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FdSc Practical Life Sciences [higher apprenticeship]

Institution code: 
East Coast College (Lowestoft)


Two years full-time. 

Three years part-time. 

Next intake is September 2022.

Typical Offer: 

80 UCAS tariff points (or above) CDD (A-Level), MMP (BTEC). 

Please see Entry Requirements below.


The FdSc in Practical Life Sciences is a programme that will support you to develop an understanding of the essential practical and theoretical elements, within many areas of biological science, which are needed within industry.

The course offers opportunities to study a range of practical and theoretical topics related to biomedical and bioscience topics. This qualification provides an essential broad base to the theoretical knowledge and practical experience needed for the laboratory science industry. It offers an opportunity for you to follow a career into many areas of industrial science where key practical skills development and understanding are necessary.

The course targets progression into an industrial science career and supports those already employed in a biological scientist role seeking further training and development. Biological scientists can be employed in a variety of types of technical work, such as veterinary and biomedical diagnostics, nutrition, laboratory analysis, research and development and environmental impact analysis.

Course modules

Laboratory Techniques and Laboratory Management for Applied Biology 1 (Mandatory)

You will become familiar with microscopy, titrimetric and spectroscopic techniques during this module. Presenting experimental results in a variety of formats will be expected during formative and summative assessment of this module. You will also consider risk assessment procedures giving due regard is given to health and safety and common roles of laboratory managers.

Presenting the Analysis of Scientific Data and Bioinformatics (Requisite)

Data is often the primary outcome of scientific experimentation. The volume of data varies significantly depending on the type of work undertaken but meaning must be extracted from the data output. This module aims to explore methods for data analysis to a level appropriate for use in industry and research. You will examine how outcomes are used to generate valid conclusions, considering the values generated and their associated errors.

Cell Biology (Requisite)

Understanding cells, their roles and functions are fundamental to the study of biology. You will explore the structure and function of cell organelles and the variety of cell types using both microscopy and electron micrograph imagery. This module examines the developmental and differentiation of cells through the cell life cycle to support an understanding of how cells can be utilised in culture and thus used as a valuable tool in diagnostic research.

Physiology (Requisite)

You will explore many systems within the body, including the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal and endocrine systems and the importance of the interrelationship between these diverse systems in maintaining homeostasis within an organism. Focus on two specific processes, the distribution and assimilation of nutrients and the removal of waste products will be made.

Fundamentals of Biochemistry (Requisite)

This module will provide you with the opportunity to explore the various complexes of DNA, RNA and protein and the structure and function of the macromolecules and macromolecular interactions. Gene expression and regulation processes will be examined along with the applications of understanding the fundamentals of inheritance. Relevant experimental technologies involved in manipulating DNA, RNA and protein will be investigated including uses in genetic engineering.

Molecular Biology and Genetics (Requisite)

You will develop an understanding of the syntheses, structures and behaviours of biological macromolecules that together represent the primary constituents of all cells and all organisms. The subject area of chemical biology bridges many different disciplines and this module will equip you with the underlying principles behind the functioning of biological macromolecules, macromolecular assemblies and cells. This module will also introduce key experimental techniques from across the subject area.

Personal and Professional Development (Mandatory)

This module will support you to assess and develop a range of professional and personal skills to promote future personal and career development specifically within the field of applied/laboratory biology. You will explore methods of organisation, managing and practicing a range of approaches to improve your performance as autonomous learners in preparation for work or further career development within the context of effective team management. You will be encouraged and supported to start their individual accreditation with an appropriate professional body (RSciTech/RSci).

Laboratory Techniques and Laboratory Management for Applied Biology 2 (Mandatory)

You will become familiar with chromatographic techniques, serial dilution and aseptic techniques. Presenting experimental results in a variety of formats will be expected during formative and summative assessment of this module. The different report styles and experimental techniques covered in this module will allow you to progress into a wide range of employment roles.

Industry Related Project (Mandatory)
Scientific Research (Mandatory)

You will critically appraise a range of study designs and data collection methods and tools and various appropriate analysis methods. The value and quality of research will be discussed in depth. You will propose a research title for the Industry Related Project module and will conduct a literature review relevant to the area of research in the proposal.

Immune Responses (Requisite)

Working in biomedical science requires the ability to understand and utilise the immune response ensuring the effective control, treatment and prevention of disease. You will develop an understanding of the immune system and an understanding of the control many autoimmune disorders. The module covers the roles of the skin and many mucus membranes, the role of soluble immune related substances and the role of the inflammatory response in defending the body against disease.

Microbiology (Requisite)

You will undertake practical investigations to study microbial growth, the factors which affect population growth and product yield. You will explore how growth conditions can be manipulated to influence the outcome of microbial growth and the role of genetic engineering of microbes in industrial. Food production, insulin production from bacteria, growth hormone production and blood clotting factors production are areas of biotechnology used in modern industry. Legislation relating to relevant industry will also be considered. Practical methods of microbial control and quality measures will be considered.

Infectious Diseases (Requisite)

In the biomedical science industry it is important to study the underlying cause of disease, how microorganisms evade the immune system, the effect and treatment of infectious diseases and their effective control. You will compare the features of micro-organisms which cause disease including host-parasite relationships and the nature of pathogenesis.

Medicinal Chemistry (Drug Design) (Requisite)

Biochemical aspects of drug action and the principles of medicinal and clinical chemistry allow us to assess the structure-activity relationships within drug design. This module introduces you to the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics involved in all stages of drug design and the effects on the body.

Environmental Analysis Techniques (Requisite)

You will be encouraged to explore the environment close to where you live and work, as well as the global systems covered in this module. You will work in groups to plan and carry out an analysis of appropriate material from a selected site near to the place of study. You will work in teams to firstly assess the suitability of a sampling site, selecting materials for analysis and applying the appropriate analytical techniques in consultation with the module tutor.

Career opportunities

FdSc Practical Life Sciences Higher Apprenticeship is offered only to students undertaking the course as part of their employment. Apprenticeship training will therefore be funded directly by employers or by employers in partnership with Government. Apprentices will not be required to pay any tuition or course fees, and will not be eligible for any Student Finance England maintenance support.

Please see our Apprenticeship pages for more information about apprenticeship funding.

Fees and finance

The FdSc Practical Life Sciences [higher apprenticeship], is offered only to students undertaking the course as part of their employment.

Apprenticeship training will therefore be funded directly by employers or by employers in partnership with Government. Apprentices will not be required to pay any tuition or course fees, and will not be eligible for any Student Finance England maintenance support.


Entry requirements