The Department of Botany was started by the University of Madras in 1977 at its Autonomous Post Graduate Extension Centre at Tiruchirappalli. The Department was transferred to Bharathidasan University when the latter was started in 1981.
During 1989, the then Botany Department is elevated into School of Life Sciences with four constituent Departments viz. Plant Science (earlier Botany), Animal Science, Microbiology and Biotechnology*. In the year 2005, two more Departments viz. Bioinformatics and Biochemistry are started as constituent Departments of the School of Life Sciences. The School of Life Sciences is having a separate library with more than 6000 books catering to the requirements of the M.Sc. students, research scholars and faculty members of the constituent Departments.
As the School of Life Sciences of Bharathidasan University has gone from strength to strength and it has recently been recognized as a "Centre of Excellence in Life Sciences" by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu with a grant of Rupees One Crore.
* - Recently elevated as School of Biotechnology
Our vision is to develop the School of Life Sciences of Bharathidasan University into a Centre for Excellence in teaching, research and extension activities in the various subjects of Life Sciences and to improve all the on-going programs in terms of content, practice and learning resources to the students.
Establishment of laboratory facility, common to all departments, with space (to be provided by the University) and equipment (to be provided from the Government Special grant), complimentary and/or contributory to the existing facilities catering especially to the needs of the students of the coveted 5 year integrated program, but to be extended to the students of the 2 year M.Sc. programs and for research, so as to strengthen all the ongoing programs.
To provide for collaborative research, with participation by faculty from within the SLS, as well as Scientists from other institutions in the country and abroad, so as to earn recognition for SLS as an international referral center; and
To offer the various programs in the manner most effective, making available to students all the facilities thus built so as to render the programs at the same wave length as the ones offered at the central institutes.
A "Laboratory facility" with high tech. equipments viz. 2D Gel Electrophoresis unit with Chemi Doc, UV Visible Spectro Fluorometer, RTPCR, HPTLC and Ultra Centrifuge, is established. From the University fund a building (G+1) for this centre at a total cost of Rs.1.5 crore is constructed.
Thus the centre will function towards collaborative research, with participation by faculty from within the SLS, as well as Scientists from other institutions in the country and abroad, so as to earn recognition for SLS as an international referral center.
A five-year integrated program in M.Sc. Plant Science was started in the academic year 1987-1988. Students who have studied Botany and Zoology / Biology in +2 are admitted to the program. The Bharathidasan University is perhaps the first to have started such a program in India.
From the academic year 1990-1991 onwards five-year integrated M.Sc. Life Science Program is being offered instead of five-year integrated M.Sc. Plant Science program.
Special Features of the Programme
The 3+2 pattern of undergraduate-postgraduate education has several set-backs, the most important ones being (i) almost one-third the program content consists of language courses, which are of little relevance in the acquisition of knowledge in the subject of specialization, and (ii) redundancy of courses between the 3 year undergraduate and 2 year postgraduate programs, i.e., the same course is offered at both the levels with little, if any, difference in the content.
This is to be seen in the background of the vast and rapid expansion the academic branches are making, resulting in many newer branches coming up, which can not be included in the curriculum in view of much of the load being occupied by the obsolete and redundant courses.
The solution to this anomalous situation is the system of five year integrated program, where in there is virtually no under-graduate component, and the program is run for all five years at postgraduate level.
The most significant asset of this system is that students are caught while young and put to learn in an environment very different from a college.
The major highlight of the program is more than 50 courses are offered, with little redundancy. This is to be compared with the hardly 12-16 courses in the conventional 3+2 stream.
The courses are offered in the pick-up pattern, i.e., introduction of the course at the low profile but soon picking up to a level higher than for the conventional postgraduate level.
Varied elective courses could be offered such that students have a wide choice of subjects to specialize, providing for horizontal mobility.
The pinnacle to glory is the final semester dissertation (full 6 months), which the students take at higher level institutes and industries where they get exposed to latest tools and techniques. Many students go to foreign countries to do the project. This, to a great extent, determines the career choice of the students.
BDU School of Life Sciences has more than 40 faculties, most of whom are scientists of high caliber, very active in research, each one running one or more projects and having great lot of international connections. The ambience in which the students learn is such that without anybody motivating or even telling them, most of the students decide on science as career.
The course content is revised every three years such that there is matching with the latest trends in the subject.
The M.Sc. program is a recognized one by the Central and State Governments i.e. eligible for Civil services of Central and State Government, SLET, NET, TRB and it has been offered most successfully for more than two decades.
Many students who went out of the portals of the School of Life Sciences are either well placed in highly reputed educational or research establishments or pursuing higher studies or researches abroad (USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy etc.) or in renowned institutions in India.
Dr. G.R. Rao (1989-1994)
Dr. K.V. Krishnamurthy (1994-1996)
Dr. M.R. Chandran (1996-1998)
Dr. M. Vivekanandan (1998-2002)
Dr. G. Subramanian (2002-2003)
Dr. M.A. Akbarsha (2003-2008)