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Applied Science BTEC Diploma-Extended Diploma Level 3 at PETROC

Course description

If you love science, or you're thinking about a career that needs it, this stimulating, practical study programme will develop your knowledge and skills in all aspects of laboratory science. You should have a keen interest in investigating science, be able to manage your time effectively and be able to communicate your ideas clearly.

The college has excellent, modern, state of the art labs. The labs all have SMART boards and multimedia projectors and are very well equipped with science equipment. We have trolleys of wireless laptops that we use as part of our everyday lessons. These allow students to research using the internet or the college science website, to use specialist software and simulation packages and to word process reports or use spreadsheets and databases.

Course content

The qualification consists of 13 general and specialist units in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths: 7 in your first year of the 90-Credit Diploma and a further six in the second year, to achieve the Extended Diploma. This will provide you with an excellent grounding for your future science based career. 7 of the 13 units are compulsory and the remaining six are selected to cover the three sciences. You'll complete lab reports, scientific posters, make presentations and carry out your own investigations. Four of the units are assessed externally.

Entry requirements

All entrants must hold GCSE English Language at grade 4/5 or above and preferably GCSE Maths at grade 4/5 or above, amongst the 5 GCSEs at grade C required for entry. 

Entrants not holding a grade 4 in Maths, but who have a grade 2/3, will study GCSE Maths and take the examination at the end of the year. Completing first years will not be able to automatically continue into their second year without achieving GCSE Maths at grade 4.

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, or equivalent, including English Language and Maths. You will also need a minimum of grade C in Additional Science, Applied Science, or separate sciences, or a minimum of a Merit in a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science.


There are exams based on the four mandatory units. Internal assessment is carried out through a wide variety of internally set and marked assignments for the remaining units. These will include traditional written and word processed assignments, short practical reports, longer practical investigations, presentations, field trips, industry visits, research tasks and others. These assignments all go to make up your portfolio.

Each unit is graded against specific assessment criteria as pass, merit or distinction. You are given a number of points depending upon the grade you obtain for the unit. The total number of points for all units are added together at the end of the course and used to decide the overall grade for the course. A student achieving three distinction grades for the overall course has a qualification that is equivalent to three A grades at A Level.

Future opportunities

Success on this course leaves you well equipped for a career as a medical science technician in the National Health Service or other industry laboratories. Students who do this, often carry on studying at the same time to gain NVQs or professional body qualifications. The course provides an alternative route from A Levels into vocational health careers such as nursing, midwifery or hospital theatre technicians. You can also progress to BTEC Higher National Applied Science Diplomas or full time degrees in Applied Science. You will normally need a mixture of Merits and Distinctions to progress to degree courses.

Further information

Q. Why should I take this course?
A. If you are interested in a career as a laboratory technician in a hospital or industrial laboratory and prefer continually assessed coursework to exams then this is the course for you.

Q. Why are there no exams?
A. The course is designed for those students who prefer coursework to exams. This doesn't mean that it is easier as you will have to work consistently throughout the whole two years to build your portfolio.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact PETROC directly.

Last updated date: 17 February 2017

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