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Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society

About us



24 June 2016: The UK referendum decision to leave the European Union will NOT affect this programme as confirmed by the European project office. We have a signed agreement that will stand for three cohorts of students: The current students who started their 2-year degree in 2015, the incoming 2016 cohort as well as a 2017 intake. The programme will continue to provide students with outstanding training and networking opportunities in Scotland, Greece and France. The future beyond the completion of the course starting in 2017 is uncertain.


  • Fully funded Erasmus Mundus scholarships      

  • Study in three European countries

  • Great employment opportunities

If you want the opportunity to be taught by a team of international experts, the chance to study in three fantastic locations in Europe and gain the skills required to address food security - an issue of global importance - then this is the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree for you!

Our Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (EM JMD ACES) will give you a unique opportunity to study in the United Kingdom, Crete and France, as well as allowing you to gain the practical and theoretical skills needed for a successful career in aquaculture through industry-led research programmes and fieldwork.

This full-time, 2 year course is specifically targeted at highly talented European and international students with a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in one of the fields of aquacultyre, marine science, marine biology, biology, environmental or social sciences, who wish to advance their skills.

We are now accepting applications for fully funded scholarships for the next academic year of the EM JMD ACES programme, starting in September 2017. Applications from EU and non-EU candidates are welcome - the programme is aimed at students from all over the world. Scholarships will cover tuition fees, living and travel expenses. This website contains all the information you need to know about the programme, but you can also contact our Education Administrator, Helen Bury, via email The closing date for scholarship applications is early February 2017.

You can also find out more about the ACES programme in an article which has been featured as a case study in the European Funding Bulletin of April 2015.

If you are committed to developing the specialist and practical skills needed to address the challenges and pressures facing an industry which is set to become globally the fastest growing animal-food producing sector, then we would love to hear from you! 


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  • "We really challenged them but they were receptive to being taken out of their comfort zone. This is a very talented group of students who are incredibly privileged to have access to the Erasmus Mundus scholarship - one of the most generous scholarships I have come across", said Dr Alex Bielak, Associated Fellow of the United Nations University, who was recently at SAMS with Louise Shaxon of the Overseas Development Institute to deliver an international science communications masterclass to our students. Check out this link for more information!
  • The EM JMD scholarship round for the 2016 student intake is now closed. Up to 25 fully funded scholarships, however, will be available (on a competitive basis) for the 2017 intake of the programme and the closing date with be February 2017.
  • See our latest news releases here
  • As our first cohort of EM JMD students are now at the University of Crete, SAMS News has put together a short film about Crete and its University. What a fantastic place in which to spend your second semester - check out this link for more information!

Information on our website is available in English. However, it can be made available in other languages - please contact us if you require a translation of relevant information.



biofilter-aquaculture-samsThe Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society is a 120-ECTS course that runs for two years. During the first 3 semesters of the programme, students will study in a different EU country. To ensure course and group integration, the entire cohort of students will re-locate to different universities and institutes during these semesters.  Although students will spend Semester 4 in different locations (of their choice), they will celebrate the end of their studies as an entire group at a final student research conference and goodbye event.

"This new ERASMUS Programme clearly takes into account the priorities identified in EATiP's "The Future of European Aquaculture" strategic agenda and is built on feedback from the industry."

C. Hough, General Secretary EATiP

You can find out more about the modules taught during each semester, including teaching methods and assessments, by clicking on the following links:

  • Semester 1: SAMS, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK
  • Semester 2: University of Crete, Greece - focus on finfish aquaculture
  • Semester 3: University of Nantes, France - focus on shellfish aquaculture
  • Semester 4: research projects in Oban, Nantes or Crete

Final conference and goodbye event: SAMS UHI, Oban, UK

Find out about some of the course lecturers and key personnel...



The Erasmus Mundus AquaCulture, Environment and Society Joint Master Degree has been designed to address the major scientific, technological and social obstactles facing the sustainable development of the global aquaculture industry. More...


