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What's Involved

The Applied Biology BTEC (QCF) HNC course, awarded by Pearson, provides students with the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills to succeed in employment in biologically-based industries. The course is suitable for those already working in a range of science-based industries, such as veterinary and biomedical diagnostics, nutrition, laboratory analysis, and those looking to gain employment in applied biology fields.

Did you know?

Biological scientists can earn up to £31.50 an hour in the Greater London area.

Students receive a rich and varied curriculum encompassing the latest understanding in this dynamic field, as well as hands-on experience of practical techniques in the modern laboratory. This vocational-based approach ensures that students are prepared for a career as a biology technician and that they understand the role of this position within the wider scientific community. This HNC qualification is the perfect starting point for those wishing to pursue further study in biology-related subjects, including university degree courses.

  • Award: Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Applied Biology
  • Application method: Apply directly to UCAS
  • UCAS code: C910
  • Location: Havering College of Further and Higher Education
  • Awarding Body: Pearson
  • Students who complete the course successfully will receive a Higher National Certificate (HNC) at Level 4 awarded by Pearson
  • Professional body accreditation: Students who successfully complete the course are able to apply for Associate membership with the Society of Biology


The full-time course is scheduled for two consecutive days and runs from 9 am to 5 pm, with breaks spread throughout the day. Timetables are usually available one month before registration. Please note, whilst we make every effort to ensure that timetables are integrated and are as convenient as possible for our students, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.


You will be taught through a combination of classroom-based lectures and practical activities, as well as one-to-one tutorials:

  • Lectures will provide you with most of the fundamental subject information knowledge that you will require
  • Laboratory practicals will give you hands-on experience of your subject, providing the opportunity to practice the techniques required in the working environment
  • One-to-one meetings with your personal tutor will give you the opportunity to discuss topics in detail, highlight any areas of difficulty and discuss your progression through the course

Independent learning

When you are not attending lectures, practicals, or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and preparing coursework assignments and presentations. Your independent learning will be supported by our excellent facilities, including the library and learning zone.

Overall workload

Per week, the full-time course workload will include 11 hours of lectures and practical sessions. Students are also able to book one-to-one tutorial sessions when required.

Over the course of the year, you will spend 69% of your time in timetabled teaching and learning activity:

  • Teaching and learning and assessment: 374 hours
  • Independent learning: 170 hours

Entry Requirements

For entry to this course you will need at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Our typical entry requirement to this course is 64* UCAS points from relevant level 3 qualifications, such as A-Levels in Biology and/or Chemistry, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science at MPP, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science at MM
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma, in Science with 64* credits achieved

*Based on new UCAS points system used from 2017

Additional requirements:

  • GCSE English and maths at grade 4 (C) or above, or equivalent level 2 qualifications
  • A face-to-face interview may be required before an offer can be made

Non-traditional students without formal qualifications, but with at least 5 years relevant work experience are also welcome to apply.

Additional information for international students:

If English is not your first language, you will need an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.

Where will it take me?

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to pursue a career as a biological technician in a variety of science-based industries. It also provides the foundation for further qualifications in biology-related subjects, such as a higher national diploma (HND) or university degree. The course has been designed to meet the requirements of the industry sector and is underpinned by the research knowledge and industry experience of our staff.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the understanding and skills to succeed in employment in biologically-based industries
  • Perform a diverse range of laboratory- based skills and techniques

Course Modules

  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry of Macromolecules and Metabolic Pathways
  • Physiology of Cellular Systems in Animals
  • Laboratory Techniques for Applied Biology
  • Analysis of Scientific Data and Information
  • Human Health and Nutrition
  • Neurophysiology and Homeostatic Control of the Human Body
  • Chemistry for Applied Biologists

The course operates on a modular basis with each module carrying 15 academic credits. Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester. The full HNC qualification is worth 120 credits. Your overall grade for the course will be based on the marks obtained in all modules and you will receive a pass, merit or distinction grade.

Course Assessment Method


This course provides you with the opportunity to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice, or formative, assessment for which you will receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them will not count towards your module mark. There will be formal, or summative, assessment during, or at the end of, each module. Formal assessment will be solely through a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance presentations and projects. The grades from your formal assessments will count towards your module mark.


You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework within three weeks of your submission. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

You must pass all modules in order to gain your qualification. Students passing a module will be given a pass, merit or distinction grade.

The following course related costs are included in the fees:

  • All laboratory equipment and materials
  • Safety equipment, including lab coats, safety goggles and gloves
  • Access to online resources
  • Access to the Learning Resource Centre
  • Access to the computer facilities
  • Access to College Support Services
  • Membership of the College Union
  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Assessment
  • Registration costs
  • Annual printing allowance of £10
  • Use of paper and online journals provided in the library

Course costs

The following costs are not included in the fees:

  • Course books - you will be provided with a book list so that you are able to buy textbooks if you wish, although there are multiple copies available in the library
  • Additional printing over and above the £10 allowance

Sources for financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Details can be found on the Student Services homepage -

Where and When

Applied Biology HNC Diploma BTEC (Qcf)

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Fee Information

Course Code Study Mode Start Date Under 16 16-18 19+ International
A185HCF-19 Full Time 23/09/2019 N/A £5,000 £5,000 N/A

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Notes About Fees

Fees shown are per year, they are estimated at this stage and will be confirmed at enrolment.

Find out more by speaking to Admissions:

  • For full-time further education courses call 01708 462833
  • For part-time further education courses call 01708 462801
  • For higher education courses, or if you’re an overseas student, call 01708 462801


  • To find out if you’re entitled to support call Student Services for advice on 01708 462718 ext 2718
  • You don’t have to pay tuition or admin fees if you’re 16-18 and studying a further education funded course.
  • You need to pay higher education course fees each academic year.

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Accrediting Body


2019/20 Prospectus

Havering College Course Guide 2019/20

Ofsted 2016 Report