Module details for Access to Science and Technology


This module is part of the AHEAD suite of modules and provides underpinning knowledge in areas of Mathematics and Chemistry for students who may wish to undertake degree courses in various fields of Biological, Forensic or Food Sciences and Engineering.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : A knowledge of the necessary Mathematical and Chemical principles needed to provide a solid foundation to allow entry into future degree level courses in the Biological, Forensic and Food Sciences and Civil Engineering.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Master basic numeracy skills associated with the types of standard calculations likely to be encountered in science and engineering degrees.

2.  Understand why mathematical formulae are important in the interrogation of graphed data and be able to apply these where appropriate.

3.  Use various mathematical functions including: Linear, Quadratic and Trignometric types for suitable applications.

4.  Distinguish simple classifications of chemical compounds and relate their structures to their molecular properties.

5.  Appreciate the factors that determine how chemicals interact including acid-base and redox reaction concepts.

Indicative Content


Calculation and manipulation of data using Percentages, Indices, Roots, Interest (Simple and Compound), volumes of solids, Frequency tables, Stem/Leaf Diagrams, Probability, and simple equations.


Straight line graphs, Gradients, Equations of a straight line, Intercepts. Drawing graphs - Linear equations, Distances between points. Simultaneous linear equations. Trignometric formulae and use in triangles and graphs. Interpreting graphs of function.


Changing subject of a formulae. Factorisation - common factors, Difference of two squares, Trinomials. Solving simultaneous equations by Substitution and Elimination.


Introduction to functions - Linear, Quadratic and Trignometric function. Quadratic functions and solving quadratic equations. Factorising Quadratic equations. Trignometric functions - Sine, cosine and tangent. Trignometric formulae.


Introduction to Calculus - Differentiation. Applications and Examples.


Atomic structure, electron energy levels and orbital shape, The basis of the periodic table. Atomic parameters and their trends. Compounds, types of bonding, intermolecular forces and their roles. Polar and non polar molecules. Importance of hydrogen bonding.


Numbers and Units. SI system. Scientific notation. Moles and molar concentrations. Mass-moles and moles- mass calculations. Percentage compositions. Calculating empirical formulae. Balanced equations.


Fundamental concepts of precipitation, acid-base and redox reactions. Estimating pH of solutions. Introduction to weak acids and bases. Chemical Equilibria. Le Chatelier's principle. Reaction rates. Effect of Temp and chemical concentrations on rates of chemical reactions. Enthalpy. Heat capacity and energy changes.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 6
Tutorial/Seminar 22
Practical Activity 2
Assessment 50
Independent 120
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.