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MSc in Agricultural Microbiology

Offered by the Department of Plant Sciences

Agricultural microbiology is a sector of science that deals with plant-associated microbes and their roles in agriculture-related industries. This branch of science explores microbes, their processes and the relationships with plants with the intention of exploiting them to enhance productivity in agricultural industries while safeguarding the environment. The constant spread and evolution of agricultural pathogens provide a continually renewed source of challenges to productivity and food safety, while numerous benefits are derived from many microorganisms associated with, or introduced into, cropping systems, food, and food-related industries. Knowledge of microbial pathogens will lead to tools for surveillance and disease prevention. Beneficial microbes may find uses in agriculture as biofertilizers, phytostimulators, bioherbicides, biopesticides, bioremediators, etc. Thus, Master of Science programme in Agricultural Microbiology intends to provide an in-depth knowledge of plant-associated microbes and the sustainable use of microorganisms as a valuable tool in agriculture

Objectives

The main objective is to disseminate new knowledge, technologies and advances in agricultural microbiology to current and prospective agriculturists. In addition the programme intends to:

  • provide a sound background in microbial processes and their applications in agriculture.
  • train in culturing and preservation of microorganisms
  • simulate microbial processes in the laboratory
  • train in laboratory management
  • encourage and lay a framework to establish organic farming systems in Sri Lanka.
  • train in applying proper scientific methods and hypothesis testing to design and execute experiments necessary for innovation and problem solving.
  • produce experts capable of using novel technologies in current agricultural settings to overcome challenges and enhance productivity.

For whom

  • Graduates who are expecting to pursue M. Phil/Ph.D. studies in a related field.
  • Research officers/scientists, extension officers, and educators in public and private institutions who require advanced training in agricultural microbiology.
  • Qualified entrepreneurs and enthusiast with an interest in the field of microbiology and agriculture.       

Eligibility

A Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized university with Microbiology/Botany/Plant Sciences/ Biotechnology/Plant Biotechnology or Agriculture as a subject or any other equivalent qualification acceptable to the Senate of the University of Colombo. The candidates will be selected based on academic merits, examination and/or an interview.

Important Dates

Apply before 22nd November 2021

Programme commencement – January/ 2022

Course Fees

LKR 275,000.00

  •  Master of Science – Rs. 275,000/= (could be paid in two interest free installments)
    1st installment – Rs. 175,000/= (at the time of registration)
    2nd installment – Rs. 100,000/= (within 6 months of registration)
  • Master of Science (Research) – Rs. 75,000/= (at the time of enrollment for Part III)

Application Fee: LKR 1,500/-
Registration Fee: LKR 2,500/-
Library Fee: LKR 3,000/-
Examination fee: LKR 10,000/-
Library deposit (refundable): LKR 5,000/-


How to apply

Make sure you have scanned copies of the following documents before applying

  • Duly completed application form. Application form can be downloaded from   here
  • Copy of the bank slip (application fee of Rs. 1500/-)
  • Scanned copies of relevant educational certificates
  • Passport size photograph

Application fee: Rs. 1500/=

Payment details:

  • Bank: People’s Bank
  • Branch: Thimbirigasyaya.
  • Name of account: University of Colombo.
  • Account No: 314011800008

Course Duration

  • The duration of Parts I and II of the Master of Science programme is 24 months. The duration of Part III is of a further 12 months.
  • The maximum period allowed to complete the degree is five (05) years from the date of first registration.
  • Students who fail to complete Part I and Part II within 3 years from the first registration will not be allowed to register for Part III.

Lectures and practicals will be conducted on Fridays (3 – 6 pm) and Saturdays (8 am to 5 pm). Lectures will be conducted in a blended mode with both online and face-to-face sessions. Practical sessions will include both laboratory work and field visits.

Medium of Instruction

The medium of instruction as well as that of assessments/examinations shall be English, and the medium for correspondence shall also be English.

Course Modules

PART I - Postgraduate Diploma (SLQF L8) Total credits - 25

Semester I

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5101 General Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5102 Plant-Microbe Interaction 15L, 1C
MAM 5103 Agricultural Biotechnology 30L, 2C
MAM 5104 Biostatistics, Experimental Design 10L, 10P, 1C
MAM 5108 Microbial Bioinformatics 30P, 1C
MAM 5105 Phytopathogenic Microorganisms 15L, 1C
MAM 5106 Practical Module I 120P, 4C
MAM 5107 Seminar 30P, 1C

Semester II

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5206 Post-harvest Diseases 15L, 1C
MAM 5209 Food Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5201 Soil Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5207 Plant Disease Management 15L, 1C
MAM 5204 Organic Agriculture 15L, 1C
MAM 5208 Quality Assurance and Laboratory Management in Microbiology 30L, 2C
MAM 5212 Plant inspection and quarantine 15L, 1C
MAM 5213 Entrepreneurship 15L, 1C
MAM 5211 Practical Module II 120P, 4C

