Course details

Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation
NZQF Level 7

About the course

This programme will provide you with specialist knowledge, as well as technical and practical skills relating to aquaculture and marine conservation.

If you achieved University Entrance (UE) in 2020, the entry requirements for this programme may differ from those displayed on this page and in printed material due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. To find out about entry requirements for those who achieve UE in 2020 see the NZQA website(external link).

At NMIT, we bring together marine conservation and aquaculture to start addressing solutions to the threats to many of our planet's marine and freshwater environments. These threats have come from overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and more. Education about marine conservation is critical to start addressing these global and local issues.

Students are encouraged to think further and be taught about tropical marine environments. All this knowledge is combined to create a greater understanding of ecology and environmental impacts to further progress momentum into the marine conservation and sustainable aquaculture space.

The programme was designed with industry to provide graduates with practical aquatic ecology and marine conservation skills and knowledge. You can also specialise in aquaculture, marine conservation, aquaculture industry management or a combination that best suits your career aspirations and interests. You will also gain communication and operations management skills so you can contribute to the aquaculture industry, locally, nationally or internationally.

If you are already in the industry in New Zealand and looking to get a qualification, talk to us about how we can make that work for you to study alongside your employment.

A focus on sustainability and real-world experiences

Aquaculture students get plenty of real-world experience with an average of one field trip per week, three different work placements, and applied research projects.

Off-site practical and workplace components (work-based training) are designed to provide you with practical experience and involve placement in an aquaculture industry work environment. This is actively supervised by competent and experienced workers and directed towards your specific educational goals and skills training.

The Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation programme includes two compulsory Industry Practice courses, which include industry placements, one at Level 5 and one at Level 6. There is also an industry placement in the Applied Industry Project course at Level 7. 

The programmes strongly focus on sustainability and marine conservation, recognising the ecological threats of overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change on the ocean and freshwater environments.

At NMIT, you will learn how to apply sustainable aquaculture principles that help to conserve the marine environment and address some of the major issues facing our planet.

It's the best place to study Aquaculture

You will be learning in the region where most New Zealand aquaculture produce is grown. It is the leading producer of farmed GreenshellTM Mussels, King Salmon and Pacific Oysters worldwide.

The Nelson area is also a major hub of research in this field. The programme brings together the knowledge and expertise of Nelson and Marlborough aquaculture industry members as well as the Nelson scientific community to provide you with an informative and dynamic learning environment.

2024 Scholarships

You don’t need to be a genius to get a scholarship, and applying is simple. NMIT has heaps of scholarship options, including some to help you get new gear, put towards study-related costs or even help you get an internship - andone might even end up getting you a job! 

NMIT proudly teams up with many local partners to create scholarships for new and current students. Several scholarships are also available, including if you are a descendent of Wakatū Incorporation(external link).

Check out the scholarships right now!

Career opportunities and pathways

On completion of your degree you can get employment in Aquaculture in business management, production management or policy management. You could also become a research and development technician, local government environemental officer, marine ranger, Ministry of Primary Industries Fishereries inspector or observer, or work as a public aquarium curator. You can also go on to complete your Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Aquaculture.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Achievement of NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 or higher and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include:

  • 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects
  • Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above made up of:
    • 5 credits in reading
    • 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1* or above (specified achievement standards or unit standards 26623, 26626 and 26627)

*NZQA approved subjects: see link)


Any qualification (New Zealand or overseas) recognised by NZQA as being equivalent to the achievement of NCEA Level 3. If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), NMIT will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.


Any Level 4 qualification in a related field.

Alternate requirements

Applicants who are unable to evidence that they meet Academic Entry Requirements, but who can demonstrate acquired skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience , may be approved for alternate entry. This may include Recognition of Prior Learning.

Contact NMIT for advice.

English language requirements

If English is not the applicant’s first language they will need to provide evidence of:

An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall Academic score of 6.0 (not less than 5.5 in each band) from a single test issued within the last two years,


A result from a test or qualification on the NZQA acceptable alternativesEnglish Proficiency Outcomes Table.(external link)


Achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements 

Additional distance study requirements

For distance study, applicants must have the following to be able to utilise the online learning environment and complete practical/vocational aspects of the programme:

  • Employment in a suitable aquaculture industry workplace


  • Recent relevant experienceandaccess to a suitable aquaculture industry workplace to undertake assignment and practical work required for specific courses  
  • Ability to attend compulsory residential workshops
  • Ability to attend NMIT or an alternative venue at another tertiary institute to complete examinations.
Programme structure

The Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation is a three-year full-time (or part-time equivalent) programme of study.

The first year provides a solid foundation in the basics of aquaculture and marine conservation (as it relates to the aquaculture industry) , the second focuses on further developing and refining technical skills, and the third year comprises a mix of higher level aquaculture, aquatic ecology and conservation and research skills.

The third year has significant components of applied research, which will allow you to specialise in aquaculture, marine conservation (as it relates to the aquaculture industry), aquaculture industry management or a combination of these that best suit your career aspirations and interests.

If you are already working in the aquaculture industry outside of the Nelson region, you can still study this programme alongside your work.Contact usto talk about how we can make it work for you.

Flexible elective study options

This programme provides flexibility through elective study options to choose the area, such as marine conservation or business, that you would like to study.

In your last year at level 7, you will have an opportunity to choose electives.

Entry requirements

About the provider

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is a Government Institute with campuses in Nelson and Marlborough. 

NMIT is a New Zealand Qualifications Authority Category 1 (the highest) Institute. Our programmes are designed alongside industry to create work-ready graduates that meet local and international job market needs. 

You'll find NMIT tutors care a lot about student success, and classes are small enough that they know you by name.