Degree Type: 

Bachelor of Science


Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences

Programme Duration: 

4 years (Standard Entry)

Modes of Study: 


About Programme: 


The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences was established in the 2002/2003 academic year. The Department emerged as an offshoot of the former Department of Zoology with the aim to enable the University of Cape Coast focus its attention on fisheries and coastal resources of Ghana. A significant proportion of Ghanaians derive their livelihoods from fisheries (both marine and inland) and the exploitation of other coastal resources. The rationale for the bachelor’s programme in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences is to introduce students to fisheries, aquaculture and coastal resource management issues as well as to the scientific methods and tools for investigating the issues. 

Entry Requirements: 

The minimum admission requirement into the University of Cape Coast for WASSCE applicants is aggregate 36. For SSSCE applicants, the minimum requirement is aggregate 24. 

Candidates must have passes in six (6) subjects with an overall aggregate of 36/24 at the WASSCE/SSSCE level respectively. Three of the six subjects must be core subjects: English language, mathematics, and Integrated Science or Social Studies and three must be in relevant electives. 

For purposes of admission, a pass in:

  1. WASSCE means Grade: A1 – C6
  2. SSSCE means Grade: A – D.

In addition to the above, candidates must satisfy requirements as indicated below: 

Candidates must obtain:

  1. passes in Core English, Core Mathematics and Integrated Science or Social Studies
  2. passes in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics with grades NOT lower than C6
  3. an overall aggregate of 36 or better in three core and three elective subjects.

Progression Requirements

In addition all UCC regulations, candidates must: 

  • Register and follow approved courses
  • Have attended 75% lectures minimum 
  • Have participated in at least 75% of  all field/laboratory exercises and trips

Graduation Requirements

Candidate must:

  • Pass all requisite examinations (50% minimum score)
  • Successfully defend their dissertation
  • Satisfy all other  UCC requirements

Goal / Aim / Objectives: 

The goal of the bachelor’s programme is to build the needed human capacity that could support the government in achieving its development objectives of food security, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, and sustainable management of Ghana’s fisheries, coastal and marine ecosystems to provide long-term goods and services to communities.  

 The objectives are to:

  1. To train students in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences for employment in public and private sector organizations.
  2. To equip students with techniques in Integrated Coastal Zone Management to assist coastal communities to improve their livelihood.
  3. To conduct research in marine, brackish water and freshwater ecosystems to assist decision-makers to formulate policies on sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources. 

Career Opportunities: 

You can find jobs in the following areas:

  1. Government agencies like Fisheries Ministry
  2. NGOs engaged in aquatic environmental campaign
  3. Industries in fish processing and canning
  4. Firms engaged in commercial fishing.

Programme Structure

Level 100

First Semester

ASP A: African Studies (Core)
2 Credit(s)

This comprises a variety of Courses mounted by the Center for African and International Studies.  Each student gets to do one of these courses in the first semester and another one in the second semester of the first year.

BIO 101: Diversity of Living Organisms
3 Credit(s)

Students are introduced to the classification of living organisms and the morphological characteristics of the following kingdoms of organisms: Prokaryotae, Protoctista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia.  The course also examines the life histories and adaptations of some selected members of the various kingdoms e.g. Bacteria and Cyanobacteria; Protozoa with particular emphasis on the Sporozoa; Zygomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota; Chlorophyta and Phaeophyta; Bryophyta; Lycophyta; Filinophyta; Gymnospermophyta, Angiospermophyta; Platyhelminthes, Nematoda; Arthropoda, Amphibia, Pisces, Reptilia, Aves; and Mammalia.

CHE 107: General Chemistry
3 Credit(s)

Atoms and Atomic Theory, Chemistry Compounds, chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry, Electrons in Atoms, Periodic  Table and Atomic Properties, chemical Bonding-Empirical Models and Theory.  Molecular composition of structure, purification of organic compounds, detection of elements N, S and halogens in organic compounds. Determination and calculation of empirical and molecular formulae. Structural formulae, structural and geometrical isomerism. Pictorial treatment of sp, Sp2, sp3 hybridization in single, double and triple bonds. Nomenclature of Alkanes (including cycloalkanes). Alkenes, synthesis of Alkanes and Alkenes, chemical reactions of Alkanes and Alkenes. 

