Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences — MAq, MS, PhD

Degree Programs:


The FAAS graduate program prepares students for productive careers in academia and the private and public sectors in aquaculture, aquatic resource management and ecology, and fisheries biology and management. The Department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (MS - thesis and non-thesis), Master of Aquaculture (MAq - non-thesis), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.

Students desiring admission for graduate study should have a degree from a recognized academic institution, adequate course work in biology, zoology, botany, chemistry, physics, and mathematics and submit GRE scores. Otherwise qualified students lacking an adequate background in these areas may be admitted but may be required to correct deficiencies after they enroll at Auburn. Applicants must also meet minimum requirements of the Graduate School including English language requirements. Evaluation of applicants includes academic records, GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and past professional history.

The thesis-based Master of Science degree prepares the student for aquatic resource or aquaculture related careers as well as further studies toward a PhD degree. A minimum of 30 semester hours of 6000-level or above are required. A minimum of 21 semester hours (which includes FISH 7990) of 6000-level and above courses must be taken within the major area of concentration and at least an additional 9 hours taken in a separate but closely related area of concentration. A minimum of 4 semester hours of FISH 7990 (Research and Thesis) is required but no more than 6 semester hours may be counted toward the degree. In addition to the required course work, the student must complete research and a written thesis and pass a comprehensive examination on research and course work as defined by the student’s advisory committee.

The non-thesis Master of Science degree prepares the student for a variety of less research focused aquatic resource or aquaculture related careers. A minimum of 34 semester hours, including at least 3 hours from one of these courses, FISH 7460, FISH 7900, FISH 7920, or FISH 7960, are required. In addition to the required course work, the student must pass a comprehensive examination on their relevant experiences and course work as defined by the student’s advisory committee.

The MAq is a non-thesis degree that prepares a student for a career in aquaculture management or extension. The degree requires successful completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours beyond the bachelors’ degree and includes a 3 to 5 - month internship. In addition, students must pass a comprehensive oral examination after completion of all course work and internship.

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program usually requires that the student has a master’s degree from a recognized graduate program. The doctoral program emphasizes original scholarly research and includes significant advanced coursework. The PhD degree requires a minimum of 60 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, of which a minimum of 31 hours must be taken through Auburn University, and a dissertation describing original research. A minimum of 30 hours must be graded graduate courses. The minimum and maximum number of hours of dissertation research (FISH 8990) is 10. Students must pass a general examination, often called the “preliminary examination,” typically taken after all graded course work is completed, to become a PhD candidate. The exam includes a written exam followed by an oral exam. The student becomes a candidate for the degree on successful completion of the general examination. After completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination defending the dissertation.

All graduate students are expected to be engaged in service to the department’s research and education programs as deemed appropriate by the academic adviser and department head. All students receiving departmental assistantships must be registered for at least one course (any course of at least 1 credit hour carrying an Auburn University course number) during each academic term of the assistantship. International students must meet visa requirements for coursework load. All graduate students must present an exit seminar in the department for which credit will be given as either FISH 7950 for master’s or FISH 8950 for PhD’s.