Applied Science

Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate Level 3

students in lab coats conducting experiments

Availability & Details

Applied Science, Level 3 Extended Certificate AF-ASFO3T-D(0000)000

Alton Campus

Type of study

Academic Year 2021-22 (2 years)

Examination board

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How to apply

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How could you check the purity of a sample of aspirin for quality control purposes? How would you set about designing a new lab? Is it better to use technology or traditional lab methods for quantitative analysis? How are microorganisms used to make products for everyday life? How would you test a new product to ensure it meets legislative requirements for human consumption?

Studying the CTEC Applied Science course could help you answer these and many more questions. The emphasis in the first year is on Applied Chemistry, with Biology and Physics included in parts. You’ll develop your practical skills through lots of lab work, which will enhance your theoretical knowledge. This course is equivalent to one A Level.


You should have achieved a grade 4 or 4/4 in Science GCSE and 4 in Mathematics.

Cambridge Technical qualifications are designed with the workplace in mind and provide a high-quality alternative to A Level sciences. These qualifications have been designed in collaboration with experts spanning the breadth of the sector. They focus on the requirements that today’s universities, professional vocational colleges and employers demand. 

Science Fundamentals will create a solid foundation that you will be able to build on in later units and the Laboratory Techniques unit will provide you with a good grounding in working in a laboratory. These two units are assessed by external examinations. 

The Control of Hazards in the Laboratory unit presents an overview of the most common hazards encountered in typical research labs and will help you maintain a safe work environment. In the Microbiology unit, you will learn about the commercial use of microorganisms in food production and medical microbiology and will make a product yourself in the lab. The beneficial uses of microorganisms have been recognised and exploited for thousands of years in brewing, bread-making and yoghurt production but more recent applications include cleaning up pollution, mining and pharmaceuticals. Finally, there is a unit on Product Testing Techniques, where you will be learning about techniques and regulations that apply to the product you have made in the Microbiology unit.

Over two years you will study five units: 

  • Science Fundamentals (examined unit)
  • Laboratory Techniques (examined unit)
  • Control of Hazards in the Laboratory (coursework unit)
  • Microbiology (coursework unit)
  • Product Testing Techniques (coursework unit)


You will experience a range of teaching and learning methods during this course, including lectures, group work and interactive research tasks. Practical work is a fundamental aspect of this qualification, and you will develop your laboratory skills in the first year to enable you to undertake an independent research project for your second year coursework. You will have access to a wide range of materials and resources to help you to learn, including online resources to help you develop your independent work skills. 

Assessment; two units are assessed by examinations (see above structure information) and two by internally assessed coursework (see above).

My experience at the college was enjoyable and productive, with thoroughly helpful people surrounding you, an excellent experience. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was, with the work shop time and experience I had, it was a great two years preparing me for the next stage.

Edward Smith, BTEC student

I’m very, very happy, I didn’t expect to do so well. The College has been helpful and supportive. I loved my courses, and the teachers were really good – every single one of them. The facilities are great, but it’s the staff that really make this place.

Matthew Randell, A Level student

I’m really happy and pleased with my grades. I really loved my time at the college, I have also made lots of friends, it’s a really nice place to be, I don’t want to leave.

Lauren Piper, A Level student