The ACES Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree runs for two years (= four semesters) and involves study periods in three different European countries (UK, France and Greece) in order to benefit from different welfare models, teaching strengths and the experience of living in different cultures and societies. More...


A professional skills development plan has been built into the EM JMD ACES programme. This is specifically designed to support key skills and competences required by the aquaculture industry. More...


Assessments have been designed to test and develop students' practical and academic skills. For most modules, assessment will be based on two different types of assignment, one written and one presentation or reflection-based. More...  



Successful graduates will receive a Joint Master Degree from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Crete and a Single Degree from the University of Nantes in line with national legislation. More...

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How to apply

To apply for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society, you must look at our eligibility requirements. If you meet the requirements, then please follow the process below.  If you are unsure or have any questions, contact us at

To apply for a place on the programmme, you will need to download TWO application forms, complete both of these in full in English and then email them back to Helen Bury at, together with the additional information listed below.  Please note that there is no separate application process for the Erasmus Mundus JMD scholarships.

If you have previously studied outside the United Kingdom, we would normally accept the equivalent qualification from a recognised university. If you are uncertain about whether your qualification(s) and/or experience are equivalent to or meet the requirements of the EM JMD ACES programme, please contact us.  

Postgraduate SAMS students Zoe and AndyThe following documents should be emailed to us at as part of your application:

  1. Completed EM JMD ACES application form (in Microsoft Word) in English, including a 350-word statement of motivation and 350-word essay reflecting on your professional experience and understanding of the issue facing the aquaculture industry. 
  2. Completed UHI International Student Application Form (applicable for ALL students, including European). This is a standard UHI application form, which needs to be completed in English. However, for the Course Details section please insert UHI-SAMS; and please leave blank the Personal Statement in this form, as it will be included in the EM JMD ACES application form above.
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV) in freestyle format
  4. A professional reference
  5. Copy of your passport
  6. Copy of your degree certificate (plus certified translation into English if applicable)
  7. Copy of your transcript of marks (plus certified translation into English if applicable)
  8. Copy of your IELTS English language test result with validity until the end of Sept 2016 (You must have official proof of your English proficiency by the time you apply for the ACES course)

Please read the information about statements and references.

Application deadlines

  • Non-European and European EM JMD scholarship applications: 17 February 2017 (Intake 3)
  • Self-funded applications: 5 June 2016 (intake 2 - Sept 2016 start date)

Certified translations

If any of your documents (e.g. official degree certificate, transcript or professional reference) were not issued in English, then you will need to provide a certified translation that is verified by your university, an official translator, embassy or lawyer.  This translation may be checked by the EM JMD ACES admissions team.  Misleading translations can lead to the rejection of otherwise eligible and complete applications.  

Use of Personal Data

Please note, your personal data will be sent to the EACEA and may be used by other bodies involved in the management of of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EM JMD) acting as stakeholders of the programme (i.e. the European Commission, Erasmus + National Offices, EU Delegations, Erasmus Mundus Student bodies) for the purpose of facilitating student access to the joint programme. 

Information relating to individuals is collected and used in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 45-2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18.12.2000 of the Protection of Individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data (OJ L8 of 12.1.2001, p 1).

More information

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Scholarships and fees

Course Fees

The tuition fees for the EM JMD ACES will be:

  • Tuition fees for European graduate students (Category B students, see below): € 4,500 per year, € 9,000 for the full academic programme
  • Tuition fees for Third-country graduate student (Category A students, see below): € 9,000 per year,  € 18,000 for the full academic programme


The different tuition fees are connected to the University regulations. The Consortium Committee may revise the fees for further editions of the Masters Programme.

Tuition fees must be paid in full to the coordinating institution at the start of each academic year or accept the deduction of that amount out of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship according to the Students Agreement. Please contact for more information on payment details.


