Professional & Technical
At Brunswick Community College, there are two ways to learn about aquaculture
1) Low-Cost Online Continuing Education Program
An online aquaculture program designed specifically for those not seeking a degree. If you are a farmer, fish farm or hatchery worker, or an entrepreneur, investor, hobbyist, or anyone else who wants to learn about aquaculture but do not have the time to earn a degree in it, this is the program for you! We offer three courses in aquaculture through our Division of Continuing Education: Introduction to Aquaculture, Advanced Aquaculture Part I and Advanced Aquaculture Part II. Each course is $175 (the entire program may be completed for $525). These fees are the same for everybody, regardless of state or country of residence. No matter where you live, you now have the opportunity to learn all you need to know about aquaculture to start a fish farm, invest in a fish farm, or just simply to get started in backyard or garage fish production to grow fish for yourself and your family. And for those of you who are currently employed aquaculturists, these courses are designed to improve your skills and to earn the continuing education credit that may be required by your employer.
For more information about this program, please pan down to the bottom half of this page!
2) Curriculum Degree/Diploma/Certificate Programs
For those who wish to earn an academic degree, diploma or certificate in Aquaculture Technology
On Campus: 2-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, 1-year Diploma and 1-semester Certificate in Aquaculture Technology.
Online: The 1-year Diploma and 1-semester Certificate in Aquaculture Technology are offered completely online. The A.A.S. Degree in Aquaculture Technology may be completed mostly online. However, students in the A.A.S. Degree program must plan to spend a minimum of 6 weeks during the 2-year program on campus, completing the hands-on Aquaculture Practicum requirements. The practicum courses may be completed 1 week at a time, or in combination up to 6 weeks. In addition, all students in the A.A.S. degree program are required to complete either a 320-hour internship on a fish farm, public aquarium, research lab, etc. or they must take AQU 280 - Aquaculture Project, which is a project of the student's design (under supervision of the Director) conducted at the BCC Aquaculture Farm or another approved facility.
Curriculum Degree, Diploma, and Certificate Programs
To apply for the Degree/Diploma/Certificate programs, click the "Admissions" tab above.
Once you have been admitted, contact Dr. Doug Holland, the academic advisor for these programs:
email - email@example.com
toll free - (800) 755-1050, ext. 7432
phone - (910) 755-7432
Areas of specialization in aquaculture include:
Designed for the student interested in pursuing a career as a commercial fish farm manager, or as an employee at a state or federal fish hatchery.
Designed for the student interested in a career working at public and private aquariums, such as the North Carolina Aquariums or the many aquariums in cities throughout the United States.
Offered in conjunction with BCC’s Biotechnology Program, and designed for the student interested in pursuing career options in aquatic and marine biotechnology. This includes the production of organisms for regulatory testing programs and for biologic and medical research.
For a more complete description of the A.A.S Degree, as well as the online Diploma and Certificate programs, please consult the online college catalog listed under the "Students" tab above, or click on the "Advising Sheets" at the bottom of this page.
Aquaculture is generally defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and plants. More broadly it includes the rearing of freshwater or marine organisms for use by humans, whether for food, energy production (such as algae for oil extraction), organisms for research and testing, recreation and stock enhancement, or for the joy and educational benefits of displaying them at an aquarium.
Students in the Aquaculture Technology program will take courses in biology, chemistry, math, and business, as well as lecture courses in aquaculture including introductory courses covering the culture of species of major commercial interest, limnology and water quality, algae culture, aquaculture facilities, fish genetics and breeding, fish nutrition and disease, hatchery management, invertebrate culture, and aquariology.
Students in the A.A.S. degree program also take hands-on practicum courses every semester, and have the opportunity to complete an internship or conduct an independent study project at a fish farm, aquarium, or aquaculture research laboratory. Students have completed internships on fish farms throughout North Carolina and in many other states, and at aquariums including the NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Many students choose to serve an internship or conduct a study project at the nearby UNCW Center for Marine Science Aquaculture Lab. Students may also elect to conduct their study project on the full size fish farm right behind our building on the campus of Brunswick Community College.
Aquaculture Curriculum Courses Available Online
- AQU 111 Intro to Aquaculture I
- AQU 112 Intro to Aquaculture II
- AQU 210 Limnology & Water Quality
- AQU 220 Aquaculture Facilities
- AQU 230 Fish Genetics & Breeding
- AQU 240 Fish Nutrition & Diseases
- AQU 251 Hatchery Management I
- AQU 255 Invertebrate Culture
The above courses are all 3 credit hours each. Course fees may be calculated for North Carolina residents as well as non-residents by viewing the current course schedule available under the "Students" tab at the top of this page, or by viewing the "current schedules" in the upper right-hand column of this page.