CHE 109: General Chemistry (Practical)
1 Credit(s)

Thermochemistry, Distribution experiments, Determination of molecular properties, solubility and solubility products. Experiments with pH meter, conductivity measurements, Qualitative analysis of mixture of two or more salts lf metals, volumetric analysis and inorganic preparations.

CMS 107: Communicative Skills I
3 Credit(s)

Engaging in academic work at the university is challenging. This course is aimed at equipping fresh students to make the transition from pre-university level to the university level. It assists them in engaging and succeeding in complex academic tasks in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It also provides an introduction to university studies by equipping students with skills that will help them to engage in academic discourse with confidence and fluency.

ILT 101: Information Literacy
1 Credit(s)

The rationale of the course is to equip students with skills that will enable them access and retrieve information in the traditional, hybrid and digital libraries. Students will be able to use ICT efficiently and effectively when they have basic knowledge of computers. The course content include: Types of libraries, library resources and their uses, the role the library plays in the academic community, introduction to computers, the internet.

PHY 101: General Physics I (Theory)
2 Credit(s)

This course is intended to introduce students to some of the fundamental concepts and principles underlying Physics so as to develop the scientific problem-solving skills and logical reasoning of students. The knowledge acquired is for later application in allied programmes like Nursing, Optometry, Computer, Science, Science Education and Laboratory Technology.  The main topics treated include Physical quantities, vectors, Dynamics, Kinematics, Thermodynamics, Work, Energy and Power.

PHY 103: General Physics I (Practical)
1 Credit(s)

This is the practical component of PHY 101, and is assessed separately. It is intended to make Physics as interesting and relevant as possible by investigating some practical applications of Physics. The main topics treated include Hooke’s Law, Surface Tension, Simple Harmonic Motion, Density Measurements, Calorimetry and Thermal expansion.

Second Semester

ASP B: African Studies (Core)
1 Credit(s)

This comprises a variety of Courses mounted by the Center for African and International Studies.  Each student gets to do one of these courses in the first semester and another one in the second semester of the first year.

BIO 102: Basic Cytology and Genetics
2 Credit(s)

The course provides a basic background in the various principles of Genetics with a focus on the cytological basis.  It covers cell structure, nuclear divisions and chromosomal aberrations. These would illustrate the relevant cytological basis of Mendelian Genetics, Cytogenetics and Darwinian Evolution.  The course also covers the DNA structure, the Genetic code based on the Central Dogma theory and the basis of microbial genetics.  The concepts of recombinant DNA, Genetic engineering and Biotechnology would be mentioned.

CHE 108: Introductory Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is concerned with the behavior and transformations of the compounds of carbon. Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, most pharmaceutical drugs etc. are all organic compounds. Being able to understand the structures and functions of these molecules will enable you to appreciate the fascinating nature of science. 

This course is intended to introduce first year chemistry students to basic principles of organic chemistry. The course introduces students to the molecular composition of structure, purification of organic compounds, detection of elements N, S and halogens in organic compounds. Also the course introduces students to basic ideas on nomenclature, structure, physical properties, synthesis and chemical properties of the hydrocarbons (Alkanes, Alkenes and Alkynes). Finally, the course will include the treatment of the structure of benzene and its simple derivatives, electrophilic aromatic substitution of benzene, and synthesis of simple derivatives of benzene with specific orientation, ortho- para and meta directors. 

CHE 110: Practical Introductory Organic Chemistry

This practical course will introduce students to be the knowledge and understanding of basic practical experimental procedures of Organic Chemistry. Students will learn on the scientific skills development such as Observation, Recording, Measurement and Laboratory Reporting Writing. Students will be exposed to how to use equipment’s like the Melting point apparatus, Refractometer, Suction filtration apparatus and Distillation apparatus.