Category A - Partner Country - is open to students who are not nationals of an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Students cannot be residents of these countries nor have carried out their main activity (studies, training or work) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any of these countries.The five-year reference period for this 12-month rule is caluculated backwards as from the submission deadline (defined by the consortia) of applying for an EM JMD student scholarship.

Category B - Programme Country - is available to all applicants that do not meet the criteria for Category A (this includes all nationals of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey and FYROM, as well as, people who have spent more than a total of 12 months in the EU over the last five years).

What is included in the Tuition Fees?

The participation costs (or Tuition fees) are designed to be inclusive in relation to academic provision.  The following services are therefore included:

  • tuition and examination fees
  • access to library and electronic resources
  • computing facilities
  • costs of short fieldtrips/ industry site related to a particular module
  • language classes (French and Greek) that are an integral part of the EM JMD ACES programme
  • access to university sport and medical facilties where available 
  • Insurance - this includes accident and health insurance satisfying the 'minimum requirements for the health and accident insurance coverage' as published by the EACEA in its guidelines for Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees.
What is NOT included in the tuition fees for NON-EM JMD Scholarship holders?
  • travel to/from EM JMD ACES institutions
  • visa-related costs
  • residence permits
  • accommodation
  • personal living expenses
  • textbooks that the student decides to purchase
  • personal computers
  • optional 10 day fieldtrip overseas*
*It is anticipated that the optional fieldtrip to Chile in 2016 will cost approximately €2500


The EM JMD ACES will propose best ranked students to be awarded with individual Erasmus Mundus scholarships according to the student selection criteria approved by the EACEA and the Erasmus Mundus programme guidelines. The number of scholarships will be defined on a yearly basis.

The concession of the scholarship will be subjected to the following limitations:

  • Exclusively full-time enrolment.
  • Not being awarded with other EU grants for the same joint course over the length of the course concerned.
  • No more than two of the students with the same nationality.


Two scholarship categories are established: Partner Country students (Category A) and Programme Country students (Category B).

Category A is open to students who are not nationals of an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).  In addition, scholarship holders cannot be residents of these countries nor have carried out their main activity (studies, training or work) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any of these countries. The five year reference period for this 12-month rule is calculated backwards as from the submission deadline (defined by the consortia) of applying for an EM JMD student scholarship.

Category B is available to all applicants that do not meet the criteria for Category A.


Contribution to travel and installation costs

  • € 1,000 per year per scholarship holder resident of a Programme Country for travel, visa and installation costs
  • € 2,000 per year for travel costs + € 1,000 for installabtion costs for scholarship holder resident of a Partner Country whose location is situated at less than 4,000 km from the EM JMD coordinating institution (i.e. UHI-SAMS).
  • €3,000 per year for travel costs + € 1,000 for installation costs for scholarship holder resident of a Partner Country whose location is situated at 4,000 km or more from the EM JMD coordinating institution (i.e., UHI-SAMS).


It is the responsibility of the consortium to verify the place of residence of the student candidate. The place of residence should be verified on the basis of the provision of:

  • A residence certificate issued in accordance with the candidate's municipality normal registation rules;
  • A certificate from the candidate's place of work, study or training issued by the employer or institution in question.


Contribution to monthly alllowance (for both programme and partner country scholarship holders)

€ 1,000 per month for the entire duration of the EM JMD study programme (i.e. 24 months). This monthly allowance must NOT be given to:

  • Scholarship holders for the EM JMD period (study/research/placement/thesis preparation) spent in their country of residence.


EM JMD ACES also accepts students on a self-financing basis who pay their tuition fees and cover living costs from private sources or other scholarships. The academic conditions for admissions are the same for all students regardless of sources of funding, therefore the general conditions of eligibility apply to self-financing students as well.

Please note that EM JMD ACES is very competitive, only the highest ranked of the selected applicants will be offered an Erasmus Mundus scholarship.  Other accepted applicants will be placed on the reserve list for Erasmus Mundus scholarships. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding.

