Course details

Bachelor of Applied Science (Laboratory Science) (Level 7)
Domestic tuition $7,636 per year
International tuition $22,500
NZQF Level 7

About the course

Prepare for a career in in laboratory science with the Bachelor of Applied Science (Laboratory Science) (Level 7)

As a graduate of the degree you will demonstrate intellectual independence, critical thinking and analytic rigor. You will be able to work with confidence, both independently and collaboratively as part of a team in a science laboratory.

You will develop knowledge and skills related to the ideas, principles, concepts, research methods, and problem-solving techniques in laboratory science. You will also develop knowledge and skills in data collection, computation, processing, and management systems, along with a range of transferable laboratory practice skills.

Course Information

Professional Skills in Science (15 credits)

Learn to work effectively in an applied science setting, with an understanding of workplace legislative requirements.  The course will cover:

  • Employer and employee obligations under workplace legislation.
  • Professional communication skills including teamwork, workplace behaviour, ethics and integrity.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi
  • Oral and written communication skills.
  • Competence in using software technologies with guidance.
  • Computerised inventory and reporting systems.
  • Hazardous chemical classification, handling & storage.

Bioscience in Industry 1 (15 credits)

Acquire the practical skills and theoretical knowledge in microbiology required to practise safely in a laboratory or industry setting. The course will cover:

  • Traditional and molecular microbiology methods for food and environmental quality.
  • Food, water quality and industrial microbes of interest.
  • Sterilisation and disinfection.

Biostatistics I (15 credits)

Learn to make sense of numbers, graphs and fundamental statistical concepts; and to use, interpret and report them in a meaningful way in business practice. This course also provides a foundation for further study, research and project management requiring an analytical approach.  The course will cover:

  • Data analysis
  • Probability
  • Population sampling and sampling distributions
  • Estimation
  • Inference, hypothesis testing
  • Simple regression analysis
  • Correlation of data
  • Communicating data
  • Computer software analysis
  • Summarising and interpreting data

Quality Assurance (15 credits)

Learn to understand organisational techniques for establishing, maintaining and improving quality and business sustainability. The course will cover:

  • Quality terminology.
  • Quality management systems (including ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 and HACCP).
  • Leadership for quality.
  • Purchasing of consumables and capital items to support quality assurance.
  • The role of audit and review.

Chemistry for Applied Science (15 credits)

Learn the skills and knowledge required: to work safely in a chemical laboratory; to be able to read and interpret chemical equations, use stoichiometry and chemical equilibria to evaluate and explain chemical observations; and have an elementary knowledge of the behaviours of acids, bases and salts in solution and carry out volumetric analyses. The course will cover:

  • The periodic table, atomic structure and properties of elements.
  • Structure, properties and bonding of chemical compounds.
  • Chemical formulae and chemical equations.
  • Redox chemistry, balancing redox reactions and redox titrations.
  • Acid-base equilibria including buffer behaviour and pH.
  • Calculations related to chemical analysis.
  • Laboratory safety

Industrial Biomolecules (15 credits)

Learn to apply knowledge of the structures and properties of biomolecules to their extraction and associated product quality requirements. The course will cover:

  • Functional groups, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids
  • Manufacturing processes including extraction and purification
  • Bioreactors
  • Logic structure of process controllers
  • Food and non-food products
  • Soxhlet fat extraction

Practical Skills (15 credits)

Learn to safely carry out a range of generic laboratory or workplace tasks appropriately and, where applicable, accurately. Become familiar with calibrating, maintaining and using laboratory glassware, balances, pH meters and analytical equipment. The course will cover:

  • Autopipetting.
  • Calibrate and maintain and calibrate generic equipment (Burettes, pipettes, balance, pH meter and pH electrode, viscometer, refractometer and pycnometer)
  • Perform quantitative spectrophotometric analysis, produce a standard curve, and interpret spectrophotometric data.
  • Gravimetric technique of analysis for a metal or an anion

The Chemical Basis of Biology and Separation Science (15 credits)

Develop an understanding of chemical processes in biological systems and industrial applications. Learn to: employ solvent extraction and distillation as techniques to isolate and separate organic compounds from each other from a given mixture; and analyse chemical compounds using techniques involving extraction methods, distillation, and chromatography (thin layer and column). Be introduced to elementary thermodynamics and kinetics experiments and calculations. The course will cover:

