Microbiology is a multifaceted discipline, having its applications in medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and industries like food and beverages, pharmaceutical industry etc. Therefore, microbiological analysis has become an essential tool in industry. The industrial sector is increasingly aware of the benefits of being accredited by a certified accreditation body and hence the need for properly trained, skilful and knowledgeable staff has become a necessity. This programme is designed to fulfill that need in producing a workforce that meets the requirements in the microbiological sector.

The programme is designed to produce a high caliber 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.


The programme is designed,

  • To enhance knowledge on theoretical aspects of microbiological techniques.
  • To develop high level skills in microbial techniques.
  • To provide essential training to work in a range of microbiology-based industries.
  • To provide an understanding on the application of quality management systems in a microbiology laboratory setting.

Target Group

  • Personnel already engaged in microbiological analysis in private/public sector laboratories.
  • Personnel intending to pursue a career in microbiology related work.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates possessing,

  • At least three passes in one sitting with biology as a subject at G.C.E. (A/L) Examination (in its present format), or
  • At least four passes in one sitting with Botany as a subject at G.C.E. (A/L) Examination (in its earlier format), or
  • Candidates who have passed the G.C.E. (O/L) Examination with at least a credit pass in Science and having at least one year of relevant industrial/research experiences, which are acceptable to the Senate.

Course Structure, Duration and Evaluation

Course Structure

The programme shall consists of six modules, each having lectures and practical sessions in accordance with the credit value specified for a particular module. In a theory module, fifteen lecture hours of instruction is considered as one credit and in the practical components, thirty hours of work is considered as one credit. The total number of modules is 06 which is equivalent to 12 credits.

DMT 01- Microbial Life (2C)
DMT 02 – Fundamentals of Plant Pathology (2C)
DMT 03 – Environmental Microbiology (2C)
DMT 04 – Basic Food Microbiology (2C)
DMT 05 – Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance (2C)
DMT 06 – Microbial biotechnology (2 C)


The duration of the course will be 12 months (part-time) including the periods of study leave and examinations. The courses will be conducted on weekends. The maximum period allowed to complete the Diploma will be eighteen months from the date of registration.



There will be three papers and each paper will consist of two separate components: a written theory paper and a corresponding practical assessment.

  • Paper 1 – DMT 01 and DMT 02 (4C)
  • Paper 2 – DMT 03 and DMT 04 (4C)
  • Paper 3 – DMT 05 and DMT 06 (4C)

Examination Criteria

The Diploma in Microbial Techniques will be awarded to candidates who obtain a minimum GPA of 2.0, as described in the Guidelines for Diploma Programmes conducted by the Faculty of Science – 2007.

Repeat Examination

A candidate who fails to satisfy above examination criteria will be permitted to sit such papers only once at the next available occasion in order to obtain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to satisfy the requirements of the Diploma.

Syllabi of the Course Modules

DMT 01 Microbial Life (15 L, 30 P 2C)

Morphology and reproductive diversity of fungi and bacteria; Classification; Nature of viruses and virus-like particles; Growth of microorganisms: Patterns of growth, factors affecting, control of growth.

DMT 02 Fundamentals of Plant Pathology (20 L, 20 P 2C)

Characters of plant pathogenic microorganisms; Disease symptoms; Examination of diseased plant material; Isolation and cultivation of plant pathogens; Disease diagnosis.

DMT 03 Environmental Microbiology (15 L, 30 P 2C)

Microbiology of water: Microbial components in water; Water pollution; Water treatment; Microbiological analysis of water; Certification systems concerning water quality; Waste treatment; Solid and liquid waste treatment, sewage treatment, testing treatment efficiency; Microbes and agriculture: Composting techniques, microbes as biocontrol agents and biofertilizers.

DMT 04 Basic Food Microbiology (15 L, 30 P 2C)

Types of microorganisms associated with food; Food spoilage: Food preservation; Microbiological analysis of foods and beverages: Detection of microbial contaminants in foods; Microbiology of milk and dairy products; Microbial quality testing of milk; Food quality standards: HACCP system certification.

DMT 05 Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance(30 L 2C)

General guidelines; Biological risks, hazard categories and laboratory safety requirements; Quality assurance in microbiology: Laboratory personnel, maintenance of laboratory equipments, laboratory house-keeping, media checks, culture maintenance, minimization of errors and calculation of uncertainty; Laboratory accreditation: Requirements as per ISO 17025; GILSP practices.

DMT 06 Microbial Biotechnology (20 L 20 P 2C)

Mass production of microorganisms; Microbial products: enzymes, antibiotics, biofuels, alcohols, organic acids, etc.; Bioremediation using microorganisms; Microorganisms as vectors in recombinant DNA Technology; Molecular tools in microbial taxonomy.

Contact Details

Dr. C.M. Nanayakkara

Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Colombo ,
P.O. Box 1490 , Colombo 03 ( Sri Lanka).

Tel: 94-(0)11-2585038
Fax: 94-(0)11-2503148