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What is Applied Science?


Applied Sciences can often be used as a route into more specialised topics and degree subjects. You’ll work to develop your scientific skills. Applied Science courses will often focus on investigative and analytical skills development and experimental practice. 


What are Applied Sciences? 

Applied Science typically covers areas related to Biology, Chemistry, and other scientific disciplines. That might be subjects like biomedical sciences, forensic science, food, and nutritional sciences but can reach topics like engineering, healthcare, and technology. Put simply, Applied Science courses focus on the practical side of science, rather than the theoretical side.  



Studying Biology

When you study Biology as part of Applied Sciences you’ll cover practical applications of topics like cell biology, physiology anatomy, microbiology and more. When you study Biology, you’ll get to grips with things that are ‘living’ - organisms, cells, and life as we know it. The application of your learning can cover things like health and medicine, biotechnology, animal life, plants, and marine life.

Studying Chemistry

Chemistry courses cover the study of molecular science: the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. When you study Chemistry, you’ll develop critical knowledge of elements that make up every aspect of day-to-day life, how things react with one another and what change happens under certain conditions. More broadly than that, the applications of Chemistry inform global issues like food industries, agriculture, medicine, defence, and manufacturing,



Get to know more about the Applied Sciences courses available at Northumbria University.  


What are the course options to study Applied Sciences? 

When you study Applied Sciences at university, you’ll either be studying for a foundational qualification to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate or postgraduate degree and further on – to kickstart your career.  


Foundation degrees offer Applied Sciences courses to develop a foundational knowledge of practical science. These degrees will often be quite broad and will allow you to study elements of Chemistry, Biology, and other scientific areas. Some foundation degrees offer pathways. If you know you want to study Chemistry or study Biology for example, it may be beneficial for you to choose a foundation degree with an available pathway in that subject. A Foundation degree is a stand-alone qualification that can be used to progress onto further study at university.  

Some Applied Science courses are delivered as a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). HNDs and HNCs in Applied Science can be used to progress onto further study at university, but as they have a specific focus on workplace skills and portfolios, they can be used to enter the world of work.

At undergraduate level Applied Science degrees tend to offer a more specialist focus. You’ll find Applied Science courses in many different areas.  

Popular degree titles include:  

  • BSc Applied Biomedical Science 
  • BSc Applied Forensic Science 
  • BSc Chemistry  
  • BSc Food Science and Nutrition 

Applied Sciences courses tend to lead to a BSc degree qualification. Some Applied Sciences courses also offer apprenticeship and industry-adjacent courses.

Similarly, a Masters in Applied Science degree can help you develop your scientific research skills and allow you to become more specialised in your chosen area – for instance: 

  • Biotechnology MSc 
  • Forensic Science MSc 
  • Nutritional Science MSc 

What qualifications and subjects do you need to study Applied Sciences? 

To study Applied Sciences at a foundational level you’ll usually need 80 UCAS Tariff points 

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications. This may include A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate. Foundation degrees typically do not have any subject requirements at A-level, though some knowledge of science subjects would benefit your study.  

To study Applied Sciences at HNC or HND level it’s likely that you’ll need a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Applied Sciences (or a related science subject) and a GCE Advanced Level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or adequate performance in more than one GCE subject; this profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades A* to C and/or 9 to 4 (or equivalent) in subjects such as Maths and English 

If you complete a foundation degree in Applied Science, you will usually qualify to progress onto a specialist Applied Science course.  

To study Applied Sciences at undergraduate level it’s likely you’ll need 120 UCAS Tariff points from a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.  

Subject requirements usually include Grade B in A-level in a relevant Applied Science, or a recognised equivalent. You’ll also need GCSE’s in Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent. 

If you have a qualification from outside of the UK or have equivalent qualifications please check the guidelines and requirements for your chosen course.

Usually, to study for a Masters in Applied Science degree you’ll need a strong undergraduate degree in a relevant field.  

That might be a Chemistry or Biology undergraduate degree. Your area of interest or specialism will often inform what qualifications you need. I.e., If you choose to study a Masters in Applied Biology degree, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree in a similar field.  

If you have a qualification from outside of the UK or have equivalent qualifications please check the guidelines and requirements for your chosen course. 

Why study Applied Sciences? 

Applied Sciences are practically useful 

It’s no surprise that by studying the practical elements of science, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge in action. The knowledge and skills you gain in an Applied Sciences course can be directly applied to real-world problems and workplace scenarios.  