Aquaculture Curriculum Courses Available On Campus
- AQU 161 - Aquaculture Practicum I
- AQU 162 - Aquaculture Practicum II
- AQU 163 - Aquaculture Practicum III
- AQU 164 - Aquaculture Practicum IV
- AQU 165 - Aquaculture Practicum V
- AQU 166 - Aquaculture Practicum VI
- AQU 260 - Aquariology
- AQU 270 - Water Gardens
- AQU 280 - Aquaculture Project
“2+2” Articulation Agreement with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington
The Aquaculture Program at Brunswick Community College has a special “2+2” Articulation Agreement with the Marine Biology Program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Students completing the A.A.S. degree with at least a 2.5 GPA may be admitted into the B.S. in Marine Biology degree program at UNCW, with the opportunity to complete both degrees within the normal 4 years usually required for a Bachelor of Science Degree. UNCW has a nationally recognized marine aquaculture program within their marine biology program, allowing students to continue their studies of aquaculture at the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. levels. Many of our students take advantage of this opportunity, with about half of our graduates going on to complete the B.S. in marine biology. Several have also gone on to earn the master's degree with an emphasis in aquaculture, and at least two have now earned their Ph.D. degree.
The BCC Aquaculture Program Advisory Committee
Includes representatives from area fish farms, aquariums (The NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher and Ripley’s Aquarium at Myrtle Beach are both just a few minutes away), universities, and various government agencies.
Aquaculture Technology program graduates have been very successful obtaining employment on private commercial fish farms, public fish hatcheries, and both public and private aquariums. Several have started their own successful farms and businesses. Some are managing very large corporate farms in NC, other states, and other countries. Many have gone on to earn Bachelor’s, Master’s and even Doctoral Degrees in aquaculture, aquatic biology, or marine biology.
Low-Cost Online Continuing Education Program
These courses are open to everyone, and the fees are the same regardless of state or country of residence. These are low-cost, practical non-academic courses designed for farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, and others interested in learning about aquaculture but who do not wish to pursue a degree. There is no application process... you simply contact Lori Summerlin in the Division of Continuing Education to register!
Please contact Lori Summerlin to register: by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
toll-free within the US - (800) 754-1050, ext. 7408
phone - (910) 755-7408
Continuing Education Courses Available Online
- Introduction to Aquaculture
- Advanced Aquaculture Part I
- Advanced Aquaculture Part II
Note: Summer Session Courses (May - July) are structured over an 8-week period, which requires 10 hours per week, versus 5 hours per week in a standard fall/spring semester period.
Course Dates: Summer: May 20th - July 15th. Fall: August 18th - December 9th
Course Cost: $175 (this fee is same for NC residents and non-residents)
Course Description: This online course is a comprehensive introduction to commercial aquaculture, or the farming and husbandry of aquatic organisms, including fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. The course will include the fundamentals of fish and shellfish culture, including discussions of the various types of culture systems (ponds, raceways, recirculating systems, etc.), water quality management, nutrition and feeds, diseases, genetics and breeding, harvesting and transport, economics and business, sustainability, and regulatory issues. Culture techniques for species of commercial importance are incorporated into the course, including catfish, tilapia, trout, yellow perch, hybrid striped bass, marine shrimp, freshwater shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, and other species. The course is structured in 16 weekly modules requiring approximately 5 hours each.
The course is self-paced, and may be accessed any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The instructor is available any time via questions posted on the course wiki or by email.
For more information about this course, see the "Introductory Aquaculture Orientation" document below
Course Instructor: Dr. Doug Holland, Ph.D.
Dr. Holland earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Fisheries & Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University. He owned and operated a private commercial fish farm in North Carolina for 10 years. He has been Director of the Center for Aquaculture and Biotechnology for 18 years, where he has taught hundreds of students in both curriculum and continuing education classes in aquaculture. He has experience in aquaculture on three continents (North America, South America, and Africa)
Advanced Aquaculture, Parts I and II
Note: May be taken simultaneously with Introductory Aquaculture.
Course Dates: Summer: May 20th - July 15th. Fall: August 18th - December 9th
Course Cost: Part I-$175, Part II-$175 (this fee is same for NC residents and non-residents)
Corequisite/Prerequisite: Introductory Aquaculture (or a comparable introductory aquaculture course)
Course Description: These online courses provide advanced information designed for persons seeking greater in-depth knowledge about subjects such as aquaculture facilities design and construction, fish genetics & breeding, diseases and parasites of fish and shellfish, and the management of fish hatcheries. The courses are designed to follow our continuing education course called "Introductory Aquaculture", but are open to anybody with a good introductory background in aquaculture. They may be taken in series or simultaneously. They may also be taken simultaneously with "Introductory Aquaculture". The courses are set up in 16 weekly modules, requiring approximately 5 hours each. The courses are self-paced, and may be accessed any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The instructor is available any time via questions posted on the course wiki or by email.
For more information about these courses, see the "Advanced Aquaculture Orientation" documents below
Course Instructor: Dr. Doug Holland, Ph.D.
For More information
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Click on the following link to view a video that describes the Aquaculture Technology and Biotechnology programs at BCC: YouTube Video.
Documents & PDFs
Dr. Doug Holland
Director, Center for Aquaculture & Biotechnology
Lori A. Summerlin
Community Services Programs Coord, Computer Info. Technology/Computer Programming Inst.