Saturday, September 18, 2010

How to become a Scientist in Chemistry in Sri Lanka?

Today I have to introduce another guest writer to this site. She is Mrs Surangi Jayawardena who is an expert in Chemistry and brings much fame to Sri Lanka. She completed her bachelor's degree in Science at University of Colombo while specialising in Chemistry. She won a scolarship to the Portland State University- USA to do a PhD. Currently she is involved in an important chemistry research.

Author - Surangi Jayawardena



What is it to become a Scientist in Chemistry?


Is your idea of a chemist is to be working underpaid in a white lab coat mixing things in a back room of a pharmaceutical company? Maybe you are right. But the trick is to move all the way from a Chemist to become the “Scientist”. A Chemist mixes things according to a recipe the scientist makes the recipe. Are scientist underpaid? Oh no.... they are very well paid mostly in six figures and that is one of the major advantages of being one.



Is there a Scientist in you?

If you are an advanced level student who is sitting for AL s in the biological stream and is fascinated by the thought of biological systems and their molecular infrastructure or just how biological systems work what makes them “tick” maybe you would fit right into Chemistry.

There is much more to chemistry than what is taught at Advance Level syllabus. And it is way more fascinating.

What makes you a research scientist in chemistry?

First you have to obtain good results from your Advanced level exam in science stream and get in to a university in order to follow the basic studies in science and specialise in chemistry. Then you can obtain your BSc. To be a research scientist, you need to do adanced studies. The only qualification that validates is to have a Ph.D (which puts a Dr. in front of your name).


How to obtain a PhD in chemistry?

The Ph.D is a 5 year or 3 year program dedicated to put you through a research program. Where you will be making an attempt to find the answers to the world's demanding problems such as vaccine for Malaria, maybe an early detection system for cancer, or how to make molecular logic gates. The list goes on.

The best of the Ph.D program is that you are actually paid to do the program so the Ph.D does not cost you a thing.

Does a chemistry scientist have jobs in Sri Lanka?

Not as many as you would expect, at least not as many as in other countries. Only companies which has the capacity to spend billions on research and development on science has the capacity to recruit scientists.

The multinational pharmaceutical companies that sit in our country get their science from their mother company sitting at another corner of the world. Where they employ the scientists but their branches in our country only employ chemists Science graduates with a sound knowledge of chemistry.

But homegrown industries like rubber require the professional knowledge polymer scientists and are paid well for their time and input.

Also academia is always an option where scientists are employed at the local universities as university lecturers.

The handful of biotechnological companies like Genetech Inc also employees professionals depending on their field of expertise.

What is the route to be taken in order to become to chemistry scientist?

What happens to the hundreds of students who sit in for Advanced level in the biological stream and does not gain entrance to the medical college? Depending on their marks they go to dental or veterinary school. And lower down in the ranking lies another opportunity, “ Science”.

The route to become a scientist lies within the gates of the Faculty of Sciences. Of course one does not necessarily have to gain entrance to Science (which I would discuss later) but government education is the most recognized and also the cheapest source.

After the first 2 years of the university, students are selected for the special degree program in chemistry the selection is based on the academic performance in the field. Which is usually based on the marks or grades of the chemistry subjects taken in the first 2 years. After selection into the special degree program the course takes 2 years to complete which includes research experience as well. After the completion of the special degree in chemistry you will be called B.Sc (Hons) Chemistry.

What can be done if not selected to special degree program

The other option is to do a Masters in Chemistry which is conducted by the university but which is a costly option sinced it does not come under the scope of free education.

Other options enroute to become a chemistry scientist

Other institues like the Institue of Chemistry (I.Chem) at Rajagiriya also recruits students after Advance Level and gives a university like training in both practical and therotical chemistry. This institution tutored by professors well qualified to do both. It is alos becoming to be recognized by other foreign universities and some take it to account as an equivalent of an University Degree majoring in Chemistry.


What can be done after completion of the special degree in chemistry

After completeion of the special degree in either Chemistry/ Pharmaceutical/ BioChemistry/ Computaional Chemistry or etc one can apply for foreign universities. Mostly USA as USA recurits many Chemistry graduates for Ph.D degrees. Many universities in America has plenty of space to recruit Chemistry graduates but it might not be the same for other special degrees such as Bio Chemistry and Pharmaceutical where recruitment is only a speical little.

List of all available universities which have chemistry graduate programs are listed in C2K. (Search for C2K in Google Sri Lanka, this lists all available universities providing chemistry programs this database is run and controlled by University of Oxford).

Identify potential universities and apply based on your interests and credentials ( Z score). Write to professors of whose work you find interesting and and get in contact this would greatly facillitate your admission.

GRE and TOEFL

GRE and TOEFL are two other examinations which is a must for application. There is always a criteria of admission where the university states the minimum of GRE and TOEFL necessary for admission. Usually this score is above 1000 for GRE and above 80 for computer based TOEFL.

Your application is among hundreds of other international students so make sure you get good scores. You can also do the GRE subject examination for Chemistry this would be an additional qualification.

After compltetion of GRE and TOEFL send the required transcripts and Statement of Purpose to Graduate Colleges. Many will accept. And as a Sri Lankan I am proud to say that all Sri Lankans are doing excellently well as Chemistry graduates therefore most likely your application will have good reviews.

