Applied Sciences HNC

Course code 0CFG

What is special about this course?

The HNC Applied Sciences is a wide-ranging course, covering the theoretical and practical aspects of modern sciences. You will study ecology, environmental issues, and the core sciences; develop your laboratory skills; and improve your research and writing skills.

You will learn a broad range of sciences, such as Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Environmental disciplines. Developing scientific theoretical knowledge and scientific communication and presentations skills. The Graded Unit gives you the opportunity to conduct specialised research in a topic that will hone your scientific knowledge in your chosen field for progression. 

The course includes a large amount of training in essential practical skills within the laboratory that are relevant to local and national employers. You will acquire knowledge of Health and Safety Systems and Good Laboratory Practice, developing skills of experimentation, analysis and reporting in practical sessions, skills that are highly transferrable to employment and further study. Be prepared to spend plenty of hands on time in the lab, conducting experiments and processing your results in the Laboratory Skills unit. 

Basic skills in Maths and Statistics are covered to enhance scientific analysis of experimental and field data. 

The ethical and environmental issues raised by these units will be discussed in the Environmental Awareness unit. 

Where possible, you will be invited on site visits to local science industries and given the opportunity to appreciate and understand the key issues and problems the industry encounters, all valuable experience for entering the science industry.

Special features

  • You can study full time or part time to suit your personal and professional circumstances
  • Lectures and laboratory sessions are all conducted face to face on campus
  • 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, Biology, Physics 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:

Semester 1

  • DNA and Genetics (Inverness only)
  • Mathematics for science
  • Statistics for science

Semester 2

  • Applied sciences: graded unit
  • Fundamental chemistry: theory and laboratory skills
  • Cell biology: theory and laboratory skills

Semesters 1 and 2

  • Laboratory skills for science industries
  • Physics for life sciences (Inverness only)

Optional units may include:
Semester 1

  • Biotechnology: an introduction (Moray only)
  • Environmental awareness
  • Quality and health and safety systems in science industries

Semester 2

  • Ecology and ecosystems
  • Fundamental chemistry: an introduction
  • Maths for science 2 (Inverness only)
  • Microbiology: theory and laboratory skills (Moray only)

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

How will I study my course?

  • 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 @ 3-4 days per week
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness
  • Moray

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) 2023-24 2024-25
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) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,110 £7,110
Part-time (per HN credit) £474 £474

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) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,980 £8,775
Part-time (per HN credit) £532 £585

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


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Employment opportunities are typically at technician or researcher level in science-related industries, such as hospital laboratories, life science industry, material, environmental and microbiology laboratories.

Can I progress into further study?

The course will prepare you for further study in many science disciplines in Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, and Physics, such as biotechnology, immunology, genetics, zoology, biochemistry, ecology, and medical physics.

On successful completion of this course, you may be able to progress onto the first or second year of our degree programmes, including: 

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Applied Sciences HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

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.