  • Introductory thermodynamic concepts and the thermodynamic laws.
  • High energy biomolecules, phosphoric acid anhydrides and ATP as an intermediate shuttle molecule. Energetics involving ATP recycling in the human body
  • Reaction orders, radioactive decay law and reaction rates
  • Fundamentals of enzyme kinetics, Michaelis Menton kinetics
  • Kinetics experiments
  • Thin layer and paper chromatography. Column chromatography (Size exclusion and ion exchange)

Bioscience in Industry 2 (15 credits)

Acquire the practical skills and theoretical knowledge in life sciences required to practise safely in a laboratory or industry setting. The course will cover:

  • Microbial degradation and bioremediation.
  • Sampling, isolation, identification and enumeration of food-borne pathogens. HACCP plans and Food Safety Programmes.
  • Water microbiology sampling

Environmental Quality Assessment (15 credits)

Learn to take a process-based approach to environmental quality and its assessment and  carry out and perform industrially used and other water quality laboratory tests. The course will cover:

  • Bi-cultural perspectives on environmental quality and degradation
  • The environment and the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Water chemistry sampling and analysis for nutrients and major components.
  • Water quality measure (industrial, natural and polluted waters – BOD, COD and water hardness).
  • Interplay between nutrient status and chemistry in aquatic systems.
  • Aquifer structure and water quality

Biostatistics II (15 credits)

Learn to collect data, to interpret the results using statistical analysis, to display the results, and to make informed recommendations. The course will cover:

  • Professional statistics software
  • Transform continuous data using statistical methods
  • Data analysis using ANOVA
  • Data analysis using regression and correlation
  • Data display
  • Biostatistical data interpretation

Laboratory Instrumental Analytical Techniques (15 credits)

Learn to analyse chemical elements and compounds employing commonly used instrumental and analytical methods. The course will cover:

  • Flame atomic absorption methods of analysis, FAAS, and UV/Visible spectroscopy
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • UV/Visible and fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Gas Chromatography, instrumentation and GC analysis
  • Ion Exchange, Column and Size exclusion chromatography, High pressure Liquid chromatography (HPLC)

Advanced Culture Techniques (15 credits)

To prepare and perform advanced laboratory techniques and investigate epidemiology.  The course will cover:

  • Cultural perspectives on the use of biological tissues
  • Virus enumeration
  • Pathogen detection
  • Tissue culture
  • Epidemiology
  • Koch's postulates
  • Specialised media

Applied Science Investigation (15 credits)

Learn to undertake an applied science investigation and evaluate the data. The course will cover:

  • Characteristics of the applied science literature
  • Research design
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Evaluation and synthesis of information
  • Cultural, ethical and legal requirements
  • Use of specialised and generic software
  • Research presentation

Work Placement (30 credits)

Actively engage in an applied science workplace, and critically reflect on their experience. The course will cover:

  • Supervised work experience in an appropriate applied science workplace
  • Professional expectations
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Development of reflective skills
  • Mid-placement feedback
  • Post-placement debriefing

Research Methods (15 credits)

Gain an understanding of the research process and ethical/cultural considerations of research, the ability to undertake a critical analysis of research, and the ability to communicate scientific research findings. The course will cover:

  • Types of research methodology & design (Fundamental/applied, qualitative – phenomenological, narrative, case-study, quantitative - descriptive survey, causal correlational, experimental)
  • Scientific Methodology
  • Ethical and Cultural Considerations of Research
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi and partnership in research (kaupapa Māori, Māori centric, Māori relevant)
  • The intersection of Mātauranga Māori with Science
  • Method and Equipment Selection
  • Understanding of reported statistics (including reliability and repeatability of data and statistical significance)
  • Literature searching and critiquing
  • Research Communication

Biological Tissue Analysis (15 credits)

Gain advanced technical skills in the collection and analysis of biological tissues with emphasis on tissue and laboratory testing conditions, factors that influence results, and an understanding of recent advancements in biological testing. The course will cover:

  • Organ systems and the immune system
  • Biochemical analysis of mammalian and plant tissues
  • Cultural safety of tissue sampling and testing
  • Chemical analysis of biological waste products
  • Research collaboration
  • Statistical analysis

Advanced Spectroscopic and Electroanalytical Techniques (15 credits)

Gain a range of laboratory skills and knowledge of chemistry in advanced topics and be introduced to new concepts in chemical spectroscopic and chromatographic analysis.

