Masters degree study frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How is an MSc degree from University of Stirling accredited?

All of our Master's degrees are accredited to the Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF). To be awarded an MSc you must accumulate 180 SCQF credit points, 120 SCQF credit points for a Postgraduate Diploma, and 60 SCQF credit points for a Postgraduate Certificate. 1 SCQF credit is equivalent to 10 hours of study. All of these qualifications are taught at SCQF level 11 (Master's level).

The SCQF system is mapped onto the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 2 SCQF credits = 1 ECTS credit. SCQF level 11 is equivalent to ECTS level 7.

How will I achieve the credit necessary to get a degree?

Our degrees are constructed from discrete modules where you follow a programme of modules accumulating credit as you go. Master's degrees consist of 3 module types: Foundation taught modules; Advanced taught modules, and a Research module.

What is the difference between a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and a Masters degree?

A Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma are 'Intermediate Awards' en route to a Masters degree. You can achieve a PG Certificate upon completion of 60 SCQF points accumulated from Foundation modules, a PG Diploma upon completion of 120 SCQF points accumulated from a mixture of Foundation and Advanced modules, and an MSc upon completion of 180 SCQF points accumulated from a mixture of Foundation and Advanced modules plus a Research module. If you are not interested in doing research, then a Certificate or Diploma may be suitable for you although most students choose to do an MSc.

Certificate and Diploma credit could count towards a Diploma or MSc at a later date as long as you complete all credits within a 5-year period.

How flexible is the programme of study?

Our degrees are very flexible. You can choose to study full-time, or discontinuously. As long as you accumulate the credit necessary within 5 years you will be awarded your degree.

Can I get a Masters degree by accumulating credit from a mixture of Discontinuous modules and face-to-face modules?


What if I'm only interested in studying 1 or 2 modules from the entire Master's programme?

Then you can study individual topics from our 'Continuing Professional Development' courses. See CPD pages for further information.

What can I do with my degree or other exit qualification when I get it?

Most of our students are very successful in getting employment or continuing to do research within the aquaculture sector. Most of our students use our highly regarded post-graduate degrees to work within industry or governmental departments developing aquaculture throughout the world. Many students choose to move into aquaculture research and development by doing a PhD, often at the Institute of Aquaculture by continuing project work developed during their MSc programmes.

The different degree exit points also offer a strong training base to give impetus for a job in aquaculture. The Foundation topics offer a good grounding in all aspects of aquaculture and form, not only a good basis for more advanced work on the MSc programmes, but an excellent conversion for people already with a particular expertise to move into the aquaculture sector.

How long will it take me to get my degree?

It takes a minimum of 4 months for a PG Certificate, 8 months for a PG Diploma and 12 months for an MSc. The maximum allowed for any degree is 5 years.

How long is a study topic?

2 weeks

What does the research module consist of?

During the Research module you will carry out an independent research project in a topic relevant to your final degree outcome, under direct supervision from research staff here at the Institute of Aquaculture. Projects are based in laboratories using 'state of the art' facilities, or in the field at commercial aquaculture systems, or as desk-based studies. You may have the chance to carry out your research overseas. Typically, you conduct your research over a period of 3 to 4 months, then submit a dissertation in the form of a publishable manuscript and press release, and give a seminar presentation.

What is the difference between the degree outcomes on offer?

The degree outcomes specialise in various Aquaculture subject areas. All degree outcomes study the same core Foundation modules, the main difference is in the Advanced modules. For a degree in Sustainable Aquaculture you choose any 6 topics you wish to study and for all other outcomes you must study certain compulsory Advanced modules relating to the specific outcome. The Research module must be carried out in an area related to the specific outcome.

Do I need to decide which outcome I want to do straight away?

No, you only need to decide once you have completed the Foundation modules and have a firmer idea of what your interests are.

Can I study aquaculture in a discontinuous programme?

If you are unable to come to the UK to study full time, a discontinuous mode of study is available so that you can study when you have time to do so. This needs to be agreed with the Programme Director, who you should contact to discuss options.

Can I study aquaculture by distance learning?

No, not at present.