The Faculty of Applied Sciences launched the B.Sc. (Honours) Degree in Applied Sciences in 2014 with 53 exceptional students as the first pioneering batch, laying the groundwork for this degree program that is specifically designed to meet the needs of current industrial requirements. The concept of establishing the B.Sc. (Honours) in Applied Sciences Degree program was by Prof. Sudantha Liyanage the dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the time. Prof. Pahan Godakumbura gave an immense contribution as a degree coordinator from the start of this journey till today. Due to the improvement in the performance of students, the program is being implemented successfully and the eighth batch of the degree has already reached its successful completion with 109 undergraduate students. The ninth batch of the degree program is under progression. The first undergraduate research symposium was held in 2015. The annual symposium held in the year 2017 was considered the first certified Green Event in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
This program is offered for students who have entered the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura through either physical, biological, or polymer science stream and completed the 3 years General Degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5. According to the Sri Lankan Qualification Framework (SLQF) of the Ministry of Higher Education, the program is evaluated at the SLQF 6/NVQL 7 level. After completing 90 credits from their B.Sc. General Degree Program, each student should enroll in course units with a minimum cumulative credit value of 30 during their fourth year. Students should register for 16 credits in the first semester, comprising 8 core credits (c) offered by the Faculty of Applied Sciences and 8 optional credits (o) offered by each department depending on the selection criteria derived from the Program Management Committee (PMC). The students are assigned to complete an industrial-based research project along with an internship as the major component of the degree program.
It is a professional degree program, which is multidisciplinary in nature and presented by ten departments (Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Polymer Science, Statistics, Zoology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology) of the Faculty as a combined attempt mainly for catering to the industrial sector in Sri Lanka. The subjects offered are Chemistry, Management Science, Polymer Science and Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Economics, Environmental Management, and Forestry, Botany, Zoology, Biology, Aquatic Resources Management, Electronic and Embedded systems, Genetics, and Molecular Biology.
Other than subject-related knowledge, the students get valuable chances of participating in workshops conducted by several reputed organizations. A skill development program offered by the industry can be considered as one that helps to guide and sharpen their personality and skills. In addition, several workshops on Leadership and soft skills development, CV writing, Interview facing, Personal grooming, Public speaking, and course for the basic software packages of Microsoft Excel, Endnote, SPSS/Minitab, and Photoshop are held as significant components of the degree program. Extra-curricular activities that the students can engage in as a part of the degree program are organizing the degree awareness program, Planning and organizing Guest Lectures, and planning and executing the Undergraduate Symposium-UNI- IN ALLIANCE.
As a pathway to bridging the existing gap between industry expectations and academic profile, this is undoubtedly the best opportunity to develop either professionally or academically through a one-degree program. There is an emerging demand for graduates with greater capacities to meet the current and future necessities of the industrial sector in Sri Lanka. Thus, laying out this degree program with an industrial research component at the end of the year paves the way for extensive opportunities in the job market. And also the degree program helps to fulfill the requirement of a four-year degree to pursue higher studies in worldwide international universities. Therefore, the graduates can reach their aspirations of achieving high academic standards as well. A majority of the alumni who have followed up on this degree are currently engaged in higher studies in several countries around the world. And simultaneously, some have got the opportunity to join the academic staff of various educational institutions. With the greater openings in the corporate sector, some of the graduates are working in higher positions in well-known organizations. Overcoming the challenges faced during the inauguration of the B.Sc. (Honours) Degree in Applied Sciences it has accomplished its objectives and is successfully performing at the current stage.
Author – Chamudi Yasara Jayasinghe
Cover Designer – Dilitha Darshana Nanayakkara