Conclusion

If you need any more details on this, please drop an email to this site. I will answer as and when I get a time. Wishing you all the best.

170 comments:

Anonymous said...

If a student do not move in to reaserch, do they have jobs in Sri Lanka? What type of jobs chemistry scientists do in Sri Lanka?

Nishadee said...

Surangi is busy with a research and she will reply to this asap o.k Until then I guess I can add something. There is jobs in Sri Lanka for chemistry scientists. There are jobs for expert chemists in the trade of Paint manufacturers, Soap manufacturing and any place which is involved with mixing and producing chemical related products. We will try to get a list of those companies with the designations o.k Please give us some time for that.

surangi said...

Hi

Well even if you do not do research there is still many areas where chemists have ample opportunity in industry to follow already established protocols.

If you are a trained Chemistry graduate or has University level Chemistry knowledge and has experience in conducting reactions there are many chemical industries.

The National Building and Reasrch Organization (NBRO) hires water and air quality tester, Government Analyst requires froesnic analysts, Sri Lanka Tea Plantation,Rubber palantation, Smason industries, Hayleys, Lankem, Astron (pharamaceutical) pvt ltd, Glaxo Smith Kine, Laxshapana, Link industries. These are some of the industries that comes into my mind.


Work involves following doing organic synthesis, drug testing for pharmaceutical industries and cosmetic companies like Link industries. Analytical metal ion pollutant testing DNA analysis for Govt Analyst, tea and Rubber plantations. Rubber research specially involve synthesis of novel poly isoprene polymers of enhance properties.

Most of them involves routine activity where protocols are already established. But some industries also require you to solve small industrial related chemical problems. Increasing yield in synthesis or even manufacturing new dyes and polymers.

Anonymous said...

Are there fields in sri lanka where we can combine chemistry with management?

Nishadee said...

Apologies to taking so much of time to reply your question. Trying to get Surangi. Until then Iam replying.

Not very sure whether you are refering to jobs or education.My area is business and therefore I will give you a business reply. There are many jobs which requires experts in chemistry with high degree of management skills. For example say for all the jobs mentioned above, they need people to head those companies / deparments and large labs. Certainly there should be a person who is good at managing people and of course managing rest of the things there. But if that manager has no idea on chemistry, that will be an odd situation. So if you are not in to more of scientific area but still needs a mix, I suppose you should concentrate on such high ranking jobs. Right job in the right place :)

Anonymous said...

is it ok to do the chemistry degree in OUSL?is it a recognized degree and can i find a good job from that degree?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Is there Any company or University in Sri Lanka, USA or England which Pays You a Sallary to continue Your own Reserch as a Scientist in Chemistry!?
My Z score is enough to go to medical college but My passion is to become a Scientist.
(and I dont really like to become a Doctor...)
My Dream is to find something new!
Im willing to do the hardwork getting the PhD.
But im afraid that I may not able to have a good life financially doing reserch and developing a theory(s).
Could You please give me some advice,
Whether saying no to medical college n being a scientist is a Good idea!?
Pleasee reply soon Mrs. Surangi

Anonymous said...

Im Passed out Student OF university Of Sri Jayewardenapura and im willing to follow MSc degree In Chemistry.The problem i have is my Overall GPA is 2.1.But Chemistry GPA is 2.5 .Can i applied for MSC in analytical Chemistry In University Of Colombo.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I got selected to a chem special degree.but it's soo much work:-( i like what they teach, it's very very interesting, but I'm afraid that i might not be able to cope up the work load.

Meanwhile i am also studying for a music exam and i can't stop that in the middle either.

I can easily do the general degree and get a1 st class. But my problem is, if i continue with a general and do a masters in chem well it be a HUGE workload too?
If i do a chem special and want to do a masters will i get any exemptions?

Pls i need your assistance immediately.I'm completely lost and confused:'(

Nishadee said...

I'm so proud to inform that Surangi is a world class scientist now who won the award for the best research in her uni. I do not know whether I can catch her again to reply you guys. I will try :)

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi everyone,

I m so glad that there is such a spur of interest in Chemistry !! I'll try to answer most of the questions

Q1. (March 14)
I got selected to a chem special degree.but it's soo much work:-(........

A1. Congratulations !!! Yes, its a intense amount of work. Getting an class might be challenging if you have other commitments.
I must mention that University of Colombo B.Sc (Chemistry Major) is better than their M.Sc program as it covers all disciplines in Chemistry rather than focus on one as in M.Sc.

Your 2nd suggestion to do General and Masters works fine too. But M.Sc will be a less of a work load as studies are concerned as I described earlier.

There will be no exemptions in MSc after doing B.Sc Chem Special.


Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q2. Im Passed out Student OF university Of Sri Jayewardenapura and ....

A2. I am sorry for such a late response but hope this helps.

M.Sc in UOC is based on a interview process that also takes into account the GPA of the student. But the GPA is not the sole condition for selection. Therefore you need to ensure that you convince the committee of your commitment and interests in the field. Let me know if you have any other concerns.

Nishadee said...

That is super fast. Thank you sooo much Surangi. You are a star :)

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q3. Hi, Is there Any company or University in Sri Lanka, USA or ....


A3. Again I apologize for the late response.

You might have already made your decisions by now, but I hope this helps in anyway.

