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Developing your understanding of science and hands-on experimental skills.

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Science is the evidence-based study of the world and universe in which we live. It is essential to all aspects of our lives including health and medicine, the environment, materials, industry, nature, food, communications and more. It has a central role to play in every feature of our modern world.

Science is an exciting and continually challenging subject, with a huge range of opportunities available when it comes to further study or employment.

Science courses are delivered from our Aberdeen City Campus and Fraserburgh Campus, where new custom-built laboratories - with an extensive range of equipment for the study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics - have recently been put in place. 

Laboratory Projects

Most of the Science courses at North East Scotland College – from SCQF Level 5 up to HND level – will involve students undertaking a laboratory research project. This forms one of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding aspects of our student’s time at College. Each year there are prizes awarded for the top projects, and some students have also gone on to win national awards. Some examples of successful projects are:

Chemistry and Microbiology of Milks

One HND student undertook a project using a variety of analytical methods to determine the composition of different milks. This involved determining different levels of fat, protein, sugar, calcium, etc. He also carried out a microbiological investigation of the effectiveness of pasteurisation. The projects won the top prize in the SQA competition “The Big Experiment” which was open to all schools and colleges across Scotland.


Another HND student chose to prepare biodiesels from a variety of different vegetable oils, and then tested them for features such as viscosity, cloud point, flashpoint, etc. to determine which the most suitable automotive fuel was.

Analysis of Wines

This project involved a comparison of American and European wines. Among several aspects investigated was the level of tannins in the wines. The student found higher levels in the American wines, and was able to explain this on the differences in the American and European oak barrels in which the wines were matured.


At our Aberdeen City Campus we have five laboratories, and one instrumental analysis laboratory. Each lab holds approximately 20 pupils, and there’s a range of specialist resources. In our Instrumental Analysis Lab alone you’ll find over £150,000 worth of equipment, including:

  • High Performance Liquid Chromatographs (HPLC)
  • Gas Chromatograph (GC)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
  • Fluorescence Spectrometer
  • Ultraviolet/Visible Spectrometer
  • Polarimeter
  • Flash Point Testers
  • Chloride Analysers
  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

As well as this, there are specialist microbiology laboratories in place – an excellent resource where students at all levels get the chance to learn important practical skills and develop good laboratory practice. These labs will help to teach you the importance of microbiology and how the major groups of micro-organisms impact on mankind and the environment, as well as how to conduct investigations safely and effectively.

You’ll really get the chance to develop your skills and understanding with a sizeable chunk – between 20 and 30% - of each course spent carrying out hands-on experiments/training.


North East Scotland College has the only permanent planetarium in the North of Scotland. This is a facility that the Science team use as a fantastic resource to teach students about the science of space and astronomy, and for the promotion of science to schools and youth groups.


The science courses on offer at North East Scotland College allow you to commence study at a range of entry points depending on your previous qualifications and experience. Even if you have never studied science before, there’s a course on offer to set you on the road to a successful career in the field.


All of the courses at NESCol involve a high level of training in practical laboratory work, meaning each and every student becomes highly skilled in the techniques needed to pursue a career in the science industries. Many past students have progressed to secure employment in a wide range of organisations, including:

  • SGS
  • Intertek
  • Champion Technologies
  • Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen
  • NHS
  • Robertson International
  • University and school technicians
  • Balmoral Group
  • Core Labs
  • Chivas Regal
  • GlaxoSmithKline

If, rather than moving directly into work, you would rather pursue university level study on completion of your course, there are many different options available to you.

Find out more about university links

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