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HNC Biological Sciences for Industry

This course is available to those aged over 18, working in or intending to work in, a biological sciences related career.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will need one of the following:

  • BTEC Level 3 qualification in Applied Science, minimum Merit, Merit, Merit (equivalent to 240 UCAS points)
  • GCSE grades at A*-C, or another related level 3 qualification with Biology at grade C or above (equivalent to 240 UCAS points)
  • 2 A Levels at grades A,A or A*,B or 3 A Levels at grades C,C,C or B,C,D or B,B,E
  • 2 A Levels plus 2 AS Levels at grades C,C or C,D
  • An Access to Higher Education Certificate received from an approved Further Education institution
  • Related work experience.
Course Content

The HNC qualification is made of up a of 120 credits in total:

  • 60 credits, mandatory across 4 units, 15 credits each, 60 global learning hours per unit
  • 60 credits, specialist across 4 units, 15 credits each, 60 global learning hours per unit

Mandatory core units (all 4 units must be taken)

Cell Biology 

This unit provides an understanding of the structure and function of cells including; how the cell divides, differentiates and adopts a position in order to perform a specialist role in a multi cellular organism. Learners also develop the skills necessary for growing cells in culture.

Laboratory Techniques for Applied Biology* 

Students have the opportunity to practise and use skills commonly used in practical biology. These include; microscopy, titration, spectroscopy, chromatography and the use of aseptic technique.

Analysis of Scientific Data and Information*

You will develop skills in mathematical and statistical techniques for the analysis of scientific data, together with an understanding of the limitations in reporting results.

Work- based Investigation*

This unit enables students to gain credit for work-based practical investigations, either as an individual or as part of a team. Students will plan, undertake and monitor progress and communicate the outcomes.


Specialist subjects chosen to reflect local company requirements

Industrial Microbiology

Students will learn about the legislation and use of microorganisms in industrial and commercial applications, such as COSHH, HACCAP and ACDP. The topic covers techniques needed to prevent and detect microbial contamination.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

You will look at Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) measures and procedures, methods of expressing quality, and the benefits of accreditation such as BSI, ISO and UKAS.

Laboratory Management

Students study the organisation of different types of laboratories, and compare the processes associated with their management. You will cover the detailed design of a laboratory and day-to-day working requirements.

Chemistry for Applied Biologists

This unit covers bonding, thermodynamics, reaction rates, equilibrium, oxidation and reduction, and organic chemistry. These are necessary to make possible the understanding of aspects of the biological sciences.

How will I be taught?

The HNC is based around coursework. Students will be taught using a mixture of lectures, practical work, tutorials, workshops and independent research.

Each student will have access to a Tutor, to support their studies throughout the year.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is carried out in a variety of ways. This is to promote a deeper understanding of the subject and allow you to develop your skills through tasks such as:

  • Reports
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Experimental write ups
  • Scientific investigations
  • Practical demonstrations.

Each unit is broken down into assignments. These are awarded either a Pass, Merit or Distinction, which contributes towards an overall final grade for each student.

What will it allow me to do in the future?

The Pearson BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma in Biological Sciences for Industry (QCF) offers progression to an undergraduate degree or further professional qualification in Biological Sciences or other related areas. Successful students will be able to seek employment within the industry.

Course Information

The College has no residential student accommodation and students normally make their own arrangements as regards where they live.

This course information is accurate at the time of publishing but is subject to change.

Further Information

If you would like further information about this course or South Downs College, please call 023 9279 7979 or email college@southdowns.ac.uk

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