If your passion is to become a scientist then your path should lead to a initial science degree. Which means entrance to Govt. Universities then specializing in specific natural science field.

As far as money is concerns foreign countries are willing to pay handsomely for your knowledge and training. Salary is not a issue for a Ph.D holder.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q4. is it ok to do the chemistry degree in OUSL?is it a recognized degree ...

A4. Chemistry degree alone cannot generate a good salary higher studies are necessary.

Anonymous said...

Hi surangi!
I'm the one who had a problem with whether to go on with the chem special or not.
Well i got pretty well adjusted to all the work after abt a week of posting my question. And now I'm already in my second semester!!!!
I saw ur reply only today and i wanted to say thanks for your awesome post and for the reply! Good luck with your work! :-)

Surangi Jayawardena said...

I am glad you are adjusting to your work. Good luck to you for a very bright future !!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey surang! I did my a/ls in 2013 and Jst received my results..my z score is 1.5749 ..meaning mostly Il get into bioscience...bt I started ACCA as well...nw I'm really confused...I really like chemistry...and want to do bioscience..bt want to continue ACCa too..since u cnt find a work with nly a bioscience degree...do u think its k in doin this?? If I want to become a chemistry scientist.wot shuld i do aftr my degree??

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi everyone, again thank you Nishadee for letting me post!! I promised the my friend that I will update the blog, but failed to do so until now.

I have received several communications regarding how to apply for Chemistry PhD program. I felt it was time to update my original post some years back.

I have uploaded a revised email that I had written to an undergraduate who had communicated with me to ask about the application process.

I would be glad to assist anyone who can contact me through facebook or through this blog.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

In my opinion, most chemistry majors (including biochemistry, chemical biology, computational chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry) from a recognized Sri Lankan University, regardless of their GPA have no problem to get enrolled in a Chemistry PhD program in a recognized university in the USA.

But your GRE and TOFEL scores, will have a higher impact in gaining entrance to a high ranking university in the US.

The procedure for application would be first selecting a university and following their application process for graduate international admission for the PhD (note that most of what I say should be applied to universities in the USA but might be applied to other countries as well).

Each university website would have page on Chemistry PhD program offered and what criteria should be met with it. To select a university I suggest you go to US News Best Chemistry Programs. Of course there are non ranked chemistry programs also in US. But US news is a good place to start.

Usually entrance requirements include to have taken GRE general exam (graduate record examination) and TOFEL. Both are online exams offered worldwide by ETS. Higher your grade in both exams better your chances in getting entrance. Some students also take the Chemistry GRE. A good grade is considered as 1200 and above for GRE and above 90 for Chemistry GRE. Anything below 900 for GRE is considered useless. Records of the examination results need to be forwarded to your respective university of choice.

Next would be your exam transcript and letters of recommendations from 3 of your lecturers. One including your research supervisor. A statement of purpose needs to be attached to your set of documents about your interest in chemistry future goals and what field of research and advisor in that particular university interests you.

Students are taken each Fall semester. Deadline for application is given in the websites. I suggest contacting a Sri Lankan students if available in the university of your choice for guidance and support. the chemistry department website should have the names of all the graduate students enrolled in the program.

An allowance called a yearly stipend of $ 20000-$29000 is offered for enrolled grad students. Quite sufficient for 2 people to stay in USA.

If selected you will receive an enrollment letter with a document called an I20 which grants you entrance as a F1 visa holder to the country for a period of 5-6 years. Which you would follow up by obtaining the visa from the embassy and arrive in USA for the start of the Fall semester (usually in July to September) of each year. If you are married your husband or your wife can follow you as a F2 dependent but will not be allowed to work legally.

Finally my opinion is if you have the willingness to do dedicated research your choice should be a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Hi Surangi.
What is your idea about doing Ph.D in Sri Lanka and how can we do that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Surangi,

What is ur opinion about doing a chem degree in ichem, the recognization from foreign universities,the standards etc??

pls i need ur assistant to make the decision.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your valued inputs. But what about people who do their secondary education in mathematics stream and got selected to the university and obtained a Bsc and likes to continue their career as scientists or any other professions in chemistry. What are their chances in going further.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your valued inputs. But what about people who do their secondary education in mathematics stream and got selected to the university and obtained a Bsc and likes to continue their career as scientists or any other professions in chemistry. What are their chances in going further.

Nishadee said...

DR Surangi will reply to your questions when ever she gets a time guys. Thanks.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q. What is your idea about doing Ph.D in Sri Lanka and how can we do that?

A. Explore this option only if its necessary for you to stay in Sri Lanka, from my experience Sri Lankan Universities cannot offer the technology necessary for the most up to date research.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q. What is ur opinion about doing a chem degree in ichem, the recognization from foreign universities,the standards etc??

A. IChem degree is recognized by some US universities, I am sure fellow IChem degree holders who have gone for post-graduate studies will be able to tell you. If you are pursing a IChem degree it is not as competitive as the University degree, but standards seems to be maintained. If you pursue IChem degree make sure you complete a research project in an area where you want to pursue post-graduate studies.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Q. Thank you for your valued inputs. But what about people who do their secondary education in mathematics stream and got selected to the university and obtained a Bsc and likes to continue their career as scientists or any other professions in chemistry. What are their chances in going further.

