PDA Laboratory Science SCQF level 7

HNC Applied Sciences

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards.

The PDA in Laboratory Science at SCQF level 7 provides learners with the competences required to carry out roles in research and industrial laboratories. The PDA will develop a range of contemporary vocational skills relating to the use, support and development of systems appropriate to employment at technician or professional level. Learners will also develop good technical, investigative and problem-solving skills.

This qualification is available through colleges.

Alternative assessment guidance 2021-22

For guidance on which approach suits your current circumstances please use the HNVQ assessment decision tree

PDA Laboratory Science alternative assessment approaches (119 KB)

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA in Laboratory Science at SCQF level 7 has been developed in partnership with employers and industry, so it is suitable for the current sector.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff. Learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Learners do not need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this PDA. However, good communication and problem-solving skills will be required.


The units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for the SVQ 3 in Life Sciences and Related Industries.

Learners may have the opportunity of progressing to the HND in Applied Sciences, HND in Applied Biological Sciences, HND in Applied Chemical Sciences or the SVQ 3 in Life Sciences and Related Industries.


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

Centres without devolved authority must come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide (510 KB). The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document).

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.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

Group Award code: GM3G 47 (64 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Laboratory Science at SCQF level 7 consists of two mandatory units and six optional units.

Group Award Specification

Qualifications Support Team (QST) - Action Grids

Modern Apprenticeships

This PDA is a mandatory component in the Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Life Science and Related Science Industries.

SQA also offers the following components of this Apprenticeship:

Competency qualifications

  • GE4C 23 SVQ 3 in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (Industrial Science)
  • GE4A SVQ 3 in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (Education Science)
  • GJ30 23 SVQ 3 in Life Sciences and Related Industries

Knowledge qualifications

  • G90N National Certificate in Applied Sciences
  • G9G6 National Progression Award in Laboratory Science
  • GK6E Higher National Certificate in Applied Sciences
  • G8WV 15 Higher National Certificate in Bioscience

Core skills units

Unit title SCQF
Core Skills: Communication F427 04
Core Skills: Numeracy F42B 04
Core Skills: Information and Communication Technology F42F 04
Core Skills: Problem Solving F42K 04
Core Skills: Working with Others F42P 04