Windsor Sixth Form, Richmond Street, Halesowen, B63 4BB
Part of Windsor Academy Trust
applied science level 3

Applied Science Level 3

The Cambridge Technicals Extended Certificate in Applied Science Level 3 offers you an alternative route to the traditional A Level. 

Level 3 Applied Science offers specialist pathways in environmental science, food science and human science. Designed in collaboration with experts spanning the breadth of the sector, this qualification focuses on the skills, knowledge and understanding that today’s universities and employers demand. 

The course is a vocational alternative to a GCE science course, and as such is primarily designed to lead into employment. To consider taking this course, you must have the following attributes: 

  • Be committed to your learning both inside and outside the classroom 
  • Be prepared to spend your own time writing up the assignments for the course 
  • Be interested and enthusiastic regarding how science is used in the workplace 
  • To work well within deadlines 

What you will study

The course consists of five units.

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Science 

This unit covers key scientific concepts of science essential to all Cambridge technical qualifications in Laboratory Skills. This includes understanding the structures of biological  systems, understanding chemical reactions, structures of atoms, bonding and material properties,  energy transfer systems and electrical systems, and the basic principles of electricity,

Unit 2: Laboratory Techniques 

This unit introduces you to standard laboratory equipment and techniques, including titration,  colorimetry, calorimetry, chromatography, calibration procedures and laboratory safety. Through the practical tasks in the unit, you will develop proficiency in the quantitative analytical techniques of titration and colorimetry, including learning to calculate the concentration of solutions. You will use measurement of temperature to study cooling curves and be introduced to paper and thin layer chromatography (TLC). You will also have the opportunity to calibrate equipment and will be encouraged to be aware of the safety aspects of given laboratory procedures and techniques. 

Unit 6: Control of Hazards in the Laboratory 

Running a research lab is a challenge. In all the hustle of loading the autosampler, pipetting,  pouring, and mixing for research experiments, worker health and safety can be overlooked,  inadvertently pushed aside or forgotten - sometimes with dire consequences. Understanding the legal requirements and recognizing hazards will help you to identify and minimize many of the common safety and health hazards associated with running a research laboratory. 

This unit presents an overview of the most common hazards encountered in typical research labs and will help you maintain a safe work environment. It also links to many other units within the qualification and you can apply skills in the context of the practicals you will carry out elsewhere. 

Unit 18: Microbiology 

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms. Microorganisms affect every aspect of life on Earth.  Some microorganisms cause disease but the vast majority are completely harmless. 

The beneficial uses of microorganisms have been recognised and exploited for thousands of years in brewing, bread making and yoghurt production. Bacteria occupy every habitat on Earth and form a biomass that exceeds that of all plants and animals. We now make use of bacterial ecology and metabolism in the production of natural fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Recent developments also include industrial applications such as cleaning up pollution and mining, and the production of important chemical and pharmaceutical products using genetically engineered microorganisms. 

Microorganisms are also responsible for various diseases, however, which affect millions of people worldwide every year. As new antimicrobial therapies have been developed,  microorganisms have developed resistance to them, and without the development of new drugs and other therapies, we face the possibility of unstoppable infectious diseases, as in the pre-antibiotic era.

In this unit, you will learn about the commercial use of microorganisms in food production and in medical microbiology. You will also develop a range of practical manipulative skills, including aseptic technique and those used in bacterial identification, which will enable you to work safely and competently in a microbiology laboratory. 

Unit 21: Product Testing Techniques 

Consumer products are rigorously tested and regulated both before being allowed to be sold and after-sale. Many cleaning, medical, hygiene and food products are bought directly “off the shelf”. The ‘consumer’ in this unit is defined as the next purchaser in the chain, not necessarily a member of the public buying a product in a shop. 

In this unit, you will have the opportunity of using the knowledge and skills you have gained in the mandatory units 1 ‘Science Fundamentals’ and unit 2 ‘Laboratory Techniques’. You will use a  range of laboratory techniques in your investigations from inception through to testing products. 

How the course is assessed

  • Units 1 and 2: Externally assessed
  • Units 6, 18 and 21: Internally assessed

Entry requirements

  • Five subjects at grade 4 or above, including English and maths
  • Grade 4 in combined sciences or a grade 4 in the separate sciences

Why study Applied Science Level 3 at Windsor Sixth Form?

  • Achieve your potential and progress to the next stage of your life - Whether that’s Higher Education, an Apprenticeship or employment. We have refreshing and exciting content that’s up to date, engaging, fit for purpose and suitable for your needs. 
  • Gain the right combination of knowledge, understanding and skills required for the laboratory or further study - To do this, Cambridge has consulted with universities, employers and industry specialists to make sure you students will follow a programme of study that’s right for you and what you want to do next.
  • Benefit from a combination of externally assessed modules and internally assessed coursework - There is an extensive range of centre-assessed units with practical and wider project-based assessment opportunities, as well as examined units on Science Fundamentals, Laboratory Techniques and Scientific Analysis and Reporting.

Other courses that go well with Applied Science Level 3

Applied Science Level 3 combines well with other science subjects such as chemistry, biology and physics, as it adds practical application of a wide range of scientific theories, in the wider world. 

Outside of science, the courses combine well with similar applied qualifications in mathematics, sport and technology.

What you can do after the course

Further study and apprenticeships

There are numerous opportunities offered by the Cambridge Technicals course for careers and  progression into further education. Primarily the course is designed to lead directly into employment. However, Applied Science Level 3 is equivalent to one GCE A Level and gives you UCAS points. It is therefore possible for you to progress further into higher education.

Examples of qualifications students can progress include Higher National qualifications (HNCs and  HNDs), foundation degrees, or a degree. 


This subject is useful if you have aspirations to follow career paths such as:

  • Forensic Science
  • Nursing
  • Sports Science
  • Environmental Science

Where do our students progress to after the course?

Example destinations include:

  • Engineering and Applied Science Foundation Programme at Aston University
  • Psychology at Newman University
  • Forensic psychology at Newman 
  • Biomedical sciences at Newman 
  • Civil engineering at Birmingham University

Student success stories

  • Student 1: Studying Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University after completing sixth form
  • Student 2: Studying Forensic pathology at Newman