A. You will have no issues given so that your B.Sc would be in Chemistry. Your mathematical background will open many avenues in chemistry, if you wish to explore.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Nishadee I'm glad to help, I have more breathing room now that the defense is completed. I remember how confusing it was for us after ALs, not knowing what was out there. Even after enrolling to B.Sc not knowing what our fate was to be. I am always very glad to help.

Wish we had a blog like this to come to. You are doing a great service!!!!

Nishadee said...

I'm so glad and honoured that you write to my blog Surangi. Thanks for the time and sharing of expertise.

Sineth S said...

Hi!
Most probably I will select to special degree in chemistry and Im interested in getting into academic side rather than research....
What can i do?

harini said...

hi,
I'm harini, an A/L student of 2014.i got an A pass in chemistry, and i would like to involve in drug synthesizing field.
pls help me out to choose my pathway. if i do a special degree in university of colombo and the degree in ICHEMC together, will i be able to?
also pls comment whether this field is better for me.

thank you

Isuru Herath said...

Hi!
I did ALs in 2014 and passed the exam with 3As.I'm not thinking about going to medical college because I really like chemistry and I want to become a scientist in chemistry.Will this be a good decision? I would like to know your answer.
Thank you!

Nishadee said...

Dear Isuru,

I'm trying to get Surangi to write on the chemistry side of a reply to your question.

Until then, I would recommend you to speak to some doctors and see whether that is the professional and personal life you need. If you don't know anyone, then do some google search as to what you need in life. As in research in both fields, leisure life permitted in both fields, salaries or anything else you need.

But I think you should do what you like. But be aware of the life ahead of that profession before you choose.

I have many friends who regret today for being doctors. That doesn't mean its a bad profession. Its a very good profession. Still after all, life should be as you like.

Good luck

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hello Isuru,

Congratulations!! I have known several colleagues of mine who pursued chemistry giving up their medical careers. They are doing very well in their chosen fields of research.

As Nishadee said before you set your mind on a career, assess all possible angles to see whether if it is a choice worthy of pursuit.

These are some

(a) Study and research commitment -

To be a research scientist with a Ph.D., you will be looking at period of 8-10 years of study and research (after AL's). 4 years with B.Sc and combined with another 4-6 years for you Ph.D. Which means long laborious hours in a research lab.
(Fortunately post graduate studies would be funded by foreign university scholarships)

(b) Monetary benefits - Long term benefits !!
research scientists with experience earn >$100,000 per year in industry (which is 10-12 years after AL's !!)

(c) Family commitments - could you leave your family to pursue higher studies for long periods (4-6 years) in a foreign country?


(d) Job opportunity - highly skilled researchers are require facilities that most Sri Lankan laboratories cannot offer. Most researchers are forced to pursue foreign employment.

(e) Career achievements - publications in high impact journals, patents, royalty from patents, awards, society memberships

If you're heart is set on pursing chemistry, and if you have assessed all its pros and cons, I wish you all the luck.

Surangi
.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hello Harini,

Congratulations !!

If you want to do post graduate research/studies in drug synthesis, you need to do do a special degree in Chemistry.It would help if you do an undergraduate research in organic synthesis.

For that you need to get selected to 4 year chemistry special degree program in Univ. of Colombo. I recommend UOC as it has a very thorough organic chemistry undergraduate syllabus followed by the possibility of one year research project in organic synthesis.

If you get selected to the special degree program in Chemistry it is unnecessary for you to enroll in the IChem program.

Following the completion of you B.Sc (Chemistry) you need to pursue post graduate studies (Ph.D or M.Sc). I recommend a Ph.D. in an university which has strong background in drug discovery (US Universities: Berkeley, Penn State).

Surangi

unknown said...

Mrs.Surangi. I would like to follow a phD in phamacology in a reputed University.what if I join the special degree in phamacy of UoC or should I join the Msc in applied organic.. ? Please be kind enough to give a suggetion to reach my target.. Thank you :)

unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
unknown said...

Mrs.Surangi.I would like to follow a PhD in pharmacology in a reputed university.what if I join the special degree in pharmacy of UoC or should I join the Msc in applied organic..? Please be kind enough to give a suggetion to reach my target.. Thank you :)

Kanishka Nuwan said...

Hi
Please tell me can I be a RESEARCH SCIENTISTS IN CHEMISTRY,if I do my A/L IN physical science?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Kanishka,

You can join the physical science program in the university and specialize in chemistry or do any other IChem degree in chemistry.

To join the physical science program in the university you need to pursue ALs in the Maths stream. If you are unable to achieve sufficient Z score to get in the university, and still want to pursue research scientist position, I suggest joining the IChem program.

Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

For an pharmacology PhD you BSc in pharmacy should with one year research experience will be be sufficient.

But I have colleagues who have followed an additional MSc in Organic after their BSc in pharmacology before pursuing a PhD.

The only difference is that there is a chance that MSc might enable you to enroll in a higher ranking university.

But remember if you are applying to US University your GRE Score is given significant importance, and even with MSc qualification you will be not be able to reach a higher ranking university with a lower GRE score.

Surangi

unknown said...

Thank you so much :-)

Isuru Herath said...

Thanks Mrs. Nishadee!
And thank you Mrs. Surangi!