Applied Sciences are interdisciplinary 

Applied Sciences are interdisciplinary and draw from multiple traditional disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, forensics, engineering, and technology. This interdisciplinary approach provides a holistic view of science as a broad area. You’ll learn how elements of different Applied Sciences work with each other.  

Applied Sciences are constantly evolving 

Because they are so practical, Applied Sciences are constantly evolving. As our understanding of the world changes, so too do the Applied Sciences. This means that there are always new things to learn in an Applied Sciences program, making it an exciting and dynamic field of study. 


Placements and study abroad  

Completing a placement or studying abroad as part of your degree in any subject can help develop hands-on experience and skills that will serve you and your future career. When you study Applied Sciences, this could be even more so.  

Being able to apply your investigative skills, research, analytics, and critical thinking skills to an industry setting can be transformational both for your career goals and the goals of your chosen business. Those who choose to study Biology at university or Chemistry at university should consider placements or work experience in the sectors that interest them most.  

Look at the research being carried out at your chosen university. This will speak to the potential networks that may be available to you for placement opportunities at your university. 

Studying abroad whilst you study Applied Sciences courses at university can be beneficial too. Not only will you be able to experience new ways of working and discover new networks, but you’ll also be able to see different applications of your chosen field. This could open up new career paths that you hadn’t considered.  


What skills can I gain with my Applied Sciences degree?  

When you study Applied Sciences, whether that’s through the broad study of Applied Sciences or in a specialist area like a Chemistry course or Biology course you’ll open up plenty of career opportunities.  

Your Applied Sciences degree will equip you with skills that are desirable to employers and serve your personal development skills.  

The subject knowledge you’ll develop if you chose to study Chemistry, Biology or related Applied Science at university will likely drive your career. But when you study Applied Science at university, you’ll develop skills like:  

  • Research  
  • Analytical thinking 
  • Investigative practice 
  • Collaboration  
  • Report design  
  • Understanding and interpreting data 
  • Communication 

These skills are valued by a diverse range of employers and industries. You can do so much with an Applied Sciences degree. Where that qualification takes you depends on where you see yourself and the career goals you have.  

Popular sectors for those who study Applied Sciences at university include:  

  • Research organisations 
  • Pharmaceutical companies  
  • Local authority and public health  
  • Renewable energy  
  • Charity  
  • Education 
  • Technology  
  • Aerospace  
  • Defence 
  • Engineering 
  • Medicine 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Meteorology  
  • Law 


What jobs can I do with an Applied Sciences degree? 

The jobs you can get with an Applied Sciences degree are incredibly varied. The skills you’ll gain when you study chemistry at university, biology at university or more general Applied Sciences courses speak to many different industry needs.  

Depending on the level of your qualification (Foundation degree, HND/HNC or specialist Applied Sciences undergraduate or Masters degree) will influence the types of jobs you’ll be able to get.  

Foundation degrees, certificates and diplomas in Applied Science can equip you with the knowledge and practical skills required to either enter employment or to progress onto university to study science-related courses.  

What sort of job you find yourself in will depend on the subject knowledge you pick up as part of your degree.

If you study Biology at university, you’ll find popular job titles for include:  

  • Researcher 
  • Biotechnologist 
  • Marine biologist 
  • Microbiologist 
  • Nanotechnologist 
  • Pharmacologist 
  • Nutritionist/Dietitian  
  • Soil scientist 
  • Water quality scientist 

If you study Chemistry at university, you’ll find popular job titles include:  

  • Researcher 
  • Analytical chemist 
  • Clinical scientist 
  • Colour technologist 
  • Crime scene investigator 
  • Forensic scientist 
  • Medicinal chemist 
  • Pharmacologist 
  • Toxicologist 

Why choose Northumbria University for Applied Sciences? 

The Department of Applied Sciences at Northumbria offers everything you’d expect from a top university; high-quality teaching, world-leading research, and plenty of career support. They deliver Applied Sciences courses in biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry, forensic science, food, and nutritional sciences.   

Ready to explore Applied Sciences at Northumbria University?  


Facilities at Northumbria University prioritise giving you access to industry-standard resources and facilities reflecting the strong links to industry and research in the department. There’s everything you’ll need to develop your subject knowledge in the Applied Sciences including. 

  • Genomic, proteomic and metabolomics profiling Illumina - MiSeq Next generation sequencing, Q Exactive Hybrid Quadrupole-Orbitrap mass spectrometer, 2D protein electrophoresis Dionex UltiMate 3000 nanoflow liquid chromatography/Bruker HCT Ultra  
  • Forensic genetics - single cell and low template DNA amplification lab, capillary electrophoresis-based Sanger sequencing, MiSeq Next generation sequencing.  
  • Microbiology and molecular biology - fully equipped for molecular biology manipulations and imaging, RT-PCR, pilot scale bioreactors  
  • Automated clinical analysis - Randox Daytona Clinical Chemistry Analyser, Sysmex Haematology analyser  
  • Anatomy, histology, and microscopy - dissection area, Cryostat microtome, automated histopathological processing & staining, light and fluorescence microscopy suite. 
  • Cell Biology and Immunology - two multi-user tissue culture laboratories, Eli-spot assays, Syngene GBox Chemi XX6 ECL imaging, 8-colour flow cytometry, and fluorescence microscopy, Acea Xcelligence for cell function assays, MSD Biomarker analytical equipment  
  • Neurophysiology Biodex Dynamometer, upper arm assessment rig, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator, electromyography.  
  • Food processing and sensory analysis - food processing pilot plant, Food product development laboratory, Organoleptic analysis laboratory, Knauer simulating moving bed chromatography rig, GC-TOF for aroma analysis 
  • Chromatography - Extensive High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography / GC Mass-spectrometry capability. 
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance Jeol 400MHz Eclipse NMR Spectrometer 
  • Scene House - Forensic Science students can practice their skills in our Coach Lane Campus Scene House  


You’ll also have access to all the other facilities you might need to optimise your learning. This includes study spaces, libraries, online learning resources and dedicated careers support. 

Career focussed 

One thing that makes Applied Sciences at Northumbria stand out from the crowd is the department’s commitment to your future. It’s a department with a strong business and research focus. The Applied Sciences department at Northumbria has a sustained network of partnerships with industry and commerce.  

Those who study Biology or Chemistry courses, or related degrees can access those networks and take advantage of connections to gain valuable work experience, placements, and networking opportunities with the support of the university behind them.  

Industrial partners at Northumbria University range from large multinationals to small companies based in the region and nationally. Partnerships include Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, KP, Greggs and the NHS. 

Check out more about placement and careers support for Applied Science students at Northumbria.  



Applied Sciences at Northumbria boast a strong reputation across for both teaching and research.  

Northumbria is in the Top 50 UK universities for biosciences and in the Top 25 for Chemistry according to The Guardian University Guide 2022.  

The Complete University Guide 2023 ranks Northumbria in the top 40 for Chemistry, Top 50 for Biology and Top 10 for Forensic Science.  

Many of the Applied Science courses at Northumbria are officially accredited by professional bodies. This provides recognition for the delivery of theory and practical skills which are relevant to employers.

Get to know why Northumbria University ranks so highly for Applied Sciences.   


Research Excellence 

Research from the department of Applied Sciences at Northumbria was rated 100% world-leading in the last REF in 2021. The department is making globally impactful progress in areas like microbial diversity, nutrition and food and translational biosciences, cancer treatments, and animal venom.  

Learn more about the world-changing research that drives Applied Sciences at Northumbria University and the impact it has on our world.  

Please Note 

All content is accurate as of the time of writing, the information in this guide is subject to change and will be updated as required to reflect this. 

18 courses found

Applied Sciences Foundation Year

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 1 year full-time followed by a further 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Passionate about science? This course will give you wider scientific knowledge to help you decide your ideal degree destination.

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Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Enrich your understanding of all cellular life and the biological processes that influence all living organisms with this course.

Click for more course information

Biology BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Turn your passion for biology into a career. Deepen your understanding of living systems and investigate what will shape their future.

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Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate | Newcastle

Interested in science and want to make a difference? Learn the skills to make an impact on health, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad / Sep start

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6 years part-time / Sep start

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Chemistry BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Study diverse chemistry topics and gain hands on practical experience in order to become a well-rounded chemist on this course.

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Chemistry MChem

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Study diverse chemistry topics and gain hands on practical experience to become a well-rounded chemist with this integrated masters.

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Forensic Science BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate | Newcastle | 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Develop base knowledge and skilled laboratory techniques and gain the ability to tackle complex scientific problems on this course.

Click for more course information

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