Laboratory Techniques: Pre-University Science

Level 5 QQI Award.


This is a Full time one year course


This hands-on laboratory skills course provides an introduction to the world of science and covers a variety of subjects related to laboratory and physical sciences. The purpose of this award is to enable the student to acquire the knowledge, skill and competence to work independently and under supervision in a science laboratory and or to progress to science based programmes at third level. Regular field trips and visits from guest speakers are key features of this course.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate - You must have achieved 5 passes or 5 O6/H7's or a combination of 5 O6/H7's or its equivalent
  • Leaving Certificate Applied with a Merit Profile
  • Full QQI Level 4 Award
  • Mature Applicants (aged 21 or over) - appropriate experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications
  • As there is an emphasis on the science subjects, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, a background in science is desirable

Course Modules

  • Laboratory Skills
  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Communications
  • Word Processing
  • Work Experience
Module Information

Module Information

Laboratory Techniques: Pre-University Science

Level 5 QQI Award: Laboratory Techniques 5M3807

Course Content (Module Names and Codes)



1. Laboratory Skills 5N2751    

This practical module will give the student the knowledge, skill and competence to operate safely under supervision in a laboratory environment. The students will be given the opportunity to develop skills and become proficient in the use of lab equipment. Students will observe, record and interpret data through hands on laboratory work and practice their skills of laboratory report writing which will be the basis of any laboratory based career. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Project (40%), Skills Demonstration (40%), Learner Record (20%).

2. Microbiology 5N0737    

This module will equip the student to undertake various microbiological techniques in the laboratory, examine microbes in the food industry, work safely with microorganisms in a lab environment and create awareness of microbes in the general environment such as air, water etc. Students will develop their academic and vocational language, literacy and numeracy skills related to microbiology. This will prepare students for participation in basic microbiological work practices or to pursue further education at higher levels. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Skills Demonstration (20%), Learner Record (50%), Examination (30%).

3. Chemistry 5N2747    

The aim of this module is to allow the learner to become confident with key chemistry concepts, which can be applied to laboratory procedures, industrial process, and everyday life. Learners will be introduced to various areas of study including, electronic structure, titrations, organic chemistry and laboratory safety. As part of their assessment learners will develop confidence in laboratory skills and experimental work. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Examination (50%), Skills Demonstration (25%), Learner Record (25%).

4. Mathematics 5N1833    

Students will acquire mathematical skills in problem solving and mathematical investigations in the following areas: mathematical modelling, statistics and probability, graphing functions, differential and integral calculus, complex numbers and trigonometry.

Assessment: Assignment (60%), Examination - Theory (40%).

5. Physics 5N1460    

This module will facilitate the student to develop an interest in Physics and create an awareness of the role of the application of the principles of Physics in everyday life and in industrial processes. Mechanics and heat, light, sound and waves and electricity will be explored through experiments and investigations. Students will also study the effects of common physical hazards on the human body, adhere to appropriate safety precautions and current health and safety legislation.

Assessment:  Examination (40%), Skills Demonstration (30%), Learner Record (30%).

6. Biology 5N2746    

This module aims to equip students with theory and biological concepts to carry out various skills and experiments in the field of biology. Learners will study various topics including, cell diversity, genetics, ecology and microbiology and current developments in biological science. Students are facilitated to develop safe laboratory skills, confidence in experimental work and good laboratory practice. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Examination (50%), Skills Demonstration (25%), Learner Record (25%).

7. Word Processing 5N1358    

Students will use word processing application to learn or improve skills while laying out a range of business/college/home documents. It includes: document set up, formatting text, proof reading, mail merge, tables, file management, graphics and presentation skills.

Assessment: Assignment (20%), Examination (80%).

8. Work Experience 5N1356    

Students will prepare for work placement in their relevant vocational area through an evaluation of a personal skills set, the development of an industry type CV, interview preparation and practice. Current relevant work place legislation is also evaluated and assessed. An integral part of this module is developing skills required for a successful job search; and so, students are facilitated to secure a relevant work placement. On completion of the work placement (60 hours) the student will reflect, review and consider their future career options.

Assessment: Portfolio/Collection of Work (60%), Skills Demonstration (40%).