CMS 108: Communicative Skills II
3 Credit(s)

This is a follow-up course on the first semester one. It takes students through writing correct sentences, devoid of ambiguity, through the paragraph and its appropriate development to the fully-developed essay. The course also emphasizes the importance and the processes of editing written work.

PHY 102: General Physics II (Theory)
2 Credit(s)

Topics to be treated for the course are; Introduction optics, waves, electricity and magnetism: reflection and refraction on plane surfaces; lens formulae, thin lens in contact, characteristics of wave motion, sound waves, resonance, static electricity; the coulomb ; electric potential, capacitors, current.

PHY 104: General Physics II(Practical)
1 Credit(s)

This is the practical component of PHY102 and is designed to help students gain some hands-on experience with laboratory equipment as they perform experiments to enhance their understanding of some the theoretical concepts.  Such experiments include the determination of the focal length of lenses and refractive index of glass block; investigation of Ohm’s law and determination of resistivity of materials.    

Level 200

First Semester

BIO 201: Basic Soil Science
2 Credit(s)

This introductory course seeks to provide basic information on soil development emphasizing the soil formation factors and the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. The course also emphasizes the special characteristics of clays and humus in relation to plant growth.  Soil classification is discussed with emphasis on tropical soils. Land use and soil degradation are discussed with focus on conservation and management.

BIO 202: Cell and Tissue Organisation
3 Credit(s)

This course introduces students to cell theory and the generalised structure of plants and animal cells and the functions of the organelles. Types, structures and functions of mammalian tissues will be treated. Students will be introduced to basic histological methods-temporary and permanent preparations. The use of microtome in cutting sections and staining procedure will be emphasized. 

BIO 203: Phylogeny and Morphology of Invertebrates & Vertebrates
3 Credit(s)

The course introduces students to the principles of Systematic Zoology.  The laws of Zoological Nomenclature and the procedure for naming animals are discussed.  The course also provides a survey of invertebrates and vertebrates emphasizing their phylogenetic relationships.  Both preserved and live specimens will be used in practical studies to illustrate the relationships among animals.

BIO 204: Morphology and Anatomy of Vascular Plants
3 Credit(s)

A basic course which introduces students to the gross morphological characteristics of gymnosperms and angiosperms; both the vegetative and reproductive plant body are discussed.  Other aspects of the course include pollination mechanisms and agents; fruit and seed formation; growth meristems:  primary and secondary growth; ecological anatomy.

BIO 205: Introduction to Biodiversity, Systematics & Taxonomy
3 Credit(s)

The course is designed to introduce students to the concept and levels of biological diversity: genetic, species and ecosystem diversity.  The threats to global biodiversity and conservation strategies will be discussed.  The course also introduces students to the principles and laws of Systematics. Some methods and practical approaches in Taxonomy will also be emphasised e.g. morphometry, the use of keys and isozyme analysis.

BIO 206: Cryptogams: Non-vascular Plants
3 Credit(s)

This course uses selected examples of algae, fungi, bryophytes and pteridophytes to illustrate the wide variation in the general features, structure and life histories of cryptogams.  The evolutionary trends within and between groups are also discussed.

Second Semester

BIO 207: Principles of Ecology
3 Credit(s)

The course examines environmental factors and their effects on the distribution and abundance of organisms.  It discusses the structure and dynamic aspects of populations; population interactions and regulatory mechanisms; concepts of community and the ecosystem; energy flow in ecosystems; trophic levels, and human ecology. Field studies will include determination of population density, species diversity, evenness and richness and patterns of distribution.  These will be related to environmental conditions.

BIO 208: Population Genetics & Evolution
3 Credit(s)

Students are introduced to Polygenes and the Hardy-Weinberg law. The latter is illustrated by sickle cell anaemia, melanism in moths, drug resistance, insecticide resistance and mimicry in butterflies.  The course also examines the concept of evolution and the distribution of organisms in time and space.  It also reviews the theories of evolution, natural selection and evidence of evolutionary processes: fossils, geographical distribution, comparative anatomy, vestigial structures, molecular biology and embryology.  The origin of Man and the future of Man on earth are also discussed.

