‘Plant Cell and Tissue Culture’ in general, is the growth of individual plant cells or isolated tissues on a nutrient medium, under aseptic conditions in glass or plastic vessels under artificial light. It is also referred to as ‘in vitro’ culture, and is an important and essential technique used for plant regeneration and multi-propagation, particularly in modern Plant Biotechnology. Today tissue culture techniques are used throughout the world as a tool both in research and in commercial production and are being applied to a great extent in agriculture, horticulture and industry. Some of the important applications of plant cell/ tissue culture techniques include:
• Elimination of viruses from plant tissues to obtain virus free plants.
• Micropropagation- mass production of uniform plants (clonal propagation)
• Induction of genetic variability.
• Improvement of crops through genetic engineering.
• Production of haploids – which offers a quick and convenient way of obtaining homozygous plants in breeding programs.
• Production of secondary metabolites through cell cultures.
• Studies on physiological, biochemical, genetic and structural problems related to plant growth and development.

Objectives of the program

• The main aim of this program is to produce experts in the field of plant cell and tissue culture. These experts in turn, would be able to
• Use the knowledge gained, in their institutes or start his/ her own industry.
• Train others and thereby produce skilled human resources in the field
• Assist in developing of biotechnology industry using the available resources of the country.
• To improve local agriculture and horticulture industry
• To lay the framework for encouraging, promoting and assisting industry on plant cell and tissue culture and its application in the country.

Program structure and duration

The M. Sc. program consists of course work including laboratory classes and a research project. The duration of the entire program is 24 months (4 semesters).
• First year (Part I )- Course work (2 semesters of 20 weeks each)
• Second year (Part II)- Research project, Seminar and viva voce examination
The Postgraduate Diploma program consists of course work with a duration of 12 months (2 semesters)
Lectures and laboratory sessions will be conducted on Fridays (3.00 pm to 6.00 pm) and Saturdays (Full day), only.

Program modules

Semester I
• Plant Growth and Development
• Aspects of Molecular Biology and Genetic Manipulation
• Biostatistics, Experimental Design and Computer Applications.
• Biosafety, Bioethics and Intellectual Property Rights
• Practicals – I
Semester II
• Tissue culture technology
• Applications of tissue culture technology
• Commercialization of tissue culture and Entrepreneurship
• Practicals – II
Semester III & IV**
• Research Project
• Seminar
• Viva voce

[** Note : Revisions are currently underway to slightly change modules for semester III and IV, in order to align the M.Sc. program with the Sri Lanka Qualifications Framework (SLQF) recently adopted by the University Grants Commission (UGC)]


A B.Sc. degree from a recognized University with Botany/ Plant Sciences/Plant Biotechnology or Agriculture as a subject
Any other equivalent qualification accepted by the Senate of the University of Colombo.

Application Procedure

Application forms can be obtained in person, or through the Faculty of Science website ( and using the link to the program from the pull-down menu under Academic> Postgraduate programs, or via post by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope 22 cm x 10 cm in size to the Assistant Registrar, Academic and Publications Branch, College House, University of Colombo, 94, Cumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha, Colombo 03.
The duly completed application form together with a Paying-in-voucher for Rs. 750/= paid to the University of Colombo, Account No. 086-100121189662, People’s Bank- Thimbirigasyaya Branch (this fee can also be paid at the Shroff Counter of the University of Colombo on week-days from 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1.00 p.m to 2.30 p.m.), and the copies of the academic certificates, should be sent to the Senior Assistant Registrar, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Colombo 03, on or before 24th of January 2014.

1. Application form
2. Brochure

Further Information

Further information regarding the program can be obtained from the Coordinator of the M.Sc. / PG Diploma in Plant Cell and Tissue Culture program:
Dr. (Mrs.) P. Saputhanthri,
Senior Lecturer / Department of Plant Sciences,
Faculty of Science,
University of Colombo, No. 94,
Colombo 03 (Sri Lanka)
Tel: 94-(0)11-2585038
E-mail :