I'd love to spend my time in a research lab. So I think it won't be a big problem.
And I'm aware of the fact that I have to leave my family to pursue higher studies. I guess I'll get used to it.

I've been told by some people (including people who are currently working in USA after completing their grad studies) that it's difficult to get selected for a scholarship to study in a foreign country (especially USA).
Is this true?
That's something I'm really concerned about because my parents won't be able to help me financially to study in a reputed foreign university!

Thanks again!!!
I'd like to extend my appreciation
to both of you for doing something like this! :)

Ramesh said...

Hi dear friends I have commented in this blog while ago Now I'm in a critical stage that I have to make a choice. I have applied for two Msc causes. One is Analytical chemistry and the other one is Industrial and environmental chemistry.I'm considering pursue higher studies after completing the Msc.Being a chemical engineering graduate I would like to do post doct in chemical engineering field. Which cause should I take. Please reply asap.

Thanks

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Ramesh,

If you want pursue Chemical Engineering Ph.D. and a postdoc in the same field, I would suggest Analytical Chemistry M.Sc. Analytical chemistry would allow you to gain analytical chemistry application experience which would be valuable for Chem. Eng.

Surangi

Dananjana Vishwabhanu said...

Mrs.surangi.I'm a undergraduate student in biological science (2nd year) and i'm not sure that i will select to chemistry special.if not i like to do msc in organic chemistry from uoc.also our university(usjp) has 4 chem degree other than special.what is the better way ,to select for phd in foreign(USA)

Anonymous said...

Mrs.surangi i was selected biological science dgree at ampara university.i want to do chemstry special dgree and also my father said to do Ichem universty chemstry special dgree.is the IChem uni dgree and ampara uni chemestry special dgree same?? .i am a 1st yr student in ampara universty and i want to do IChem chemstry special dgree.is it useless thing to do 2 dgree.is it same dgree??

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Dananjana,

Getting M.Sc from UOC would be you best route if you do not get into the 4 year Chemistry Special program. Otherwise 4 year Chem special with research would suffice (for UOC 4 year Chem Special would be sufficient).

Contact your seniors from USJP who have left for Ph.D. chemistry programs. They would probably let you know how acceptable the Chemistry Special degree from USJP in USA.

Surangi

Dananjana Vishwabhanu said...

Thank u mrs surangi..you are doing great job..keep it up.

umariya said...

Mrs.surangi i was selected biological science dgree at ampara university.i want to do chemstry special dgree and also my father said to do Ichem universty chemstry special dgree.is the IChem uni dgree and ampara uni chemestry special dgree same?? .i am a 1st yr student in ampara universty and i want to do IChem chemstry special dgree.is it useless thing to do 2 dgree.is it same dgree??

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Umariya,

IChem degree is equivalent to Chemistry special degree. There are some who has done both simultaneously.
There are many people who have done IChem and has proceeded to go for higher studies (Ph.D.) abroad.
At this moment IChem is a recognized degree. I do not know the quality of the chemistry special in
Ampara University or whether it has good recognition.

If you were getting you are chemistry degree from universities of Colombo, Japura or Peradeniya, my advice
would be to join the Chemistry special program. Since I don't have any knowledge of the quality of the Ampara
Chemistry special program I would advice you to join the IChem degree.

If you have seniors who can recommend the Chemistry program at Ampara, then follow the Chemistry special at
Ampara.


Surangi

umariya said...

thank you so much Mrs.Surangi

Anonymous said...

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ඔබට බොහෝමත්ම ස්තුතියි.

ජයවේවා.

Anonymous said...

I am an undergrad at usjp in my fourth year following the B.Sc.(Hons)Applied Sciences.I just wanna know the job opportunities after doing the PhD. Some say that industries are reluctant to hire PhD holders because they think they're "over qualified". And in the academic field also, even with a PhD, do we have to wait until a senior lecturer retires, if i wanna become a lecturer?
I just wanna know the benefits of doing a PhD, since it's a 5+ years of a sacrifice.. Considering all these, I need advice whether I should apply for a PhD or not..please reply.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Smaller industries are generally reluctant hire "many" PhD holders because they lack the financial support to run a strong R&D sections to necessitate the need of many PhDs. For many small scale industries technical staff with a MSc or BSc is sufficient for manufacturing.

But the larger biopharmaceutical companies: Pfizer/biotech: Merk/high-tech industries: Intel; needs a well staffed R&D section and are constantly looking to hire PhD holders.

This is true for many developed countries, but unfortunately for Sri Lanka except for a few places such as SLINTEC, ITI, Genetech industrial job opportunities for PhD holders are limited.

For academic positions in Sri Lanka, it is true that university faculty positions are limited. But there might be vacancies in the in private settings eg: SAITM, IChem.

Even though there is relatively little options in SL, there is definitely positions in the rest of the world. So I would strongly recommend you to follow PhD in a developed country (USA, Aus, Sweden, Eng). The key is however joining a research group that would have strong industrial connections, and focus your attention on a research that has great industrial benefits.

Good luck

Surangi

Anuradha Abhayawardhana said...

Dear Surangi;
I was a graduate of the Faculty of Science - University of Peradeniya. I've done there a general degree with chemistry as a major subject. There I got my GPA 3.05. I have seven years experience in chemistry related field - (Aluminum metals & Alloys) If I wish to do a Phd in chemistry is it essential for me to do an MSC in chemistry? Or what else I have to do to reach my goal?
Thanks!
Sincerely;
Anuradha A P

Anonymous said...

