The Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Colombo is a well-established unit in the Faculty of Science and enjoys a reputation for maintaining high academic standards in the discipline. Formerly known as the Department of Botany, the name was changed recently to ‘Plant Sciences’ in order to reflect more clearly, the changes that the department has effected to the courses that it offers. While still covering areas that come within the traditional boundaries of the subject ‘Botany’, the department has taken a conscious effort to include in its teaching programs, courses that cover the newest developments in the field.
In addition, the department caters the research & development needs of the industrial sector through the science & technology cell of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
The courses a student may offer from this department in the first two years of the B.Sc. degree program are diverse and have been designed to address all aspects of Plant Science at a fundamental level. Students opting for a three year general degree have the opportunity to select in their third year, courses that cover highly applied aspects of the field, such as horticulture, crop improvement and plant tissue culture technology. The newly introduced four year general degree program allows students develop their career towards horticulture and sustainable landscaping practices.
In addition, The department offers three Special degree programs, the Special Degree in Plant Science, the Special Degree in Plant Biotechnology and the Special Degree in Bioinformatics.
- The Special Degree in Plant Science provides an excellent training opportunity in field-based plant science courses and caters to students who wish to develop and enhance their skills in aspects of Biodiversity conservation, Ecology, Forestry, Plant Taxonomy as well as many other aspects of Plant Sciences.
- The Special degree in Plant Biotechnology was introduced in response to the growing awareness of this scientific discipline as a rapidly developing and expanding field, the study of which will have useful applications in the emerging new science and technology based industry.
- The Special degree in Bioinformatics was introduced in 2006/2007 as a response to the current need in training biological science students in analyzing and management of biological data using computer science and information technology. The University of Colombo is the first to introduce such a program in the university system in Sri Lanka.This newly emerged field in biosciences is applicable in a great variety of disciplines such as molecular biotechnology , drug designing and biodiversity conservation.
The department conducts three M. Sc. degree programs by course-work, each with a strong research component in the final year. The three subject areas in which the degrees may be offered are, Plant Pathology, Plant Tissue Culture, and Agricultural Microbiology.
The Department conducts two Diploma programmes. Diploma in Biodiversity Management (DBIOM), conducted jointly with the Department of Zoology, is a multidisciplinary course that focuses on biological, legal, social and economic aspects of biodiversity conservation and management. The course provides essential skills and knowledge to become leaders in biodiversity, conservation and management across number of different career paths including opportunities with local authorities, national/international private companies, statutory agencies, non-governmental and research organizations. Diploma in Microbiological techniques is designed to produce a high calibre employee, specially trained to meet up to date requirements in microbiological techniques of many of the biotechnology, agricultural, pharmaceutical, healthcare and food and beverage based industries.