BIO 209: Introductory Microbiology & Parasitology
2 Credit(s)

The first part of the course reviews the diversity of micro-organisms including Viruses Bacteria, Fungi and Protozoa.  Their importance in nature and effects on man will be emphasized.  The course discusses the uses of microbes – both beneficial and adverse.  The second part of the course examines heterospecific associations with special emphasis on parasitism.  The life cycles and control measures against some common parasites will be discussed e.g. Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Schistosoma, Fasciola, Ascaris, Onchocerca and Dracunculus.

BIO 210: Chordates
2 Credit(s)

This course reviews the taxonomy, functional anatomy and biology of the protochordates, cyclostomes, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.  It also reviews the origins of chordates and their evolutionary history and provides a survey of embryonic development in the chordates. The course involves extensive practical work in which live and preserved animals will be used for illustrations.

BIO 211: Plant Physiology
3 Credit(s)

This course covers basic plant processes including photosynthesis, respiration, fermentation and bioenergetics.  Other concepts and topics to be discussed include translocation of organic compounds, germination and dormancy, stomatal physiology and plant growth regulators.

BIO 212: Mammalian Anatomy & Physiology
3 Credit(s)

This course introduces students to the basic anatomy and fundamental mechanisms involved in mammalian physiological functions.  It includes a study of the structure and function of the organ systems involved in digestion, transport, respiration, co-ordination, excretion, reproduction, support and locomotion.  Principles of homeostasis will be emphasized.

Level 300

First Semester

BIO 302: Habitat Ecology
3 Credit(s)

This course focuses on terrestrial and aquatic habitats for organisms.  For terrestrial habitats, the major biomes (e.g. tropical rain forests, taiga, savannah, desert) will be discussed in relation to the influence of major environmental factors. Community development discussions will focus on concepts such as succession, climax, species diversity and productivity. The course also looks at major aquatic communities (i.e. neuston, plankton, nekton and benthos), environmental factors and their roles in aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological classification of aquatic organisms.

BIO 315: Basic Computing for Biologists
3 Credit(s)

​​​​​​This course will expose students to the application of computers and software in biological sciences. The course will introduce students to Computer hardware and software. They will be exposed to input and output devices, Windows Operating System and others. They will learn how to manage files in Windows and MS Office Package (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc). Students will be exposed to Word Processing, presentations in PowerPoint and uses of Excel for basic analyses and graphical presentations. Students will also be introduced to the use of the Internet and search engines for information retrieval on the web. Statistical packages (SPSS, MINITAB, GENSTAT etc.) for data analyses will be introduced to students. Graphic packages, such as SIGMAPLOT, will also be introduced. Uses of PCs in health and medicine, modelling DNA sequencing and analysis; use of laboratory equipment interfaced with computers for data collection. 

FAS 302: Limnology
3 Credit(s)

The course exposes students to definitions, history, purposes and the relationships of limnology with other disciplines.  It discusses water and environment; features of inland water ecosystems (lotic and lentic systems) and freshwater biotic communities.  It also examines impoundments (purposes, consequences, etc.), sustainable management of impounded water systems and pollution of freshwater systems will also be discussed.

FAS 303: Fish Biology
3 Credit(s)

The course examines the morphology and anatomy of fish. Students are introduced to morphometry, identification and taxonomy of fishes. Respiration; fish nutrition, locomotion; reproduction; early development and hatching and migration of fishes are discussed.

FAS 304: Physical Oceanography
3 Credit(s)

Students are introduced to the marine ecosystem the physical, chemical and geomorphological characteristics of the ocean.  The roles of physical and chemical factors on marine life are discussed, and the students exposed to the techniques of measuring these factors. The mechanisms and significance of coastal upwelling and the El Nino phenomenon are also examined.

