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National Diploma in Science

Level 5 or 6

Enjoy a career as a lab technician, research technician or quality assurance technician and help keep New Zealand at the forefront of scientific research, product development and testing with UCOL’s National Diploma in Science.

Students prepare to be lab technicians at our Palmerston North campus
Quick info

Level: 5 or 6

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 2 years, full-time

20 Feb 2017 - 1 Dec 2017

Domestic Fees:*

International Fees:*

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). Fees for multi-year programmes are for one year of study.

This highly regarded science course is taught by industry experienced staff who will prepare you with the skills and knowledge needed to become a professional Laboratory Technician.

Students who perform well in year 1 may be offered an optional placement in their second year to gain experience in a laboratory as part of their course of study.

Once qualified, you will have the opportunity to work with some of New Zealand’s leading scientists in a wide range of scientific disciplines including biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Industrial laboratory technician
  • Research technician
  • Quality assurance technician
  • Sales and marketing
  • Or staircase to further study

Student & Staff Profiles

Industry Connections

Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Ag research, Massey University

Learning Facilities

Well-provisioned science laboratories for:
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (or equivalent) and 12 Level 2 credits from Science, Biology or Chemistry (or equivalent)

Entry criteria may also be met by:

Passes in relevant science subjects in the UCOL Certificate in Science and Health, Level 3; a partially completed university science qualification; OR industrial experience.

International Entry Requirements

English Proficiency Entry Requirements:
The minimum entry requirement for international students is IELTS Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5 (or equivalent). 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).

  • NCEA/NZQA Level 3 credits can be directly credited to a National Diploma in Science. Please enquire for details on Recognition of Prior Learning.

Advice & Guidance

It is strongly recommended that all applicants, especially those over twenty years of age who do not have the minimum entry qualifications or recent experience of study, seek advice from the Programme Leader before enrolment about the nature of the programme in relation to their own skills and experience.

The availability of a particular Elective (or Optional Course) is subject to an appropriate number of students enrolling in that Elective (or Optional Course).

Course Information

First Year: February Start
  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • Techniques for Culturing and Enumerating Microorganisms
  • Aseptic Techniques and Control of Microbial Growth
  • Laboratory Data Handling and Computing

First Year: July Start

  • Introductory Organic and Redox Chemistry
  • Laboratory Techniques
  • pH and Acid-base Chemistry
  • Titrimetic Analysis

Second Year: February Start

  • Environmental and Food Microbiology
  • Laboratory Quality Systems and Microbial Bioreactors
  • Environmental and Instrumental Chemistry
  • Chromatography

Second Year: July Start

  • Protein Isolation and Enzymology
  • Nucleic Acid Techniques
  • Hazards Analysis and Management
  • Plant Tissue Culture and Pathology and Viral Detection

Students may choose to substitute the following unit standard for 30 credits from year two EITHER semester one OR semester two, subject to discussion with the Academic Leader and the availability of an industry/research placement.

  • Industrial Placement


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.