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MSc in Agricultural Microbiology

Offered by the Department of Plant Sciences

Agricultural microbiology is a scientific discipline oriented to satisfy the request of new knowledge from the society, consumers and producers, needed for the exploitation of microbial resources in the main frame of agricultural and agro-industrial processes. In a world teeming with microorganisms, benefits and threats are continuously posed to humans, animals, plants and the environment as a whole. Threats come from microbial pathogens that perpetrate a wide range of plant and animal diseases, reducing agricultural productivity.

The constant spread and evolution of agricultural pathogens provides a continually renewed source of challenges to productivity and food safety. Benefits come from the many microorganisms associated with, or introduced into, cropping systems, food and food related industries. Additionally, new vulnerabilities are generated for agriculture by global movement of agricultural products, trading policies, industrial agricultural practices, and the potential for malicious releases of pathogens. Science and technology emerging from microbiology research can help meet these challenges to agriculture. 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. Complex interactions among microbes and agricultural systems must be better understood to facilitate the optimal use of beneficial microorganisms and maximal control of pathogens. In this programme, attempts will be made to give an in depth knowledge pertaining to sustainable use of microorganisms as a valuable tool in agriculture.


A Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science/ Agriculture from a recognized university

any other equivalent qualification acceptable to the Senate of the University of Colombo.

The candidates will be selected based on academic merits and an interview.

Course Fees

LKR 225,500.00

*The course fee would be payable in two installments.

Registration for 2020 intake

The programme is not yet advertised for the 2020 intake.

Programme Duration

The duration of the entire program is 02 years (4 semesters).


The main objective is to disseminate new knowledge and technologies to agriculturists with regard to continued advances in agricultural microbiology. In addition:

  • To provide a sound background in microbial processes and their applications in agriculture.
  • Culturing and preservation of microorganisms
  • Simulation of microbial processes in the laboratory
  • Laboratory management
  • To produce experts capable of using novel technologies in current agricultural settings
  • To encourage and to lay framework in establishing organic farming systems in Sri Lanka.

Program Structure

The Postgraduate Diploma consists of course work with a duration of one year (02 semesters). The MSc Program consists of course work and a Research Project.

Course Modules


Semester I

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5101 General Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5102 Plant-Microbe Interaction 15L, 1C
MAM 5103 Biotechnology in Agricultural Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5104 Biostatistics, Experimental Design and Computer Applications 30L, 2C
MAM 5105 Post-harvest Diseases 30L, 2C
MAM 5106 Practical Module I 120P, 4C
MAM 5106 Seminar 15L, 1C

Semester II

Course Code Name Hours/ Credits
MAM 5201 Soil Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5206 Phytopathogenic Microorganisms 15L, 1C
MAM 5207 Plant Disease Management 15L, 1C
MAM 5204 Organic Agriculture 30L, 2C
MAM 5208 Quality Assurance and Laboratory Management in Microbiology 15L, 1C
MAM 5209 Practical Module II 90P, 3C


Course Code Name Credits
MAM 5301 Research Project 9C

Evaluation Criteria

All the theory course modules shall be evaluated by written examinations and/ or assignments. Practical modules shall be evaluated by separate practical assessments and/or assignments and/ or continuous assessments. Seminars shall be evaluated by presentations. The research project shall be evaluated through a written dissertation, a presentation and a viva-voce examination.

Degree/ Diploma Awarding Criteria

General guidelines of the Faculty of Science will apply to the award of the MSc and the Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Microbiology. All candidates are required to sit for the examinations of all the course modules in Part I.

Postgraduate Diploma
Candidates who obtain a GPA of not less than 2.50 for Part I are eligible for the award of the Diploma.

MSc Degree
Those who obtain a GPA of not less than 3.00 for Part I of the Program will be allowed to proceed to Part II of the MSc Programme. Candidates, who reach a GPA of 3.00 or above, but opt not to do Part II of the Program, will be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Microbiology. Candidates who fail to obtain a GPA of 3.00, but maintain a GPA of not less than 2.50 in Part I, will also be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma.

Further Information

Further information regarding the MSc Program can be obtained by contacting the programme coordinator.

Contact details of the programme coordinators are as follows.

Intake Coordinator Email Phone No.
2020 Dr. Sameera Ariyawansa 94 11 258 5038