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Botany

My daughter is doing the B.Sc. course in botany. Kindly let us know about the higher study options.

KUNJU MUHAMMED, ALUVA

I am in the final year of the B.Sc. botany course and would like to go for an integrated Ph.D. programme in relevant subjects. Kindly provide me the options.

AJI M., E-MAIL

Botany graduates have several higher study options such as biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, bioinformatics, microbiology, environmental science, and sericulture technology, apart from general courses in disciplines such as business administration, library and information science, law, and mass communication and journalism.

Integrated Ph.D. courses in biological sciences are another option for first-class graduates in biological sciences, including botany and zoology.

A Ph.D. scales up career prospects, and final-year M.Sc. students and those who have passed the course with at least 55 per cent marks can appear for the National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship and Lectureship conducted by the University Grants Commission and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Those who clear the test can do research with fellowship or scholarship or become a lecturer.

For higher studies in subjects such as biotechnology or bioinformatics, mathematical skills are required and mathematics should have been a subject of study at the Plus Two level. A biology background is required for biotechnology and mathematics and computer science for bioinformatics.

Biotechnology

This promising multidisciplinary, research-oriented field encompasses not only biology and engineering but also subjects such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some of the fast-growing areas in biotechnology are recombinant DNA technology, microbial biotechnology, tissue culture technology, cell biology, immunotechnology, and protein engineering.

Whether in fighting diseases, developing new seeds or tackling pollution, biotechnology has uses and applications. Major application areas are in health care, pharmaceuticals or medicine, agriculture, environment, and animal husbandry.

It is better to take an M.Sc. degree in biotechnology and then Ph.D. Several institutions offer the M.Sc. course. Choose or specialise in plant sciences or tissue culture.

The Indian Institutes of Technology, Bombay and Roorkee offer postgraduate courses in biotechnology. Selection is through the Joint Admission Test.

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, conducts a combined entrance test for admission to M.Sc. biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology; M.V.Sc. biotechnology; and M.Tech. biotechnology programmes offered by several participating universities and institutes, including the University of Calicut. In Kerala, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram are the test centres.

After taking an M.Sc. degree in biotechnology, joining the M.Tech. programme in the discipline is an option, for which clearing the combined biotechnology entrance examination is essential.

The Department of Biotechnology of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) conducts a two-year, four-semester M.Sc. biotechnology course. Graduates in any branch of life sciences with minimum 55 per cent marks can seek admission.

Selection is based on the Cusat Common Admission Test score. The university offers research facilities for doing the Ph.D. course. (www.cusat.ac.in).

The Department of Biotechnology on the Karyavattom campus of the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram; the Thalassery campus at Palayad of Kannur University; the School of Biosciences of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam; and some colleges offer the M.Sc. biotechnology course.

Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli, offers the M.Sc. course in biotechnology, eco-biotechnology, plant biotechnology, and animal biotechnology.

The University of Hyderabad conducts M.Sc. courses in plant sciences (biotechnology) and animal biotechnology and a Ph.D. programme in plant sciences.

The School of Life Sciences, University of Madras, Chennai offers an M.Sc. course in biotechnology.

Bioinformatics

Another option for botany graduates is the emerging field of bioinformatics, a fusion of physical sciences, life sciences, and information sciences and technology.

Computational modelling and analysis is now an integral part of biological discovery. Bioinformatics combines the tools and techniques of mathematics, computer science, and biology to understand the biological significance of data.

Some of the main areas of bioinformatics are data mining and analysis for genome projects, protein-structure predictions, systems biology, and developing computer databases and algorithms for biological research. Those who have an aptitude for biology and basic knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, and computer science can specialise in higher-level bioinformatics programmes. An analytical mind and a scientific aptitude are prerequisites.

Graduates in science and biosciences can do the M.Sc. course in bioinformatics. More and more universities and colleges are introducing it.

Other options

Microbiology, applied microbiology, and molecular biology are higher study options for botany graduates keen on research. In Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, the University of Calicut, Kannur University, and a few colleges offer the M.Sc. course in microbiology.

The University of Madras conducts the M.Sc. course in industrial microbiology at the School of Life Sciences on its Guindy campus and in molecular biology at the Genetics Department on its Taramani campus.

Bharathiar University, Bharathidasan University, and the University of Delhi provide opportunities to do the M.Sc. course in microbiology.

The Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute, Mysore, functioning under the Central Silk Board, offers an M.Sc. course in sericulture technology, affiliated to the University of Mysore. Botany graduates are eligible for admission. Selection is based on an entrance test and an interview.

Annamalai University offers M.Sc. programmes in environmental biotechnology, coastal aquaculture, marine biotechnology, marine food technology, and marine microbiology. Botany graduates may apply for admission.

The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Hebbal, Bangalore offers an M.Sc. course in wildlife biology and conservation and the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, offers an M.Sc. course in forestry (economics and management).

Cusat offers an M.Sc. course in industrial fisheries and marine biology for graduates in botany and zoology with at least 55 per cent marks.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi offers M.Sc. programmes in anatomy and medical biotechnology for science graduates in relevant subjects (www.aiims.edu).

Integrated Ph.D.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore offers an integrated Ph.D. programme in biological sciences. Those with a first-class B.Sc. degree in biological sciences, including botany and zoology, may apply. Selection is based on the national-level IISc entrance test. (www.iisc.ernet.in).

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, offers integrated Ph.D. programmes in biology, chemistry, and physics. Those with a B.Sc. or B.Tech. degree in relevant disciplines may apply. (www.iiserpune.ac.in).

The Graduate School under the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai offers M.Sc. and integrated Ph.D. courses in biology. Graduates in relevant disciplines are eligible for admission.

Selection is based on a national-level entrance test. (www.tifr.res.in).

The University of Delhi admits talented students for postgraduate studies and research in the frontier areas of biomedical science at the B.R. Ambedkar Centre for Biomedical Research.

The four-year M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme admits those with a degree in certain subjects, including biology. (www.acbrdu.ac.in).

MBA

Postgraduate programmes conducted by institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMS) are a good option for graduates in any discipline. Admission to the IIMs is based on the Common Admission Test (CAT) score, a group discussion, and an interview. Several business schools use the score for short-listing candidates for group discussion and interview.

The Department of Management Science, University of Pune, and the University Business School of Panjab University conducts an MBA course in biotechnology. The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, conducts a postgraduate programme in forestry management. Selection is based on the IIM- CAT score, a group discussion, and an interview.

The list is only indicative. A list of more universities and colleges that offer these courses can be had from the University Handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, available for reference at the university employment information and guidance bureaux at the universities in Kerala.