Higher Education


Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications are designed to develop practical skills alongside specialist knowledge and understanding of the subject area. These qualifications have been well respected and recognised by employers and higher education institutions. The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a Level 4 qualification which is equivalent to the first year of the Bachelor Degree. An HNC qualification can be studied by those in employment for professional development to enhance their career prospects or level 3, A-level and Access to Higher Education students can use this as an alternative path to gain higher education locally at lower cost.

This course looks to develop the specialist skills required to work within a laboratory environment in the specific field of chemistry. Chemistry is a ‘hands on’ subject, which requires attention to detail in order to complete complex analytical techniques. Within the course you will learn the complexities and organisational skills required to work within a lab. You will complete a variety of analytical sampling techniques and produce a range of scientific reports. You will gain a broad depth of subject knowledge and practical skills which will allow you to gain employment within the science or specifically Chemistry sector.

Entry Requirements

For students who have recently been in education, the entry profile is likely to include one of the following:

• A BTEC Level 3 or other Level 3 qualification in a related subject with at least one merit in the final grade profile
• A minimum of 2 A Levels with one in a related subject at grade C or above
• Access to HE with relevant options
• Extensive relevant work experience – mature learners who have extensive work experience and/or professional qualifications in a related industry are welcome to apply


• A* to C grade (Grade 9-4) in GCSE English and Maths – strongly recommended

If you do not hold GCSE Maths and English at Grade C (Grade 4-5) or above then it is strongly recommended that you study these before starting on a Higher National Certificate, both to support your study and to allow you to progress to higher education. On receipt of your application to study this course, you will be invited to attend an admissions interview with a member of the teaching team to discuss the course and its requirements further.


You will study eight units in HNC (Level 4) which includes three core mandatory, three specialist mandatory and two optional units as listed below:

• Unit 1: Fundamentals of Laboratory Techniques (Core Mandatory)
• Unit 2: Scientific Data Handling Approaches and Techniques (Core Mandatory)
• Unit 3: Regulation and Quality in the Applied Sciences (Pearson-set) (Core Mandatory)
• Unit 7: Inorganic Chemistry (Specialist Mandatory)
• Unit 8: Organic Chemistry (Specialist Mandatory)
• Unit 9: Physical Chemistry (Specialist Mandatory)

Optional Units:
• Unit 15: Introduction to Polymer Materials and Properties (Specialist Optional)
• Unit 17: Fundamentals of Biochemistry (Specialist Optional)
• Unit 20: Introduction to Material Properties and Applications (Specialist Optional)
• Unit 24: Sampling and Sample Preparation (Specialist Optional)
• Unit 25: Personal and Professional Development for Scientists (Generic Optional)
• Unit 26: Managing Scientific Projects (Generic Optional)

Note: Optional units may change to meet local employment need.


HNC units are assessed internally. You will be graded for each individual unit with a Pass, Merit or Distinction. You may be assessed in a number of different ways, such as presentations, written reports, logbooks and practical tasks.

Awarding body

Pearson BTEC


On successful completion of this course you can continue with employment or use the HNC as an entry to apply for other Higher Education qualifications e.g. HND or Bachelor Degree. You can apply to university to complete a degree in a related subject; entry to the degree may be at Year 2 dependent upon the university and degree programme. This qualification can also be used to support a job application within a related profession.

Additional information

During your interview you will be advised for the course fee, any additional course requirements and costs. The information on the college policies and procedures, Terms and Conditions and the Student Protection Plan (SPP) are available on the college website

Student and College Policies

Also, a copy of these terms and conditions and the Student Protection Plan will be given to you to read before enrolling on the course.

Further Information

For further information, advice and guidance call The Learner Experience Team on 01625 410002.

Duration and Times

Start date: 14/09/2020

End date: 24/06/2022

Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Days of week: TBA

Number of Weeks: 33

Weekly hours: 6.00

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