Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture (GCAQUA)


British Columbia is the country’s largest producer of farmed seafood, producing half of Canada’s output in 2016 (Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance). More than 700 seafood farms are located in the province producing finfish (mainly salmon), and a wide variety of shellfish, including clams, oysters and mussels. Many people are also employed in supplying feed and nutrients to fish, and in value-added food processing.

UBC’s Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture provides an excellent entryway into this exciting and evolving area. Students will gain the theoretical and practical skills to become contributors to the aquaculture industry from a sustainability, biological, social, and economic lens.

The certificate program is a one semester/4-month, 17-credit specialized program that is ideal for students interested in entering the aquaculture industry and for those who are ready for a career transition. It explores principles across the broad scope of fields involved with food production from aquaculture.

What makes the program unique?

  • British Columbia – and UBC – are perfectly situated for the aquaculture industry. Access to large tracts of coastline and moderate temperatures have helped aquaculture grow into a $700 million industry in the province.
  • UBC offers the only graduate-level aquaculture program in Western Canada. The program trains people who possess foundational critical thinking and problem solving skills to become future leaders in the industry.
  • While here, students will discover the types of jobs available in aquaculture throughout the province, earn credits in courses that prepare them for all aspects of aquaculture, and build a network with industry professionals.

Program Structure

Courses will be delivered at the UBC Vancouver campus during Winter Term 1 (September – December). Students will complete the certificate on a full-time basis over a period of 4 months, completing 7 required courses (17 credits required):

  • AQUA 501 (3 credits) Aquaculture Production Systems
  • AQUA 502 (2 credits) Fish Nutrition, Feeds and Feeding
  • AQUA 503 (3 credits) Fish Health
  • AQUA 504 (2 credits) Finfish Genetics and Reproduction in Aquaculture
  • AQUA 505 (3 credits) Ecological Sustainability of Aquaculture
  • AQUA 506 (2 credits) Business concepts in Aquaculture
  • AQUA 507 (2 credits) Seafood Processing

Career Options

There are many aquaculture career opportunities in B.C., across Canada and around the world, spanning coastal to urban communities. The range of careers is wide and working conditions are equally varied. Our graduates can expect to find work in a place that fits their interests: land-based or sea-based farms; in a feed or food processing plant; or in an office or lab. Here are some careers available to those with an aquaculture education.

Careers at a sea-based or land-based farm site:

  • Fish production technician / manager
  • Hatchery technician / manager
  • Fish health technician
  • Aquatic veterinarian
  • Fish biologist
  • Aquaculture diver
  • Waste management technologist

Careers in an office:

  • Environmental and regulatory affairs manager
  • Aquaculture engineer
  • Research scientist / technician
  • Habitat biologist
  • Research and development coordinator
  • Environmental assessment technician
  • Regulatory affairs officer

Careers at a feed mill:

  • Feed production technician
  • Environmental assessment technician
  • Nutrition researcher

Careers at a food processing plant:

  • Processing line operator / supervisor
  • Quality assurance manager
  • Product developer
  • Waste management technologist

Careers with the government:

  • Aquaculture policy advisor
  • Aquaculture extension officers
  • Aquaculture development specialist
  • Environmental assessment technician
  • Regulatory affairs officer

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