Plant Pathology is the study of plant diseases, their causes, and the interaction with the environment. The Master’s Degree program emphasizes studies on microorganisms, plants and their interactions. The field consists of several sub-disciplines including Phytomycology, Bacteriology, Plant Virology, Nematology, Epidemiology, Crop Protection and Post Harvest Pathology, to the study of which the tools of Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology are applied.
The Master’s Degree is designed to provide students with a broad exposure to the discipline of Plant Pathology through course work and field / research experience. Students will have the opportunity to be trained in both basic and applied aspects in Plant Pathology, with one of the primary thrusts of the program focusing on agricultural crops of economic importance.


  • To accommodate graduates who require further training in plant pathology prior to entering teaching or research careers.
  • To produce plant pathologists capable of evaluating and solving new disease problems
  • To assist in improving the local agriculture and horticulture industry


The program consists of course work (22 credits) and a research project (8 credits)

  • 1st year – Course work ( 2 semesters of 20 weeks each)
  • 2 nd year – Research project, seminar and viva voce examination

The program will be conducted on weekdays and/or weekends
The duration of the entire program is 2 years (4 semesters)
The Postgraduate Diploma consists of course work of 22 credits with a duration of one year (02 semesters).


Part I – Semester I

  • Phytopathogenic Fungi and Bacteria
  • Plant Virology
  • Plant Nematology
  • Molecular Techniques in Plant Pathology
  • Plant Disease Diagnosis
  • Physiological and Biochemical Plant Pathology
  • Post-Harvest Pathology

Part I-Semester II

  • Biostatistics and Experimental Design
  • Genetics of Plant Disease
  • Plant Disease Management
  • Plant Disease Epidemiology
  • Diseases of Field, Plantation and Vegetable Crops
  • Seminar

Part II

  • Research Project


B.Sc. degree from a recognized University with Botany/ Plant Sciences or Agriculture as a subject


Any other equivalent qualification accepted by the Senate of the University of Colombo


Application forms are available from the Academic Publications Branch of the University of Colombo, College House, on the payment of a non-refundable fee.
Duly completed applications should be sent to the SAR, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo on or before the closing date.
Further information regarding the program can be obtained from the Coordinator of the program:
Dr. (Mrs) C.M. Nanayakkara
Senior Lecturer,
Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Colombo ,
P.O. Box 1490 ,
Colombo 00300.
(Sri Lanka)
Tel: 94-(0)11-2585038
Fax: 94-(0)11-2503148

Syllabi of the Course Modules

MPP 1101 Phytopathogenic Fungi and Bacteria – 2C (20L, 20P)
In depth study of fungi, bacteria and related organisms that cause plant diseases – ability to infect, penetrate, colonize, cause symptoms and traits which enable them to effectively reproduce, disseminate and survive.

MPP 1102 Plant Virology – 2C (20L, 20P)
Nature and properties of viruses and virus-like entities. Symptomatology, transmission, purification, characters and classification, serology and control.

MPP 1103 Plant Nematology – 1C (10L, 10P)
Survey of nematodes that cause plant diseases, taxonomy, identification, life cycles. Symptoms and interaction with other pathogens, mechanisms of induction of disease.

MPP 1104 Molecular Techniques in Plant Pathology -2C (20L, 20P)
Study of molecular biological techniques and their applications in plant pathology –
Extraction and analysis of DNA; Restriction enzyme digestion; Nucleic acid hybridization; Southern, Northern and Western blots, PCR, DNA sequencing; Probes; Molecular markers

MPP 1105 Plant Disease Diagnosis – 1C (30P)
Identification of symptoms and signs; Observation of symptoms in the field; Lab practices in isolation, growth and identification of causal agents.
MPP 1106 Physiological and Biochemical Plant Pathology – 2C (20L, 20P)
Concepts in physiology and biochemistry of host-pathogen interactions, specificity, recognition, penetration, toxin and enzyme production, altered metabolism, resistance mechanisms and regulatory aspects.

MPP 1107 Post-harvest Pathology – 2C (20L, 20P)
Post harvest diseases, Factors affecting diseases, Management practices, Detection and identification of causal agents, Post-harvest technology, Mycotoxin management.

MPP 1201 Biostatistics and Experimental Design – 2C (20L, 20P)
Biostatistics- Description of data; Probability; Sampling distributions: random sampling, central limit theorem and sampling distributions for sample means; Confidence intervals for population mean and variance; Statistical inferences: point estimations, hypothesis testing; Inferences involving one population; Inferences involving two populations using independent and paired samples.
Experimental Design-Experiments and errors; Experimental designs; Treatment arrangements; Comparison tests; Correlation and regression; Statistical significance of results; Cluster and factor analyses; Presentation of results.

MPP 1202 Genetics of Plant Disease – 1C (10L, 10P)
Genes and disease, Variability, Types of resistance, Genetics of virulence and resistance, Transgenesis, Breeding of resistant varieties of plants.

MPP 1203 Plant Disease Management – 2C (20L, 20P)
Methods of plant disease management; Theories and effectiveness of their applications based on epidemiological principles; Methods including the use of agricultural practices, legislation, chemical and biological practices; Integrated disease management

MPP 1204 Plant Disease Epidemiology – 1C (10L, 10P)
Plant diseases in populations, Environment factors that influence amount and distribution of disease, Rates of disease, Disease curves, Assessment of disease, Vanderplankian models, Disease forecasting.

MPP 1205 Diseases of Field, Plantation and Vegetable Crops – 2C (20L, 20P)
Symptoms, epidemiology and control. Lab and field approaches to diagnosis and identification of causal agents.

MPP 1206 Seminar – 2C (60P)
Each student will prepare and present a seminar on a selected topic..

MPP 1301 Research Project – 8C