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Our people

Our people

'The opportunity to have a global perspective on aquaculture and to learn practical skills and best practice from countries where different parts of the sector are more advanced than our own is critical.'

T. Legg, Jersey Sea Farms

In this part of the website you can find out more about the universities, partners, staff and students who make up the Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society by clicking on the following links: 

From time to time we invite applications from guest scholars to teach on the ACES programme. Please keep an eye on our website for regular updates and click here for further general information: More


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Careers and employability

So, once you finish your 2-year programme with us, what can you do with your qualification?


The objectives and format of the course mean that ACES graduates will be equipped to work in senior management roles in a wide range of settings, including fin and shell-fish farms, environmental and regulatory organisations, international trade organisations, and non-governmental organisations. 

Expected career paths include:

  • Company manager: work with a team to innovate and develop farm operations to boost productivity.
  • Policy and strategy: develop aquaculture-related procedures, guidelines and policies
  • Project development: create and implement aquaculture-related projects.
  • Applied research: design and carry out research into environmental and/or social issues and the effectiveness of certain practices and innovations in the aquaculture industry.
  • Stakeholder partnership: build networks and collaboration, especially to raise the profile of the aquaculture industry and develop consensus to promote sustainable practices.

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Interaction with industry

The Erasmus Plus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES) is geared towards developing professional practice and policy. Close links with the aquaculture industry and legislators are central to this course. Course objectives explicitly promote the interests of the industry and cooperation with other professionals.

“I believe this course will bring new ideas and ways of thinking into the European aquaculture sector”

Dr Tim Atack, Managing Director, FAI Aquaculture Ltd


ACES Nantes 12

Each university of the consortium will facilitate links between students, local industry and regulators through invited lectures, fieldtrips, workshops and networking events for the exchange of information, knowledge and contacts. Dedicated industry placements have been built into Semester 4, so that learning is applied and developed in an industry-based setting, where students can benefit from exposure to this type of environment. 

Further details of our industry-based partners can be found by clicking on this link: Industry partners


News and features

Press releases and news stories



  • ACES Masters students visit Fusion Marine


Frequently asked questions

How do I find accommodation?Finding accommodation in a foreign country seems like a daunting task but it can usually be achieved in several days through advance planning and flexibility.  The consortium universities have dedicated support services that offer information to make your search for accommodation easier.  Please note that the teams cannot always find accommodation on your behalf.

SAMS UHI, Oban, Scotland, UK

Students starting Semester 1 in September have the choice of SAMS accommodation (subject to availability), but can also choose to rent via the private sector.  West Property is a good place to start with finding a room privately.  Oban is a small town so it is relatively easy to find accommodation and most places will be within three miles of the campus, which is located in Dunbeg, a village on the outskirts of Oban. Dunbeg has regular public transport links to Oban (10 min journey) and surrounding villages - please see attached bus timetable

To check on the availability of SAMS accommodation, please contact Helen Bury, Education Administrator:

University of Crete, Greece

The International Relations Office (IRO) of the University of Crete will support EM JMD ACES students to find accommodation at a reasonable price in either hostels or private apartments.  Unfortunately there is no student accommodation on the university campus.  For assistance with finding accommodation, please contact Aria Daskalaki, ERAMUS IRO:

University of Nantes, France

The International Relations Office (IRO) has long experience of supporting incoming international students to quickly and efficiently locating university and private-sector accommodation.  Please contact

Research Conference, Oban

Affordable, hostel accommodation will be available to students for the Semester 4 Research Conference in Oban.  Please contact Polly Crooks, Academic Registry Office:

What support is available to obtain a student visa?Students coming from outside the European Union will need to obtain study visas to take part in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (ACES) programme.  Unfortunately the Schengen system for visas within most European Union states does not cover study or other types of long-term visas and thus students need to obtain a visa from each country where they spend a semester. 

