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Overview of Aquaculture Online Degree Program

Majors Overview March 25, 2013

The farming of plants, shellfish, and fish in controlled settings, such as fish farms or hatcheries is known as aquaculture. Four-year universities and colleges offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in aquaculture through distance learning, while community colleges provide online certificate and associate degree programs in aquaculture technology. The majority of courses can be completed by students online; several programs require field assignments at a county extension facility or on campus.

Aquaculture Online Degree Programs

Online degree programs teach students about commercial aspects of aquaculture and environmental concerns related to the use of disease prevention techniques and genetic modification to increase productivity. The location of the university or college offering an online degree program will determine the variety of courses offered. Students’ coursework will vary depending on whether a program concentrates on saltwater or freshwater species and warm or cold water environment.


Introductory courses like water science discuss water quality, water chemistry, and water properties. Other courses in crustacean aquaculture and marine aquaculture introduce students to various species through topics in physiology and anatomy. Typically, additional courses in chemistry and biology are required. Advanced coursework split between topics in fish health and facilities management.

Students will learn about various aquaculture facilities that are used for hatcheries and fisheries in courses such as reservoir limnology, small impound management, or hatchery management. Topics include the control vegetation in commercial recirculating systems or the stocking and construction of ponds for recreational fishing. Students will also discuss methods for treating sediment and water quality.

Aquaculture productivity depends on fish health, so students are required to take several courses in disease, nutrition, genetics, and fish health. Students will gain an understanding in regard to factors that affect the yield of a species, such as how waste changes chemical factors in their environment. The course will also discuss the prevention of diseases and parasites. Genetic enhancement courses explore the environmental impact caused by modification to a species to increase its commercial appeal.

Aquaculture Career Opportunities

Students who have graduated from the program will be able to find employment in various private and public organizations. An online certificate or associate degree in aquaculture will prepare students to assist management at county extension offices, aquaculture farms, and hatcheries. Usually, students who have a bachelor or master degree will hold management positions. Students who are interested in a research career, recent studies have covered topics in techniques for shrimp farming or effective disease treatments for commercial fish populations.

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