaching aquaculture at the MSc level, leading to a higher variety of specialised courses, internships and dissertation work. The many excursions to different fish and shellfish farms in Europe will give the student a better understanding of the industry. Students have the opportunity to follow a farm training in marine or freshwater farms or research centre. Specialised courses such as Aquatic Farm Management Training, Fish Culture Techniques, Management in the Aquaculture Industry ... compare the European situation with the situation in the student’s country of origin..
Students can choose the topic for their master’s Dissertation (thesis) in a broad range of disciplines in which the scientific staff of the master’s programmes is active. In general, the students become involved in ongoing research within the research laboratories of their promoter(s). They can however also propose their own research topic. Thanks to our extended international network, students can perform their master’s dissertation work in laboratories in other (non-) European countries. Students have to conduct research with the appropriate expertise in order to contribute to the development of a particular research domain. The ultimate goal is to initiate students into research at an academic level so that, upon completion of their master’s programme, they are able to carry out scientific research in a proper way. Specific requirements will be mentioned in the practical procedure.
Aquaculture is a diverse and dynamic industry. It depends on knowledge from a series of disparate disciplines (e.g. biology, engineering, marketing), and it is constantly evolving, drawing on new technologies and the outputs of a range of R&D activities. Consequently, there is a need of highly trained and skilled personnel with specific but varying skills in order to be able to exploit existing aquaculture potentials in a profitable and sustainable way, therefore it is essential to educate and train these aquaculture specialists of the future at European universities. Europe also needs to educate and train students and scholars from third countries in order to stimulate transfer of knowledge to and from Europe.