Generally, students will obtain a Short-Term Study Visa visa for Semester 1 studies from their countries of residency.  Visas for Semesters 2, 3 and 4 can be obtained during the EM JMD ACES programme. Please note, a Short-Term Study Visa does not allow you to undertake any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, in the UK and you cannot leave the UK, even for a holiday, for the duration of the visa, otherwise your permission to re-enter the UK will be withdrawn. If you have any queries, please contact the Education Administrator at

Please consult the following websites about the visas required for the first year of study:

Please note that visa-related costs are not included in the participation costs for the ACES programme. 

How high is the workload for EM JMD ACES?EM JMD ACES is a full-time Master programme and students will be expected to engage in academic work for approximately 30-35 hours each week, which includes formal teaching, small group work sessions and independent study in the library and at home.  The workload may vary between weeks and during assessment periods.  Please bear in mind that the scheduling and level of formal teaching input offered to students do vary between universities and countries. 

Who else will I study with?Approximately 15 students are expected to start in September 2016, which will be the second of three cohorts for the EM JMD ACES programme.  To give you an idea of the possible diversity of students, we’ve already had enquiries from applicants in India, Kenya, Bangladesh, Philippines, Germany, France and the USA. 

Will I meet local students during the programme?Certainly!  First of all, we will try to match you with local students in each institution through a ‘buddy’ system. Social events and occasional joint teaching events will also allow you to meet local students on other courses. Several of the universities involved in EM JMD ACES participate in other Erasmus Mundus Master programmes, making it possible to link you to members of this community. You will be officially enrolled in all the universities you attend, so you can meet other students through various clubs, leisure facilities and extracurricular activities. 

For example, at the University of Nantes there are several student associations; l'Association Autour du Monde ESN Nantes, association des etudiants internationaux.

How will I study?The teaching activities are designed to promote active learning with much use of discussion, questions, problems and dilemmas.  Instead of only traditional lectures and seminars, you will also be involved in small group work, case studies, role plays and discussions to explore new issues.  Outside class, reading and research will help you to learn more about the topics.

What types of assessment will be used?The assessments are designed to be part of your learning and are not just a way of checking your knowledge. Both academic and practical skills will be developed through a wide range of assignments such as presentations, reflective journals, case simulations, business plans, posters and case analyses.  For further details, please look at the assessments listed for each module. 

Is industry-based research included in the programme?Yes. The research project in Semester 4  will run in collaboration with an industrial partner. This is a key feature of the EM JMD ACES programme as we believe this has a crucial role in developing entrepreneurial skills and providing networking opportunities.  You will also engage in aquarium-based practicals and field work throughout the other semesters. Here you can extend and apply your academic learning. 

What degree will I receive at the end of the programme?If you successfully pass all assignments for the EM JMD ACES programme, then you will receive a Joint Master Degree from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Crete and a Single Degree from the University of Nantes in line with national legislation. All the national degree certificates are internationally recognised and have the same status as those received by students on local degree programmes. This situation arises because higher education in the European Union is regulated at national rather than international level. In addition, you will receive a diploma supplement that explains the joint nature of the programme and why you have received two degrees. We recommend that you explain to employers and universities that you graduated from an international Master programme that awards Joint and multiple degrees.

Can I specialise in a particular area of aquaculture-related work?All of the ACES modules seek to improve your skills as a manager and/or researcher.  The focus is on cross-cutting competences, for example communication, decision-making, project development and applied research. However, we have provided two optional modules in each semester which will enable you to make some choices about your direction of study. Within each module, there is also scope for further choice because you can pursue your own interests by choosing the topic of your assignments, presentations and wider reading.  The research project in Semester 4 is also an excellent way of gaining deeper knowledge and skills about a particular issue. 

Are there opportunities to meet local businesses/ managers?One of the aims of the ACES programmes is to build an international community of managers in the aquaculture-related industries/ government agencies. This means bringing you together with local businesses, for example through networking events, guest lectures and fieldtrips to local companies.  We will try to match particular interests and specialisms so that you can exchange experience and ideas.

