Bioscience HNC

Course code 009C

What is special about this course?

Begin your journey into the highly varied and interesting field of bioscience with our comprehensive introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of modern sciences. Explore a wide range of topics such as ecology, environmental issues, and the core sciences, develop your lab skills, improve your research and writing abilities, and brush up on your basic maths and statistics so that you are confidently capable of undertaking scientific analysis of experimental and field data. 

Learn a broad range of sciences, such as chemistry, biology, physics, and environmental disciplines, developing your scientific theoretical knowledge, communication, and presentation skills throughout your studies. Take the opportunity to conduct specialised research during the graded unit, selecting a topic that will hone your scientific knowledge in your chosen field for progression, and gain valuable insight, understanding, and appreciation of the innovations and responses to the challenges and issues currently faced by the industry, via potential opportunities for site visits to local industry employers.

Best of all, be prepared to spend plenty of hands-on time in the lab, conducting experiments and processing your results, with extensive training in essential practical skills that are relevant to local and national employers. Acquire detailed knowledge of health and safety systems and good lab practices in practical sessions, developing highly transferrable skills of experimentation, analysis, and reporting, all of which will stand you in great stead throughout your career and in any further studies. 

Special features

  • Lectures and lab sessions are all conducted face-to-face on campus
  • Undertake practical science skills training in a laboratory environment
  • Gain the knowledge, understanding and skills required for success in current and future employment or for progression to further academic and/or professional qualifications


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

Entry requirements

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

Year 1 - HNC

You will study the following modules:

  • Animal and plant cell culture: an introduction
  • Biochemistry: theory and practice
  • Bioscience: graded unit 1
  • Biotechnology: an introduction
  • Cell biology: theory and practice
  • Chemistry and physics for life sciences
  • Environmental awareness
  • Genetics
  • Information technology: applications software 1
  • Livestock physiology: an introduction
  • Microorganisms: growth, activity and significance
  • Plant growth and development
  • Plant physiology
  • Quality health and safety systems in science industries
  • Small scale rural electrical energy systems

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • 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 (including 17 hours per week contact time) for 34 weeks

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Perth

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

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

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

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying (see the Funding section opposite).

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



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?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Food industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Public sector (e.g. NHS)
  • Environmental/ecology jobs

Can I progress into further study?

The HNC Bioscience will prepare you for further study in many science disciplines in Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, and Physics, such as:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Medical physics
  • Zoology

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

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Bioscience 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.