History - Department of Biological Sciences
When the University started in 1962, the degree programme offered by the department was in the form of a three-year combined Honours degree programmes with each candidate taking three suitable subjects in the first year and two main subjects plus a subsidiary subject in the second and third years. One such combined degree structure was as follows:
1st year: Botany, Zoology, Chemistry
2nd year: Botany, Zoology, subsidiary chemistry
3rd year: Botany, Zoology, subsidiary Biochemistry
The main subject combinations were Bot/Zoo., Bot/Chem., Zoo/Chem, Bio/Geog and the subsidiary was the third subject offered in the 1st year and/or one closely related to it. A Biology/Education combination was also offered in the late 60s in conjunction with the Faculty of Education. The rationale for the combined honours broad-based degree programme of the department was to produce graduates that would be very useful to society, especially as science teachers in secondary and lower tertiary institutions. The combined honours programme was run for the first and second batches of graduates (1965 and 1966). However, due to pressure from the students and a review of the university’s policies, single Honours degree programmes (in the areas of Botany and Zoology) were started in 1967. The Biology single Honours programme was introduced later.
Since inception the fundamental philosophy and objective of the three single Honours degree programmes has been the provision of broad-based training as against extreme specialization. Thus, prior to the introduction of the 4-year degree programme, all students irrespective of whether they were reading Botany, Biology and Zoology, had to take the same courses in Parts I and II of the then 3-year programmes. Only in the final year were any specialist options allowed. This policy has been maintained in the current 4-year degree programme where all students irrespective of their degree option take the same courses in the first and second years of study (i.e., 100-Level and 200-Level).
It is important to mention that the Department of Biological Sciences is one of the two science-based departments in the university that run three undergraduate degree programmes (namely, B.Sc. Biology, B.Sc. Botany, and B.Sc. Zoology). The department also offers service courses to the Faculties of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Education, and some other departments of the Faculty of Science. Furthermore, the science component of the B.Ed. and B.Sc. (Education Biology) programmes of the Faculty of Education depend mainly on courses offered by the Department for the science component of those programmes.