The course will cover:

  • NMR and ESR techniques
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Gas chromatography
  • Flame atomic spectroscopy
  • UV, visible, infrared and near infrared spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry, ICP-MS and GC-MS

Advanced Molecular Techniques (15 credits)

Gain advanced knowledge and practical skills related to Molecular Biology techniques and analysis, including problem solving, critical thinking skills and an awareness of new technologies in this field. The course will cover:

  • Gene transfer techniques, cloning and gene editing
  • Gene structure, expression and regulation
  • Advanced Molecular Biology techniques
  • Communicate knowledge of molecular biology techniques
  • Biodiversity for microbial populations

Bioscience in Industry 3 (15 credits)

Gain advanced knowledge of the microbiology of food and environmental testing including selection of test methods, validation of test methods, problem solving and critical thinking skills. The course will cover:

  • Bi-cultural perspectives on water and food quality assessment
  • Technical Validation
  • Method and Equipment Selection
  • Reliability and repeatability of data
  • Critically reviewing techniques
  • Tests performed in a professional timeframe

Laboratory Management (15 credits)

Learn the skills to manage situations in the laboratory relating to Health and Safety, risk and hazard analysis, quality assurance and inventory management, hazardous substances and audits within a quality standard and legislative compliance setting.

The course will cover:

  • Risk/Hazard Analysis
  • Quality assurance
  • Management of staff and human resources
  • Application of quality systems- IANZ, MPI, ISO 17075, AS/NZS 2243:2010
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and relevant regulations
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and amendment acts.
  • Resource Management Act 1991

Elective 1

Industry Project/ Internship (30 credits)

Learn to carry out a significant project/internship related to your area of study for a specific organisation and apply theoretical learning and self-reflections to workplace situations.  You will arrange your project with an industry provider/employer.  The course will cover:

  • Industry placement/project
  • Research – creation of a research brief
  • Research – data collection, analysis and reporting

Elective 2

Laboratory Project (30 credits)

Apply your knowledge and practical skills in the area of both laboratory practice and research to an investigation in your chose field/topic. The course will cover:

  • Industry relevant project
  • Research – creation of a research brief
  • Research – data collection, analysis and report

Entry requirements

Domestic Entry Requirements

Under 20 years of age applicants:

Applicants under the age of 20 years must have University Entrance, including 30 credits at NCEA Level 2 from Science, Biology or Chemistry.
Equivalent academic achievement
On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean
Provisional enrolment
In accordance with Section 2.7.

Provisional enrolment is defined by NZQA as being Discretionary Entrance and includes the following clauses:

Discretionary enrolment may be granted to those applicants under the age of 20 who:

  • Are New Zealand or Australian citizens and permanent residents under 20 years of age
  • Must have a minimum of 14 credits in an approved subject at Level 2 towards NCEA
  • Must also have met the literacy and numeracy standards required for University Entrance

Applicants 20 years of age or over:

Applicants aged 20 years or over before the first day of the programme who don’t meet the academic qualifications outlined above must attend a conversation with the Programme Leader (as set out in the Advice and Guidance section).

For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

Academic entry criteria
At least two academic subjects with a score of 60% or more, and background in at least two science subjects.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Under 20 years of age
In addition to the stated academic entry requirements, international applications under the age of 20 must have NCEA equivalency (refer to Business Development International).

About the provider

Established in 1902, UCOL is a high-performing New Zealand government funded Institute of Technology and Polytechnic that offers a wide range of rewarding study options. With over 100 foundation courses, diplomas, degrees, and postgraduate qualifications available, our programmes are designed to fit into your lifestyle.

With campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui, Wairarapa and Auckland, as well as delivery locations in Horowhenua and Taumarunui, UCOL is well known in its local communities and also draws students from far and wide due to its positive reputation. UCOL boasts campuses in city centres and beautiful landscape environments.

UCOL exists to inspire students, businesses and communities to succeed. Our lecturers take a relationships-based approach to teaching, and we have small student-teacher ratios and class sizes. We also have dedicated student support staff available to help you thrive and grow with every step of your UCOL journey. You will be immersed in a practical learning environment, with innovative technology and a range of specialised equipment that surpass industry standards.


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