• Science

    Access to Health and Life Sciences (SWAP)

  • SCQF Level

    Comparable to SCQF Level 6

  • Attendance/Duration

    Full-time, one year

  • Start Date

    Aug 2022

Start Here

Access to Life Sciences is part of the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP). It’s for anyone who wants to develop their academic and employability skills, including adult returners who may have been out of education for a while.

It offers direct access to a range of college and university science courses after one year of study. While on the course, you’ll develop your knowledge of various science subjects and increase your confidence too.

Ayrshire College is an ideal choice for studying science:

  • We have STEM Assured Status which means we have been recognised for the quality of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses.
  • We’re an educational partner of Glasgow Science Centre.
  • We won Training Partner of the Year at the prestigious SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) Skills Awards in 2017.

For entry to this course you don’t need any formal qualifications, just an interview with us.


BSc Paramedic Science Progression Route
The SWAP Health and Life Sciences course can now be used for progression on to the BSc Paramedic Science degree at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Stirling and University of West Scotland. It can also be used to progress to the same degree at either Queen Margaret University or Robert Gordon University, though you will need to inform us of this if you intend to progress to either of these. Where ever you choose to study for your Paramedic qualification, there will be plenty of competition so some experience in first aiding, first response and/or care are essential. We are not able to provide opportunities for this experience as part of the SWAP Health and Life Sciences course.

What's Involved

In Human Biology, you’ll focus on four main topics:

  • Human Cells (stem cells, somatic and germline cells, cancer cells)
  • Physiology and Health (reproductive organs and gametes)
  • Neurobiology and Communication (the nervous system and the brain)
  • Immunology and Public Health (defences, infectious diseases and immunisation)

There are four in Chemistry too:

  • Chemical Changes and Structure (controlling reaction rates and periodic trends)
  • Researching Chemistry (the relevance of chemical theory to everyday life)
  • Nature’s Chemistry (food and everyday products such as soaps, detergents and skincare)
  • Chemistry in Society (industrial production of products)

You’ll also look at areas of physics, such as Waves and Optics, and Radioactivity; forensic science techniques and maths units at National 5 level.

You’ll also build transferable Essential Skills in meaningful contexts to help you become more effective in life, learning, and work. This could be communication, numeracy, ICT, working with others, and problem solving.

Go Anywhere

When you successfully complete this course, you will meet the entry requirements for 80 different university courses in various disciplines including teaching. These courses are run at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland's Rural College, Stirling University, Strathclyde University, University of Glasgow and University of the West of Scotland.

Example BSc courses include:

Applied Bioscience

Biomedical Science

Cell & Molecular Biology

Forensic Bioscience


Marine Biology



Pharmacy Science and Health



Countryside Management

Environmental Health



Occupational Health and Safety

Paramedic Science


Sports and Exercise Science

Veterinary Nurse

Teaching/Education Options:

Education (Secondary) Biology or Chemistry

Teaching Qualifications
It is possible to enter into the teaching profession for Secondary Biology or Chemistry by completing the SWAP Health and Life Science course. There are several universities delivering teaching qualifications that accept this course as meeting the entry requirements, if this is your intention please discuss this at interview.

Completion of a SWAP programme would make you eligible to apply for the HNC Applied Science courses with the Progression to Glasgow University.

Places available



Start Date

Aug 2022

Course Search


Browse all courses Advanced search
arrow icon arrow icon