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New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science (Level 5)

New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science (Level 5)

Level 5

Start your career as a laboratory technician with the New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science (Level 5).

Students learning in one of the Science Labs on our Palmerston North Campus
Quick info

Level: 5

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time

22 Feb 2021 - 03 Dec 2021
26 Jul 2021 - 01 Jul 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$6,168.00Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

As a graduate of this diploma, you will be able to work with supervision in entry-level positions in science and technology-related fields including manufacturing and regulatory industries, field work, research and development.

Once qualified, you have the opportunity to become involved in laboratory work and routine operation in a variety of settings.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Science laboratory and field work in:

  • Manufacturing industries
  • Regulatory industries
  • Research and development
  • Or staircase to further study
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Science Technicians.

Education pathway

This qualification provides a pathway to:

 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 covers:

  • 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

Practical Skills (15 Credits)
Learn to safely carry out a range of generic laboratory or workplace tasks. The course covers:

  • 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

Quality Assurance (15 Credits)
Learn organisational techniques for establishing, maintaining and improving quality and business sustainability. The course covers:

  • Quality terminology
  • Quality management systems (including ISO 9001 and 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 theoretical and practical skills relevant to further study in chemistry and the applied sciences. The course covers:

  • 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 buffers and pH
  • Calculations related to chemical analysis
  • Laboratory safety

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 covers:

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

Industrial Biomolecules (15 Credits)
Apply your knowledge of the structures and properties of biomolecules to their extraction and associated product quality requirements. The course covers:

  • 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

Biostatistics 1 (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 covers:

  • Data analysis
  • Probability 
  • Population sampling and sampling distributions 
  • Estimation 
  • Inference, hypothesis testing 
  • Simple and multiple regression analysis 
  • Communicating data
  • Correlation of data 
  • Graphing business data 
  • Computer software analysis (Excel) 
  • Summarising and interpreting data

There are also elective courses. Not all electives will be offered in any given intake. The electives include:

  • Introduction to Nutrition
  • Information Technology - Concepts and tools
  • Introduction to Biomechanics
  • The Chemical Basis of Biology and Separation Science

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:
  • National Diploma in Science

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Industry Connections

  • Fonterra
  • Ag Research
  • NZ Pharmaceuticals
  • Gribbles

 Learning Facilities

Fully resourced science labs including laboratory equipment and materials for biology, microbiology, chemistry and molecular biology and PC laboratories.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

Applicants under 20 academic entry
NCEA level 3, including 30 Level 2 credits from Science, Biology or Chemistry.
New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation, Level 4, Nursing or MIT pathway

For applicants 20 years of age and over there are no minimum academic requirements.


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).

 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science Level 5 comprises 120 credits.

To optimise chances of success, full attendance is strongly recommended. The availability of a particular elective course is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that course and not all electives may be offered in any given intake.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.
Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:
  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science Level 5 of approximately $95.00+:

  • Covered footwear: $15+
  • Hair net or hair ties, if you have long hair: $10
  • Scientific calculator: $34-130
  • Stationery (pens, pencils, ruler, paper etc): $30


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.