Second Semester

BIO 312: Biostatistics
3 Credit(s)

This course applies statistical methods to biological information. It ideals with sampling techniques, data presentation, analysis and interpretation. Types of distribution (e.g.  normal, binomial, Poisson) are also discussed.  Analytical procedures including t-test, X2, F-ratio, correlation and regression will be used to analyse biological data.  Students will be taken through some basic experimental designs as well (e.g. CRD, RCD, factorilal design).

BIO 399: Research Methods in Biology
3 Credit(s)

The course exposes students to the processes involved in the Scientific Method of investigation. There will be exercise in observational skills, asking questions, formulating hypotheses, experimental designs, biological techniques, data acquisition, analysis and scientific presentation. Students will be required to do a literature review on specific topics presentation to seminars. 

FAS 305: Integrated Coastal Zone Management I
3 Credit(s)

This course introduces students to the basic concepts and practices of Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).  The topics covered include:  introduction to ICZM; coastal ecosystems (e.g., mangrove swamps, coral reefs, sea grass beds, estuaries, lagoons, sandy & rocky shores, sand dunes and coastal savannah); natural coastal processes (e.g. geological processes, tides, waves tsunamis, currents, runoffs/floods, hurricanes and sediment transport/longshore drifts); and uses and opportunities of the coastal zone.  Traditional methods of management as well as sector versus integrated approaches for managing the coastal zone are discussed.

FAS 306: Integrated Coastal Zone Management I
3 Credit(s)

This course examines the ecological processes and communities on seashores. The different types of seashores will be discussed in terms of their general characteristics; and distribution on the coast of Ghana.  Emphasis will be placed on adaptations as well as the physical, chemical and biological factors that influence distribution of organisms on the seashore.  Plant and animal communities on sandy and rocky beaches will be examined. Practical activities will include sampling, identification and population analysis of the flora and fauna of selected beaches.

FAS 307: Brackishwater Ecology
3 Credit(s)

Students are introduced to the structure, formation and processes of estuaries and lagoons.  The physical, chemical and biotic aspects of these brackishwater bodies are discussed.  The course examines the role of estuaries and lagoons in fisheries.  Also to be studied are the biology of selected (edible) brackishwater organisms as well as ecology of mangrove ecosystems.  

Level 400

First Semester

FAS 411: Biological Oceanography
3 Credit(s)

​​​​​​Students are exposed to the various biotic communities of the marine ecosystem.  Pelagic and benthic communities are discussed with special attention to plankton, nekton, coral reefs and seagrass beds.  The course also discusses nutrients cycles and biological productivity of the oceans and their measurements; biology and adaptations of seashore and deep sea organisms (reproduction, nutrition, respiration, osmoregulation, etc.); bioluminescence and economic aspects of marine biology.

FAS 412: Aquaculture
3 Credit(s)

The course examines the principles underlying aquatic productivity and introduces students to the procedures for constructing holding facilities (ponds, cages, tanks, etc.) seed production and stocking are discussed. It gives an overview of systems of freshwater, marine and brackish water culture of finfish and shellfish. It also examines water quality (physico-chemical properties) of water and quantity in aquaculture. Students will study holding facilities with the view to managing/controlling them.  The course will also introduce students to feed and feeding of stocked species, including harvesting techniques and marketing strategies for the cultured products and general fish pond management.

FAS 413: Wetlands
3 Credit(s)

The course examines the types of wetlands with the emphasis on general characteristics of tropical wetlands.  Interactions of wetlands with other ecosystems will be addressed as well as productivity, biomass and turnover.  Human influence on wetlands as well as their economic, social and ecological importance is discussed.   Attention will also be paid to the indigenous and conventional methods of conserving the ecological integrity of wetlands.  Special reference will be made to designation of Ramsar sites.

