NC Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6

The National Certificate in Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6 has been developed not only to provide the core of the present Access to higher education programmes, but also to provide a coherent qualification that is understood by industry as basic background knowledge to support competence in laboratory work at SVQ level 2/3.

Why deliver this qualification

This qualification can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis and can include day-release, block-release or evening class delivery. It is also possible to deliver some or all parts of the NC in a work-place environment, making it particularly suitable for candidates in employment.

Who does this qualification suit

The NC in Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6 is designed for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners
  • those employed in the science industry

The qualification is also suitable for candidates in S5 and S6, with science qualifications at SCQF level 5, who wish to progress to HN or gain entry to apprenticeship programmes. It also provides the base of a Science Access to University programme.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, admission to the NC in Applied Sciences should be based on a broad approach to candidate selection but, at the same time, should ensure that candidates are chosen who have the potential and ability to complete the qualification successfully.


Successful completion of the NC in Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6 would enable a candidate to progress to an HNC Applied Science course. The SCQF level 6 qualification also provides the core of the Access programmes offered by colleges in Scotland. Each University and each degree programme has specific requirements for entry, and candidates following this route should seek appropriate guidance.


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

How to assess

Assessment is a combination of end of Unit tests, end of Unit assessments and practical assignments. Assessment guidance is provided for each Unit. The Assessment Support Packs contain sample assessment materials.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Unit(s) and delivery tools

Group Award code: G90N 46 (72 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 6


Candidates must achieve ten mandatory Units and two optional Units. Two of the three science areas are to be selected.

Mandatory Units

Chemical Reactions — D071 12       
Energy Matters — D069 12               
The World of Carbon — D070 12                  

Electricity and Electronics — D380 12                     
Mechanics and Properties of Matter — D383 12                  
Radiation and Matter — D384 12                  

Cell Biology — D029 12                    
Control and Regulation — D031 12               
Genetics and Adaptation — D030 12            


Human Biology
Behaviour, Populations and the Environment — D045 12    
Cell Function and Inheritance — D043 12                 
The Continuation of Life — D044 12             


Managing Environmental Resources
Investigating Ecosystems — D315 12                      
Land Use in Scotland — D316 12                 
Natural Resource Use — D312 12                


Biotechnology — DF5J 12                
Microbiological Techniques — D042 12                    
Microbiology — DF5H 12                  

Arrangements Documents

Course Overview and Skills Development Summary

Qualifications Support Team (QST) - Action Grids

Any other information

The NC in Applied Science at SCQF level 6 contains practical laboratory Units. These should be taken into account if distance learning is proposed. Assessment requirements are included in Unit specifications.

Return to NQGA Science and Maths subject page