HND Environmental Sciences

HND Environmental Sciences

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HND in Environmental Sciences at SCQF level 8 prepares candidates for an appropriate level of employment in areas such as: sustainable development; research and development; biological and chemical analysis; ecological surveying, pollution and waste management, and renewable technologies.

Candidates will develop a range of contemporary vocational skills relating to the use, support and development of systems. These skills will be appropriate for employment at technician or professional level in a variety of environmental science areas such as: ecology, biodiversity, environmental sampling, earth science, environmental management, and sustainable development.

This qualification prepares candidates for progression to further studies in science related disciplines, eg Environment Management and Environment Science.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some universities. Typically, an HND takes two years.

Why deliver this qualification

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional Units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

Who does this qualification suit

The HND Environmental Sciences is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • any two National Qualifications at Higher together with three at SCQF level 5
  • an SVQ at Level 2 or 3 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.


Learners who achieve an HND in Environmental Sciences G86D 16 can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, HND in Environmental Sciences allows direct entry to most third year programmes.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQAs Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQAs general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

HND Applied Biological Sciences

Group Award code: GK6G 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Applied Biological Sciences at SCQF level 8 consists of 14 mandatory Units (160 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional Units (80 SCQF points).

Group Award Specification

Qualifications Support Team (QST) - Action Grids


Group Award Specification

Qualification Structure

Group Award code: G86D 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

The HND in Environmental Sciences at SCQF level 8 consists of 22 mandatory Units (176 SCQF credit points) and 8 optional Units (64 SCQF points).

For further information on the Units and structure of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Frameworks.

This Group Award has been replaced by the HND Applied Biological Science (GK6G 16) and has entered into its lapsing period.

The finishing date for this qualification is 31/07/18.

Centres should note that when a Group Award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

  • The Group Award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue.
  • The Group Award Arrangements document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from SQAs website and archived.
  • No new centres may be approved to offer the Group Award.
  • Centres should only enter learners whom they expect to complete the Group Award during the defined lapsing period of 3 years (HND).