..

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hello Anuradha,

If you are targeting PhD in an University in US I would recommend you to do GRE subject as well as your general GRE. It is specially necessary if your GPA is on the lower side. MSc is not essential but would help get in to a higher ranking PhD program. If you consider doing subject GRE your score should be at least over 80 percentile.

Surangi

Anonymous said...

Hi strange mam. I am first year biological science student. I like to go on a mlt or pharmacy field in my career. But I had selected for biological science. So I came here to do a chemistry and move on pharmacy feild. Also I have register to do a pharmacy diploma in srilanka medical council. Now I have idea to do a mlt degree in open university. Is it correct? Please guide me to correct path. Is that worth to my career? If not what are the other ways to move on a pharmacy or mlt sector?

sudesh chinthaka said...

Dear Surangi Akki

Im a undergraduate in polymer Science at University Of J'pura and UG in Chemistry at Ichem.Currently I'm working at ORIT apparels,one of the leading denim producers in asia as a Product & Process Integrity executive.I have 3 years experience and i'm willing to do a MBA after completion of Bsc general at J'pura after this year and to do attend a phd after completion of Ichem degree after 2 more years. Please can I know doing MBA and Phd both is it worth or regardless? Is there opportunities for management scientists?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sudesh,

There are some scientists that have MBAs after completion of there PhDs or MScs. It has its benefits for instance you could join an managerial position of a company after completion of your degree and getting postdoctoral experience.

But this maybe in 5-7 years time (PhD takes average of 5 years and 2 more for postdoc). If you think that the MBA is valid and up to date after such a long period then you should do your MBA. And also consider which country you would be settling to live and work, and see whether a Sri Lankan MBA is valid. Because some countries value the institution that you obtain your MBA.

Surangi

sudesh chinthaka said...

Dear Akka

Thank you so much for your valuable inputs. I read that those who enrolled in PhD at US can have a annual allowance from your earlier post. Is it enough to stay and manage their wages or Do they have to spend their own money for expenses?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sudesh,

You need to bring initial expenses USD 2500. But as you get an monthly allowance by the universities that would be sufficient to manage all expenses eg: rent, food and etc. you could survive quite comfortably if you are frugal in your spending.

Surangi

sudesh chinthaka said...

Dear akki

What is meant by sandwich PhD what are benefits or disadvantages than a normal phd ?

Sudesh

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sudesh,

I have heard very little of it. It might be challenging to enroll in a sandwich PhD program (at least in the US). Only advantage I could think would be you will exposed to researches and technologies from 2 institutions.

Surangi

sudesh chinthaka said...

Thanks a lot akki you are doing a great job by guiding juniors like us. Do we have to wait a long time after completing chemistry Bsc level degree to obtain a school to PhD? Allowance that universities granted to the PhD students, Is it vary
the selected university or a constant to the country and how much they willing to pay (average)?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

To apply for PhD in USA you need your official transcript and GRE and TOEFL scores and also recommendation letters. Search online on US News to get the best ranking US universities, go to their corresponding websites and see what other documentation you need. Once everything is completed you can apply. For most programs the starting date is in Fall (August -September), to enroll for the program you have to apply before the deadline stated in the university webpage. Most of the time the application starts around December the previous year.

The allowance paid by each university change slightly. the yearly allowance usually found on the corresponding university sites ($30000-20000 per year).



Anonymous said...


I'm a student in university of peradeniya.I could't select special degree.but chemistry is my major subject.I want to apply foriegn university to do the Phd.but It is a problem that I couldn't select special degree.But I am very interest about chemistry subject and to do the further studies in chemistry.I THOUGHT TO DO THE Msc.Is it a best way to have a chance to enter a foriegn university for a phd. or any other way?please reply me.PLEASE GIVE ME A ADVICE.IT WILL BE A GREAT HELP FOR ME

Anonymous said...

SURANGI AKKA.
please tell me the options the person who have no special degree in chemistry but have chemistry general degree to enter to follow phd in foriegn countries.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

If you have a general degree I strongly recommend you to do a MSc in chemistry. Another option is to do the Institute of Chemistry degree.

Surangi

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot.you are doing great job for us.THANKS AGAIN

Anonymous said...

surangi akka,
please tell me what is the best in ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY or INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY to follow Msc???

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Analytical would in my opinion be better.

Mathushan Yogarasa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mathushan Yogarasa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nishika said...

Surangi akki....

I have applied for biological science at university of peradeniya because i thought it would be much easier to get selected for a special degree in chemistry. Is there any difference (in recognization may be)in degrees at colombo and peradeniya? I still can change my choice because i'm having a morethan enough z-score. Is it that much difficult to get selected for a special degree at colombo. How many will be selected and is there something like only top scorers out of them will get scholarships. plz help me..


Surangi Jayawardena said...

As for graduate studies (PhD) are concerned degree from both universities are recognized. Colombo might be a slightly higher standard as well as competitive. 23-24 are selected in Colombo for special degree.

unknown said...

hiii surangi akki .....
hey i would like to know what you think of slintec and weather joining slintec as a research scientist is a good career ..........
and the advice that you are giving is amazing .....!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sudesh chinthaka said...