Can I choose where I spend Semester 4? Students will be divided equally between all three ACES universities for their research projects.  You will be asked about your preferred location and knowledge of languages, but the final matching will be based on the availability of supervision and fieldwork opportunities around your chosen research topic.  All students will have two supervisors, one from the ACES teaching team and another from the host partner. Supervision arrangements and marking procedures will be alike for all students across universities.  Semester 4 finishes with a research conference and goodbye event that brings all students together. 

Can I conduct research in my home country during Semester 4?No – your research project must incorporate fieldwork from your Semester 4 location, so that you gain international experience and can also stay in close contact with your supervisor and other students.

How can I prepare for the programme?

Some preliminary reading will be emailed to you in late July as informal preparation for the programme.  In preparation for your studies at the University of Nantes, it is recommended that you email the International Relations Office at no later than the May preceeding the start of your studies in France.

How will my scholarship be paid?For students receiving an Erasmus Plus scholarship, the participation costs (tuition fees) will be transferred automatically to the ACES consortium. 

The living allowance component of the scholarship will be paid at the end of each month directly to your bank account. It takes a minimum of 2-3 weeks to obtain a bank account in most of the EU countries in the consortium. This means that students starting the programme in late August 2015 will need to bring sufficient funds to live in the UK for several weeks until their bank account is established. 

For scholarship holders, the travel element of the funding package will be paid in two instalments, i.e. €3000 or €4000 (Category A) and €1000 (Category B) at the beginning of each academic year.  European Commission rules state that these payments can only be made once students are officially enrolled in the respective university. This means that all scholarship holders must pay for their initial travel to Oban (United Kingdom) in September 2015 from their own resources. The travel-related element of the scholarship will be paid as soon as candidates have opened their UK bank account.  Please note that this travel element of the scholarship must also pay for the travel expenses between the partner universities.

Am I entitled to a monthly subsistence allowance when spending a semester or any period of the Joint Master Degree in my country of resident?No - scholarship holders who spend a semester or any period of the Joint Master Degree (whether as study/research/placement/thesis preparation) in their country of residence will not receive a monthly subsistence allowance.

Do I need to take out insurance?Medical and travel insurance is included in the participation costs for ACES and organised by the consortium.  Students will be provided with details of the policy in the summer before enrolment along with information about how to use medical services in the various ACES countries.

What costs are not included in the funding package?Personal computers and textbooks are not included because the libraries of ACES universities have substantial textbook holdings, computers and electronic resources. Students from outside the European Union will need to pay for their study visas and residence permits. All students will also have to pay for the optional international field trip planned for the end of Semester 1 to Chile in 2016, which will be approximately €2500.

What flights and travel will I need to undertake during the programme?The ACES programme involves considerable mobility across Europe in order to expand your academic and social experiences.  You will change location each semester and also attend a Research Conference at the end of the programme.  Most flights within the European Union are reasonably inexpensive if booked in advance (less than €100 one-way). 

What is the cost of living in various countries?Living costs vary between the various university cities you will visit during the ACES course.  Costs in the UK and France (Nantes) are generally higher than Crete.  Universities have provided the following estimates as general guidance:

Oban, UK: Accommodation with utilities costs approximately GBP £325 to £480 per month, meaning that overall monthly expenses, including daily fare for public transportation if living off campus, are probably GBP £800-£900 or €950-£1000. For general living costs you can find useful information on how to budget on the International student calculator website.

Crete, Greece: The recommended monthly budget to live in Crete is approximately €800; including accommodation, food and additional expenses.

Nantes, France: The recommended monthly budget to live in Nantes is approximately €570 - 900. Please CLICK HERE for a more detailed breakdown of costs.

Can I get in touch with other ACES students before the programme starts?Over the summer, you will receive details of the other students on the ACES programme and a Facebook page will be created so you can meet each other virtually and exchange information.  In addition, many countries have an Erasmus Mundus alumni association whose representatives can offer advice and suggestions.  Please visit the website of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association for more information.

