Image representing Applied Chemical Sciences for Laboratory Scientists - Higher Apprenticeship

Applied Chemical Sciences for Laboratory Scientists - Higher Apprenticeship - FdSc


This three-year degree programme underpins the Laboratory Scientist higher apprenticeship standard.



Developed with, and for employers, the programme incorporates interactive e-learning, on- and off-site academic support and short residential blocks. It can support individuals wanting to progress their career within SME and global organisations, covering relevant roles in the life science supply chain from research through development and into manufacturing.

The higher apprenticeship is delivered as a blended course. Most material will be in the form of directed self-learning via the university’s e-learning platform, Moodle, and face to face teaching held over the summer. 

The University of Kent is at the forefront of providing science-based higher and degree apprenticeships.  It is one of the few universities to provide a chemical science-aligned degree programme for the Laboratory Scientist higher apprenticeship standard.  Our expertise in e-learning delivery, together with flexible entry points, means that the programme can be delivered with the least disruption to the business.

We offer an optional top-up study of 1.5 years in BSc (Hons) in Applied Chemical Sciences Higher Apprenticeship that also underpins the Laboratory Scientist higher apprenticeship standard.

About the Centre for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

The University of Kent has delivered higher apprenticeships since 2011, working with industry-leading employers including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novartis and Unilever.

Kent launched the Centre for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in 2016 to build on this experience. The centre works in partnership with regional and national employers to develop apprenticeships tailored to their needs. The centre also has an important role to play within the University, supporting academic schools on all aspects of delivering apprenticeship training. 

We help to devise a tailored programme of study that complements activity in your workplace, underpinned by our leading academic programmes.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The three-year part-time study awards 240 credits upon successful completion of the course.

Year One

Core modules:

  • CHEM1130 - Organic Chemistry (15 credits at Level 4) 
  • CHEM1131 - Physical Chemistry (15 credits at Level 4)
  • CHEM1119 - General & Inorganic (15 credits at Level 4)
  • CHEM1118 - Basic Analytical Chemistry (15 credits at Level 4)
  • BIOL1041 - Basic Laboratory Skills (15 credits at Level 4)

Year Two 

Core modules:

  • CHEM1020 - Introduction to Polymer Chemistry (15 credits at Level 4)
  • BIOC1560 - Biochemistry (15 credits at Level 4)
  • BUSI1560 - Business Improvement (15 credits at Level 4)
  • BIOL1042 - Advanced Laboratory Skills (15 credits at Level 5; Summer School)

Optional Modules - you select one of the following options:

  • PHAM1123 - Business Option 1: GxP (15 credits at Level 5)
  • BUSI1561 - Business Option 2: Technology Transfer (15 credits at Level 5)

Year Three 

Core modules:

  • BIOL1043 - Business Based Project (45 credits at Level 5)

Optional modules - you select three of the following options:

  • CHEM1125 - Separation Science (15 credits at Level 5)
  • CHEM1123 - Spectroscopic Methods in Organic Chemistry (15 credits at Level 5)
  • CHEM1024 - Introduction to Nano-materials (15 credits at Level 5)
  • CHEM122 - Introduction to Drug Synthesis (15 credits at Level 5)

Teaching and assessment

Acquisition of outcomes will be achieved primarily through extensive use of e-learning materials via the University's e-learning platform Moodle. Theoretical content in the form of storyboards; video; links to related reading; and activities with feedback provided. The emphasis of the programme is to link the knowledge and learning to work-based learning and employment wherever possible.

This includes "hands-on" practical skills but also broader skills including: numeracy; IT and communication. Practical experience in the work place will be essential to develop and enhance these skills. A summer school in both the first and second year of the programme will be used to provide more "hands-on" techniques/skills that are not available at work or locally.

A number of methods will be used for both formative and summative assessment of these more practical skills including: practical tests or assessment at the university or in the work place; reports or other documents such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's); oral plus written presentations; project plans; and the Company Based Project Report.

Formative assessment will include: progress tests; reports; portfolio entries; short essays; analysis of case studies; and presentations.  Progress and attainment of learning outcomes will be determined by a variety of summative assessments including: unseen written examinations (three times a year in the workplace), some as Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s); reports including the Company Based Project; essays; portfolio entries; case studies; and presentations.

Programme aims

The programme aims  to:

  • Instil in students a sense of enthusiasm for learning which may lead to continuing professional development or pathways for lifelong learning.
  • Produce graduates equipped with the skills to play an enhanced role in the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Industry, nationally.
  • Educate students in the theoretical (subject specific knowledge) and practical (laboratory based) aspects of the chemical sciences which relate to current and future employment needs.
  • Provide students with the skills to adapt and respond positively to new developments in the workplace.
  • Develop the critical, analytical, problem based learning skills required by the students in the workplace.
  • Develop student’s competences in a broad range of areas relevant to their current and future employment. Enhance and develop the student’s interpersonal skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • A broad based core understanding covering the major elements (inorganic, organic and physical chemistry), together with specialised in-depth study (often career related) of some aspects of the subject areas. 
  • Information and data, their setting within a theoretical framework, accompanied by critical analysis and assessment to enable understanding of the subject area. 
  • A familiarity with terminology, nomenclature and classification systems.
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and critically analysing chemical information through the use of texts, original papers, reports and data sets. 
  • A range of communication techniques and methodologies relevant to the particular discipline and the workplace. 
  • How to engage with some of the current developments in the chemical sciences and their applications, including the philosophical and ethical issues involved. 
  • Giving a clear and accurate account of a subject, marshal arguments in a mature way and engage in debate & dialogue both with specialists and non-specialists, using appropriate scientific language. 
  • How to think independently, set tasks and solve problems. 
  • The applicability of the chemical sciences to their careers. 
  • How to successfully apply, in the workplace, the range of knowledge and skills learnt through the programme. 
  • How to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied and the application of those principles in a work context. 
  • Critical evaluation of the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in their field of study and application of these in a work context.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • The ability to recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles. 
  • The ability to synthesise, analyse and summarise information critically, including published research or reports. 
  • The ability to obtain and integrate several lines of subject-specific evidence to formulate and test hypotheses. 
  • The application of subject knowledge and understanding to address both familiar and unfamiliar problems. 
  • The ability to recognise moral & ethical issues together with the appreciation of professional codes of conduct. 
  • An ability to develop and utilise effective project management skills. 
  • The ability to initiate & undertake critical analysis of information, and to propose solutions to problems arising from that analysis in their field of study and in a work context.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills

  • Sufficient practical ability to ensure competence in the appropriate basic experimental skills. 
  • The ability to design, plan, conduct and report on investigations, which may involve primary or secondary data, arising from individual or group projects. 
  • The ability to obtain, record, collate and analyse data using techniques appropriate to their work.
  • The ability to undertake an extensive work-based Business project and Laboratory research projects in a responsible, safe and ethical manner, paying due attention to relevant health & safety guidelines/procedures, e.g. COSHH. 
  • The ability to identify and undertake training to develop existing skills and acquire new competences that will enable them to assume responsibility within their organisation. 

Laboratory Skills Summer School

These are technical skills identified by employers as core to the competence of individuals working in the chemical science sector. Recognising the existence of company in-house training schemes learners will be able to evidence these technical skills through accreditation of in-house training and achievement through day-to-day activities in the workplace. In this way learners will be able to select particular technical skills they wish to enhance and/or develop to meet employer need.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferrable skills:

  • The ability to use the internet and other electronic sources critically as a means of communication and a source of information. 
  • A working knowledge of how to cite and reference work in an appropriate manner, including the avoidance of plagiarism. 
  • An ability to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis, in a variety of forms, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Develop numeracy skills and have a working appreciation of the terms: validity, accuracy, calibration, precision & replicability. 
  • Extensive experience of solving problems by a variety of methods, including the use of computers. 
  • An ability to recognise and respect the views and opinions of other team members and develop good negotiating skills. 
  • The ability to evaluate one’s performance as an individual & team member as well as being able to assess the performance of others. 
  • Develop an adaptable, flexible and effective approach to study and work. 
  • Develop the qualities and skills necessary for employment and progression requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision making.


As part of an apprenticeship, a fully competent Laboratory Scientist will be able to work in a wide range of organisations, including but not exclusively, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, formulated products, nuclear and analytical services. 

As a scientist you can carry out a range of technical and scientific activities which may include laboratory based investigations and scientific experimentation in their specialist field. 

You will analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant scientific information, concepts and ideas and use these to develop subsequent experiments or investigations and to propose solutions to problems. You will be able to apply knowledge of underlying scientific principles to implement new processes according to the literature or input from senior team members. 

You will be able to work autonomously and part of a wider scientific team, taking responsibility for the quality of the work that is undertaken, to deliver scientific value to their organisation. You will be proactive in finding solutions to problems, be able to identify areas of business improvement and propose innovative scientific ideas. 

In all contexts, working safely and ethically is paramount and many companies operate under highly regulated conditions because of the need to control the quality and safety. Typical job roles may include; Analytical Chemist, Research & Development Scientist, Molecular Biologist, Microbiologist, Formulation Scientist, Medicinal Chemist, Process Technologist, Biotechnologist.

Professional recognition

The apprenticeship is recognised by the relevant professional bodies at Registered Scientist (RSci) level, for which there is a requirement that the scientist will participate in subsequent continuing professional development on completion of the apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Apprenticeships are also offered to up-skill the existing workforce, therefore if you are an applicant without the traditional qualifications listed below; and have prior learning and skills developed from your workplace, please contact the university and we will consider applicants on a case by case basis. 

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

80 points including DD at GCE A2 level for Chemistry and another science subject.

Vocational Science based A level (Double award 12 units) and a pass in an approved English Language qualification


Five GCSE passes, including English Language or Use of English and mathematics at grade C or above (9 - 4), and at least two subjects at A2 level. 

Access to HE Diploma

A satisfactory pass in an approved Science Based Foundation or Access programme. Please check with the University beforehand that we will accept the Access/Foundation syllabus you took. 

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

BTEC National Certificate in Science (merit level) and a pass in an approved English language qualification 

BTEC National Diploma in Science (merit level) and a pass in an approved English language qualification.

International Baccalaureate

26/30 points (12/14 at Higher).  The course studied must contain a significant content of Science at the required level.  Please check with the University beforehand that you have studied sufficient Science at the required level.

International students

To be eligible for an apprenticeship, you have to have the right to work in England. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Additional costs

Please refer to the Apprenticeship funding: rules and guidance for employers for information on what costs can and cannot be included within the apprenticeship cost.

Please note that the Basic and Advanced Laboratory Skills (summer schools) accommodation, food and travel expenditure will come at an additional cost. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


The maximum amount of funding the government will contribute towards this apprenticeship is £27,000, including the end point assessment. As each apprenticeship is tailored to the need to the employer, please contact the Centre for Higher & Degree Apprenticeship for full costings.

The university is working with levy and non-levy employers to provide apprenticeships and welcome inquiries from interested organisations.