Hi Surangi akka,

Do accommodation provided for the people who involved in PhD degrees in foreign universities, or they have provide themselves? When degree is completed,do they can find a job at that country easily or is it hard to find a job? Please reply your concern.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mrs.Surangi,
I'm a student waiting for university entrance in 2015. I missed medicine by 0.03 ( having 1.8216)and got selected for uoc science.My ambition is to join the academic field,and I have a big problem of deciding which is better out of UOC bio or molecular biology and biochemistry.Do both of them have same opportunities and chances to do higher studies in foreign countries after the BSc. And also I would like to know Food science and technology of peradeniya would provide opportunities with regard to my ambition.
I'm really troubled to take a decision, and your advice would be a great help.

harsha rathnayake said...

Dear akka, how about the quality of chemistry special degree in kelaniya university?plz tell me....

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sudesh,

Accommodation needs to found out on your own, some universities allow dormitories for graduate students. You can easily contact Sri Lankan Student Association or any other fellow Sri Lankan student to arrange accommodation.

If your wish is to work in the USA, make sure you join a group that does industry related projects, or has good connections with the industrial sector.

Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

Molecular biology and biochemistry seems to have better chances for graduate studies. Molecular biology is rather a competitive field in USA far more than biochemistry, getting enrolled in a MB program is slightly difficult but not impossible.

Surangi

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Mrs. Surangi.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Mrs. Surangi.

Vindya said...

Hi surangi akka,
Will I be able to gain a MSc scholarship in chemistry by completing a 4 year degree in BSc.Applied science in chemistry(with no research experience)

Hirunika said...

Mrs. Surangi,
I am hoping to follow pharmaceutical chemistry. Currently I have done my A/ls this year and waiting for my results.Is it wise to start with a Bsc degree in ichem? Could you please give me an advise on how to follow this career path and about the job opportunities in this field?
thank you.

Hirunika

Surangi Jayawardena said...

It might be hard to get MSc scholarships to USA. Most US universities prefer students to commit themselves to PhD. Most are reluctant to take masters students specially without research background. If you are applying I advice you to get research experience. Outstanding GPA close to 4.0 might be helpful too.

Anonymous said...

Dear surangi,
I want to know is there any dependant work permits system in usa? How it would be doing a phd with a todler? Does the allowance sufficient for manage with a kid if husband is unemployed?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

There are no dependent work permits. Your husband if he's specialized for a specific work type (software enigineers, web developers) he can apply for jobs but must have a employer who agrees to sponsor him for a specialized visa (H1B). If he obtains this visa type he could legimately work. He cannot self apply the visa.
With a toddler you might have about $1500-2000 living expenses including health care for the baby.

If you apply make sure that you apply in an university which could give you a monthly allowance that would cover your cost of maintaining the baby.

List of usual expenses

1. Apartment rental
2. University sponsored health insurance for you
3. Food clothing
4. Transportation

Additional expense for you

1. Baby healthcare
2. Husband healthcare
3. Baby day care (very expensive)

My advice for you is speak to other graduate students that have children, in which ever university
You select to apply. You might want to apply to universities that have a strong Sri Lanakan graduate student community.

Anonymous said...

Akki, l have selected to the university of j'pura for biological science. Is that university suitable for my higher education in chemistry?

Hirunika said...

Mrs. Surangi,
I am hoping to follow pharmaceutical chemistry. Currently I have done my A/ls this year and waiting for my results.Is it wise to start with a Bsc degree in ichem? Could you please give me an advise on how to follow this career path and about the job opportunities in this field?
thank you.

Hirunika

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Surangi
Im a student who did her advanced level exams this year i just want to clear something you said earlier i want to become globally recognized chemist because im really interested in the subject. so in order to achieve my goal is it sufficient if i apply to a science faculty? the chemistry institute,ICHEM, is it a private one? do we have to pay for it? I'm kind of sure that I will get good results but I think it will not be sufficient enough for me to go to a medical faculty. Does University of Peradeniya has a chemistry faculty?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi you need to apply for a science faculty and get chosen for a Chemistry major in your 3rd year. Yes university of Perdeniya is highly accredited university and has a strong chemistry section, which probably is comparable to university of Colombo. IChem is a private institution and has and admission and a semester fee. If you want to do a doctoral in chemistry or related area you should dos chemistry major or a comparable major in the university.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Hirunika,

IChem does not offer a pharmaceutical degree. The only pharmaceutical degrees are offered by government universities. You have to enter the science faculty and get selected to follow the pharmaceutical program in your 3rd year of your BSc degree.

Following IChem will only help you in getting into a chemistry related post graduate studies if you do not get selected for special degree in there university.

Getting selected to a special degree is purely based on merit. Highest scorers in the core courses in their first two years in the undergraduate degree get selected for the special degree. For pharmaceutical science there would be a number of core courses which you need to get high scores.

Surangi

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Surangi ,
I,m a newly enrolled student at the science faculty of colombo university.I would like to know a better way to select an area of specialization in the 3rd year.(I mean just to have a certain aim like thing....)