9. Communications 5N0690    

This module explores the role of communication in human interaction in theory and practice. Students are facilitated to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and competence to communicate verbally and nonverbally in standard everyday tasks and in work-related situations. Students will have the opportunity to develop important vocational related skills such as report writing, report reading, listening, and speaking skills (through oral presentation, interviews, group work) and modern information communication technology.

Assessment: Portfolio/Collection of Work (50%), Skills Demonstration (50%).


  • Level 5 QQI Award Laboratory Techniques (5M3807)

Special Features

  • Work placement
  • Hands-on laboratory experience
  • Small class groups
  • Visits to industry
  • Professional guest lectures
  • CAO advise

This course is supported by FIT, which offers students the opportunity to acquire essential skills to gain employment. Students are given training in job interview techniques and CV preparation.

Work Experience

Students will be required to undertake a period work placement in an organisation connected to their vocational area during the academic year.  Students are required to source their own work placement but will be assisted in this by the work experience teacher.  The work placement is usually for a period of 10 days or a minimum of 60 hours.  Students usually find the work experience element of the course to be invaluable and should bear in mind that a successful work placement can sometimes lead to further opportunities.

Additional Information

Students should use this course as a stepping stone into a recognised degree programme in order to achieve a high level qualification. The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs has identified that scientific related jobs are difficult to fill due to a lack of suitable graduates. Nine out of the top ten global Biopharma-Pharmachem companies are located in Ireland (for example Pfizer and Merck, Amgen). These companies operate research, manufacturing and service activities in Ireland and the sector is expected to grow. There is an acute need for technicians, senior process scientists and engineers.

Twenty of the top thirty medical global device companies (Abbot, Boston Scientific and Medtronic) are also located in Ireland. They operate large production facilities, which are expected to grow. The sector is strong on exports and Ireland has an international reputation for delivering products and services in the following growth areas: agri-food, medical devices, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Scientific vacancies exist in three scientific sectors (1) manufacturing (mostly pharmaceutical), (2) professional scientific and technical activiites and (3) human health activities.


Assessment techniques will be used to assess the knowledge and skills that students will have achieved on successful completion of modules:

  • Student Record
  • Portfolio/Collection of Work
  • Assignments
  • Examination Written or Practical
  • Project

Progression Opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities.

Places are not guaranteed and are subject to students meeting certain criteria.  It is the students' responsibility to consult with the individual third level college websites for more information.  Information is also available at

There are progression options in a wide range of areas including general science, biotechnology, forensic science, pharmaceutical science, sports science, food science and many other related areas. 

Students may also progress onto a number of apprenticeships for example Laboratory Technician that are now available in Ireland.

Progression Examples

Bachelor of Science

BSc in Agricultural Science

BSc in Food Science

BA Arts

BA Humanities

University College Dublin

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology

Bachelor of Science in Biological and Medical Science

National University of Ireland Maynooth

BSc in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

BSc in Chemical Sciences

BSc in Physical Sciences

Trinity College Dublin

BSc in Forensic and Environmental Chemistry

BSc in Pharmaceutical Healthcare

BSc in Food Science and Management

TU Dublin - City Campus (formerly DIT)

BSc in Sport Science and Health

Dublin City University

Career Paths

This course prepares students for careers typically found in the following sectors: chemical industry, biopharma-pharachem, cosmetic science, food and beverages, physical and mathematical sciences, medical devices, education and research, environmental science, human biology and health, science journalism. Students may seek employment in many other types of companies such as business, requiring an aptitude for science.

Thank You

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Lara Breslin

2017 graduate. Now studying Science in UCD
"My year studying in DFEi has prepared me well for my next few years in UCD. I was able to get used to completing assignments, carrying out lab work and meeting deadlines. As well as our classroom…

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Lara Breslin

2017 graduate. Now studying Science in UCD
"My year studying in DFEi has prepared me well for my next few years in UCD. I was able to get used to completing assignments, carrying out lab work and meeting deadlines. As well as our classroom and lab work we went on educational outings and attended seminars. I hoping to pursue a career in pharmacology after I finish my degree."

Course Coordinator

Eileen Connell

Eileen Connell

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly