Integrated MSc at BU a big hit

Integrated MSc at BU a big hit

Enrolment in science courses all over the State may be declining steadily, but the five-year integrated MSc course offered by the Department of Biological Sciences at Bangalore University (BU) has turned out to be a surprise hit among students. 

The only integrated science course in BU, it offers a mixture of basic and contemporary knowledge in the field combined with a stress on research. Ever since it was started seven years ago, the course has been receiving far more applications than the seats available. 

While there are only 16 seats on offer, the number of applications swelled to 150 or even 200 in the last four years, according to Dr Puttaraju H P, co-ordinator of the department. 

In the first two years, there were fewer applications, but the numbers have shot up ever since. At present, the course is offered at the BU and not at any affiliated college. The department, Puttaraju added, would gauge the demand for the course for at least 10 years, before introducing it in affiliated colleges.  

Besides basic subjects and languages, the course includes biophysics, biostatics, molecular biology and genetic engineering. 

The last semester is devoted entirely to research. Students are offered internships at well-known research institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). Students can leave the course in the third year to opt for BSc, but no one has done so, he added. 

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Kavya Krishna, who graduated in second batch, recalled that there were just 10 students back then. But she is emphatic that the course helped her a great deal. “During the course, I was able to publish a paper in the ‘National Journal of Life Sciences’,” she said. 

“The course allowed me such freedom.” Kavya is now a research assistant at the NCBS. Some of her classmates work for Biocon while others have been associated with the IISc and the NCBS, she added. 

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