PART II - Total Credits - 05

Semester III

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5301 Directed Study (guided mini research project/case study) 150P, 5C
  • Part I + Part II : Master of Science (SLQF L9) – Total credits – 30

PART III - Total credits - 30

Semester IV

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5401 Research Project 12 months, 30C
  • Part I + Part II + Part III : Master of Science (Research) (SLQF L10) – Total credits – 60

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the programme students should be able to,

  • demonstrate critical awareness of fundamental concepts, theories, processes, applications and current issues/trends in the field of agricultural microbiology.
  • identify and explain the diverse and vital roles of microorganisms in agriculture-based industries. 
  • demonstrate skills in the use of tools, technologies and methods common to microbiology and associated industries.
  • apply proper scientific methods and hypothesis testing to design and conduct investigations and make accurate interpretations and conclusions.
  • communicate and disseminate findings and decisions to the specialist in the field and wider community.
  • evaluate, plan and execute appropriate microbe-based solutions in a methodical and creative way to deal with issues and challenges in agriculture related industries.
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems related to the field
  • uphold relevant ethical standards and professional conduct at all times.

Program Structure

The MSc in in Agricultural Microbiology programme consists of theory modules, practical classes, field lessons, a case study/mini research project (a guided independent study) and a research project. Theory modules will be conducted in a blended mode with both online and face-to-face lectures and tutorial classes. In a theory module, fifteen direct teaching hours (50 notional hours) is considered as one credit and in the practical and field courses, thirty hours of work/direct teaching (50 notional hours) is considered as one credit. The programme structure is designed according to the Master of Science By-Laws No. 8 of 2021 of Faculty of Science/University of Colombo and the guidelines issued by the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council of the UGC, SL to fulfill the criteria of MSc programs, SLQF L 8, 9 & 10. MSc in Agricultural Microbiology programme consists of 3 parts.

Part I:

  • Consist of theory modules, field lessons, and laboratory sessions that amount to 25 credits. This is equivalent to Level 8 of the SLQF (Sri Lanka Qualifications Framework)
  • Students who obtain a GPA of 2.70 or above for Part I may be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Microbiology (SLQF L8), upon request, provided the student fulfills other requirements as prescribed by these By-Laws and Rules and Regulations of the University of Colombo.
  • Successful completion of Part I with a GPA of 3.00 is required to proceed to Part II.

Part II:

  • Part II consists of a directed study equivalent to a guided mini research project/case study worth 5 credits. Students undertaking the mini research project/case study are required to carry out research at an academic/research/industrial institution where necessary facilities are available and submit a report on the research/case study carried out.
  • Part I (25 credits) and part II (5 credits) combined (30 credits in total) is equivalent to level 9 of the SLQF.
  • A student who obtains a GPA of 3.00 or above for Part II may be eligible for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Agricultural Microbiology, upon request, provided the student fulfills other requirements as prescribed by these By-Laws and Rules and Regulations of the University of Colombo.
  • To proceed to Part III students should achieve a GPA of 3.00 for Part II and complete parts I and II within three years from the date of registration

Part III:

  • Consist of an individual research project of 30 credits. Students undertaking a research project are required to carry out research at an academic/research/industrial institution where necessary facilities are available and submit a dissertation on the research carried out. The title of the research project, place where the research work shall be carried out, and the supervisor/s should be recommended and approved by the relevant authorities as stipulated by the Master of Science By-Laws No. 8 of 2021, prior to commencement of research.
  • Part I (25 credits), part II (5 credits) and Part III (30 credits) combined (60 credits in total) is equivalent to level 10 of the SLQF.
  • Students who obtain a GPA of 3.00 or above for Part III of the programme may be eligible for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Agricultural Microbiology (Research), provided the students fulfill other requirements as prescribed by the By-Laws and Rules and Regulations of the University of Colombo.
  • A student who fails to achieve a GPA of 3.00 or above for Part III shall be eligible to be awarded the Degree of Master of Science in Agricultural Microbiology, upon request, provided the student fulfills other requirements as prescribed by these By-Laws and Rules and Regulations of the University of Colombo.

Course Evaluation

  • All the theory course modules will be evaluated by written examinations and/or assignments.
  • Practical modules will be evaluated by separate practical assessments and/or assignments and/or continuous assessments.
  • Seminars shall be evaluated by presentations.
  • Directed study (mini research project/case study) will be evaluated through a written report, a presentation and a viva-voce examination.
  • The research project will be evaluated through a written research proposal, dissertation, a presentation, a viva-voce examination and a manuscript.

Further Information

Dr. Sameera Ariyawansa
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Colombo
Colombo – 03
Tel: +94 11 2585038 +94 77 3658528
Email: sameera@pts.cmb.ac.lk