FAS 414: Fisheries Science
3 Credit(s)

​​​​​​The course examines feeding and reproductive biology of fish of commercial importance, their age and growth parameters.  The interaction of reproduction, growth and mortality in fish production, and the use of these concepts in fisheries management are discussed.  Students are introduced to methods for the prediction of fisheries yields, stock assessment, and determination of indices of over fishing.  Also discussed are fishing methods, the effects of impoundments on fisheries and the characteristics of the Ghanaian fishing industry. Students will also be introduced to various types of fisheries practiced locally and internationally, exploitation methods of fisheries, International Law of the Sea, regional treaties, regulations and bodies responsible for fisheries management (such as ICCAT, CECAF, etc.). Role of the Ministry of Fisheries and community involvement in fisheries management will be discussed.

FAS 420: Introduction to Ecological Modelling
3 Credit(s)

This course will introduce students to the basic principles in ecological modelling, the types and functions and how they are used for scientific investigations. Students will also be exposed to relevant terminologies such as state variables, system state and simulation. The course will also present the basic steps for ecological modelling (i.e. model conceptualization, formulation, calibration and verification) which will be demonstrated using known ecological relations and data from field and laboratory observations.

Second Semester

FAS 416: Integrated Coastal Zone Management II
3 Credit(s)

​​​​​​The course exposes students to issues of the coastal zone, tools for ICZM and institutional and policy aspects of the coastal zone.  The issues address biodiversity loss including dwindling fisheries; pollution; erosion; sanitation and health; effects of climate change; poverty and conflict of interests.  The ICZM tools enable the students to acquire skills in information technology, data collection and analysis, survey methods, environmental quality monitoring (soil, water and air), EIA,SIA, valuation methods of resources, physical planning and management skills (communication, presentation, time management, negotiation conflict resolution).  The institutional and policy aspects examine district, national and inter-sectoral involvement.  The roles of traditional, institutional, social and cultural issues are discussed.  Inter-governmental and regional co-operation are examined as well as financial and legal issues.  Non-governmental and community initiatives are also discussed.

FAS 419: Aquatic Pollution
3 Credit(s)

The course introduces students to the phenomenon of pollution in aquatic ecosystems. A survey of pollutants, their sources and effects on aquatic abiotic parameters and biotic communities are presented. Organic pollution and biological oxygen demand, pollution indicators, effects of pollution on biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and strategies for prevention and handling pollution are discussed. Students are also introduced to the procedures of environmental impact assessment.

FAS 421: Petroleum Ecology
3 Credit(s)

This course will introduce students to general marine environment, physiography, coastal morphometry, marine resources and productivity.  Aspects Marine law and its application in the protection of marine environment, the rational exploitation of marine resources will be examined. Students will also be introduced to the science of oil and gas exploration, development and production. Oil pollution: behaviour, characteristics and impact on biota and coastal resources will be discussed. Students will also be exposed to the management of oil spills in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, impact assessment and clean-up. Ballast water ecology with focus on introduction of invasive species, the ecological significance of invasive species transfer, survival strategies of invasive species and implications on biodiversity conservation will be discussed. 

FAS 422: Introduction to issues in climate change
3 Credit(s)

The course introduces students to the concept and principles of underlining climate change. Causes and trends in the indicators of climate change are described at both global and local levels. Human-induced causes of climate change are elaborated with examples such as emission of greenhouse gases and deforestation. Trends in temperature, precipitation, and frequency and intensity of storms are highlighted as indicators of climate change. Emphasis is placed on the possible impacts of climate change including coastal flooding, erosion, ecosystem services, fish catches, etc. Mitigation and adaptation strategies to limit the effect of these impacts are discussed. The course then introduces students to effective communication strategies on climate change issues.

FAS 499: Research Project
3 Credit(s)

This will be a research project in any area of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of relevance to the Department. Projects will be undertaken by all students in the Final Year. While students are encouraged to select their own research topics of interest, the Department may offer some research topics as well. Students will be expected to identify problems in their field of study, write and defend a   project proposal aimed at finding solution(s) to the problem. Students will collect data, conduct analysis and prepare a report to be submitted at the end of their study.