Applied Sciences HNC

Course code 0CFG

What is special about this course?

The HNC Applied Sciences is a wide-ranging course providing a strong base for progression to higher level scientific study and on to more advanced level science.

You will study a range of topics including cell biology, chemistry, ecology, maths and physics for life science. Throughout the course you will acquire a range of practical skills and experience in science disciplines to prepare you for employment or further study.  

Special features

  • You can study full time or part time to suit your personal and professional circumstances
  • You will undertake practical science skills training in a laboratory environment


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above
  • The Higher or A level should be in a science-related subject, preferably Biology, Chemistry or Physics. You should also have a minimum credit level Standard Grade or National 5 Chemistry or Biology or equivalent OR
  • NC or NQ in a Science subject such as NQ Access to Science or NC Applied Science
  • Alternatively, completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship Food and Drink Technologies, plus a Scottish Higher in Science and National 5 Chemistry or Biology (or equivalent) OR
  • Foundation Apprenticeship Scientific Technologies (Laboratory Skills) plus National 5 Chemistry or Biology (or equivalent)
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply, relevant work experience will be taken into consideration
  • You may be required to attend an interview

Year 1 - HNC

Mandatory units may include:

  • Applied sciences: graded unit
  • Laboratory skills for science industries
  • Fundamental chemistry: theory and laboratory skills
  • Cell biology: theory and laboratory skills
  • Physics for life science (Inverness College only)


  • Mathematics for science (excluding Argyll College UHI)
  • Statistics for science (excluding Perth College UHI)
  • Biochemistry: theory and laboratory skills (Inverness College UHI and Perth College UHI only)
  • Physics for life sciences (Inverness only)

Optional units may include:

  • Biology: an introduction (Argyll College UHI only)
  • Biotechnology: an introduction (Inverness  College UHI and Moray College UHI only)
  • DNA and genetics (Argyll College UHI and Perth College UHI only)
  • Ecology and Ecosystems (Argyll College UHI and Inverness College UHI only)
  • Fundamental chemistry: an introduction
  • Human body structure and funcion (excluding Inverness College UHI)
  • Mathematics for science 2 (Inverness College UHI only)
  • Microbiology: theory and laboratory skills (excluding inverness College UHI)
  • Organic chemstry: theory and laboratory skills (Perth College UHI only)
  • Physics (Argyll College UHI only)
  • Quality and health and safety systems in science industries (Inverness College UHI only)
  • Science industry: key issues

Option units available may vary depending on study location, for more information contact your chosen campus.

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as restrictions shift and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. From September, where practical and safe to do so, on-campus practical delivery will be prioritised and placements introduced in line with the Scottish Government guidance, including social distancing. Where this is not possible alternative options will be available. The theory elements may be delivered online through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. Further information will be provided by your home campus. You will have an opportunity to attend an online, face to face or blended induction at the start of the course. International students requiring a Student Route visa to study with us must access scheduled classes on-campus.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will study by way of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, and laboratory-based practical sessions
  • Assessment includes continuous assessment of lab and course work

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • Perth College UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £6,720 £6,915
Part-time (per HN credit) £448 £461

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £7,020 £7,230
Part-time (per HN credit) £468 £482

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Careers available include working in biological sciences.

Can I progress into further study?

Progression to the second year of the BSc (Hons) Bioscience may be possible on successful completion of the HNC Applied Science (minimum 120 points required). You may also like to consider the BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences or other relevant degrees.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I like the more hands-on aspects of the course, especially in Chemistry as we have the opportunity to undertake a lot of experiments. I also enjoy the self-study as it allows me to balance my course work around my other commitments.

Chris Brebner, student, HNC Applied Sciences 2015-16.

This has been a really good stepping stone to get the extra qualifications and to test out college before embarking on a degree course.
My ultimate goal is to be a pathologist so I have applied to do anatomy. The human body structure and function unit on this course has been really helpful for that and it’s been great to get an opportunity to finally learn the stuff I really want to learn.  

Anna Whitelaw studied HNC Applied Sciences at Argyll College UHI.

Apply for Applied Sciences HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.