Do I need to sign a contract to enrol on the ACES programme?Each ACES student needs to sign a Student Agreement that sets out their rights and also responsibilities.  A sample copy will be available to download soon. Each candidate will be emailed an agreement containing their specific details. We will ask you to email a signed copy to us and then to bring the original with you when you start the programme. Please email if you have any queries about the Student Agreement. 

How will I find accommodation?For Semester 1, due to the very limited amount of student accommodation owned by SAMS, ACES students will be expected to find and rent a property (flat/shared house) in the private sector. Information to help you find accommodation in Crete during Semester 2 will be circulated in October 2016 after your arrival in Oban. 

Moving between countries is inevitably daunting but it can also be a very positive experience in terms of gaining confidence and independence in unfamiliar situations.  ACES students will only spend a maximum of 5-6 months in one location, which will make their accommodation search somewhat specific. University accommodation may not be automatically available, but each ACES institution can provide advice on how to find somewhere to live, including the best location and rental procedures. In most cases, you will probably share a flat or house with local or other Erasmus students. You may be able to arrange accommodation, view photos and organise viewings before you actually arrive in a city.

As background information, websites are a good place to start in terms of identifying accommodation available locally. Please note, however, that the mobility associated with the ACES course means that not all accommodation listed will be suitable. For example, some landlords want to let their property for longer periods, say up to a year or even longer.

How will I apply for my visas?

Study visas for EU countries are subject to national legislation (even within the Schengen zone) and it will, therefore, be necessary to apply for a separate visa in advance of each semester of study.  Local coordinators in each university will provide information and guidance on how to apply.  Please note that the cost of a visa is not included in funding packages.

Details for applying for a Short-Term Study Visa (for Semester 1 in the United Kingdom) will be sent in late May 2016.  Please note that the earliest you can apply for a UK visa is three months before your arrival date. Official offer letters will be sent once students have met all the conditions of their offer (for example English language criteria or provision of all application documents).

There are specific restrictions associated with a Study Visa, such as employment and travel. Please see the guidance above and if you have any queries please contact the United Kingdom Border Agency or the Education Administrator at

When does the ACES programme start?Students will need to arrive in Oban, United Kingdom, by Sunday 28 August 2016 at the very latest. During your first week, you will complete administrative formalities to enrol on the programme, get acquainted with SAMS and Oban, and meet other students.  The academic programme, including a series of induction events involving colleagues from all consortium universities, and will start on Monday 29 August 2016.  The programme ends in July 2018.

Do I get holidays?Absolutely!  You will receive two weeks each for Christmas and Easter.  Between the first and second years of the programme, you will be free from early August until early September, although where you travel may be limited due to your visa conditions.

Do I have to attend the second-year Research Conference?The Research Conference is an integral part of the ACES programme and an important learning event. The conference will give you the opportunity to present your work to a wide ranging audience of academics and industry, meet a wide range of industry representatives, and also reconnect with the rest of your group. Moreover, you will meet the cohorts of ACES students from different years. Participation is therefore compulsory.

2016-17 calendar

Sun 28 Aug 16Latest arrival date in Oban
29 Aug/3 Sep 16Launch of Induction Week and ACES 2015 cohort: joint welcome from staff of all academic partners/institutions
2/3 Sep 16SAMS UHI induction events for ACES students
3 Sep 16ACES team event
5 Sep 16Academic induction for ACES programme
5 SepSemester 1 starts
19 Dec - 4 Jan 17Winter holidays
5 Feb 17End of semester 1
Week 22 Feb 17Students move to Crete
25 Feb 17Semester 2 starts
Dates TBCSpring holidays
8 Jul 2017End of Semester 2


Contact us

ACES logo

T: +44 (0) 1631 559 000

Funding provider

Erasmus Plus logo


UHI logo

University of Crete logo

University of Nantes logo


The information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge, but not contractual. SAMS does not accept any liability for any mistake or omission.