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

If you want to select a section to major there are a few things you want to consider
1. Do you see yourself researching in this field? It does not mean you have to stick to one filed, science is so interdisciplinary now. But the fundamentals that you learn in your undergraduate is crucial to build your career.
For example do you see you self as a synthetic chemist? analytical chemist? a biologist? in the future

Once you start your laboratory classes you will find yourself disliking or liking certain experiments which would point the way that you should continue in your career

2. What are the job opportunities for the given field in SL or abroad, what are your career options after graduation
Also take to consideration if you do postgraduate studies what sort of jobs you could do with your skill set?

3. Lastly and most importantly you need to ace your grades to get in that particular field so it should also be a subject that you can understand and get good grades because you would be competing with around 200-250 students to get into several vacant spots in the special.

Priyanwada atapattu said...

What are the benefits of having a msc.and what are the jobs can get by having a pharmacy special degree

Anonymous said...

Hi surangi
I have selected to tha university of uva welasa for the animal science degree.bt already I have started Ichem.parents and some are forced me to register to the state university.bt my favourite is chemistry.bt Ichem is nt a university and they are not offer bsc only charted chemistry.bt in the university I can have bsc.So what can I do now?please help me to take a decision

Maleesha godahewa said...

dear madam..
im in my 5th semester and special selections were out in last week here at UOC anf unfortunately i missed the chemistry related special degree.i hd a chemistry GPA of over 3.4 and still i didn't get selected to even a CC special.it's very tough out here at UOc..what i want to knw is can i apply fr a phd by completing my 4 yr general degree or is it necessary to do MsC as well? i've been told by the lecturers tht the only requirements to apply are completing 120 crdts and engaging in a research project..i hv requested fr special cources as well so i might gain subject knowledge as well.can u pls advice me on this ? a quick response wd be so grateful madam..!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, i am an international school student and i jave a few questions yo clarify. 1st i canot enter givernment universoties therefore in orfpder to do a chemiatry degree in sri lanaka withput travekking abroad i am currently aware only of the institute of chemistry ceylon. The graduateship programme is what i am going to follow. Thus, i want to know if this graduateship os higher or lower in knowledge level than a Bsc, and higher o lower in knowledge level than a Msc. Also, are there jobs for a petroleum engineer in sri lanka? If so what would be the average salary? Are there jobs for environmental engineers and green engineers? If so what are the average salaries repectively? What is the salary for a chemistry lecturer in sri lankan private universities? ( junior lecturer and senoir lecturer

Jane said...

Please reply as soon as posible. Thank you

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

I am not certain about international recognition of Uva Wellessa. But it is still a government university. If you get into university and if they have chemistry program I would advise you to take the chemistry special
Program with one year research.


If you don't have an option of enrolling in Chemistry special program at Uva, If you still
Desire to enroll in a chemistry program I would advise you to follow IChem.

IChem is has an internationally recognized chemistry program.
There are still who does both IChem and general degree (BSc). So the best option is to do both.

If it is impossible to do both IChem and BSc at Uva I would advise you to do BSc at Uva and MSc in chemistry at University of Colombo.


Regardless of where you are you still have to do one year research. A chemistry special degree has to have research accompanied.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Maleesha,

Im sorry you didn't get into chemistry special if you could get into biochemistry pharmaceutical or computational chemistry it still would be advisable than the general degree.

Since there are so many PhD candidates from UOC there should be no problem getting into higher studies. Buy it is a must that you should have research experience. If you could do research without being in the special program you should be okay.

Otherwise you should consider doing MSc.

As for subject knowledge you need to do all the advance chemistry classes so that you do not miss out on the subject knowledge.
Also make sure you get a good GPA if you have general degree you have to maintain a high GPA.


Surangi

Maleesha godahewa said...

thanku so much for the info. maam..
research i can do in my 4th yr ..it's in the coursebook also.. thank u so mch again maam!!!

Maleesha godahewa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Hi, i am an international school student and i jave a few questions yo clarify. 1st i canot enter government universities therefore in orfpder to do a chemiatry degree in sri lanaka withput travelling abroad i am currently aware only of the institute of chemistry ceylon. The graduateship programme is what i am going to follow. Thus, i want to know if this graduateship os higher or lower in knowledge level than a Bsc, and higher o lower in knowledge level than a Msc. Also, are there jobs for a petroleum engineer in sri lanka? If so what would be the average salary? Are there jobs for environmental engineers and green engineers? If so what are the average salaries repectively? What is the salary for a chemistry lecturer (junior and senoir lecturer)?

Jane said...

I am hoping for a fast reply. Please reply fast. And i have a few more questions bout the ichemc graduateshio degree. Is it as accepted as b.sc chemistry? Can i become a chemical engineer or environmental engineer by doing it? Thank you.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Jane,


Answers for your many questions
(A) Chemistry special at university is more advanced than the IChem
(B) Masters program should in area is more advanced than IChem
(C) I do not know much about the engineering sections
(D) Junior lecturer USD $500-600 senior $1200 these numbers are few years old it might be revised now

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Jane,

Answers for your second set of questions

(A) IChem degree is accepted

(B) I am not sure IChem covers engineering units necessary for chemical engineering or environmental engineering

Jane said...

Thank you very much. But is there any private institution or university in sri lanka that provides the chemistry b.sc from which i can become a chemical or environmental engineer? I am not in a position to travel abroad. Thank you very much for ur answers and im sorry to bother you like this. And what is the work time of a chemistry lecturer in a private university in sri lanka? And could you kindly suggest me someone or a website which provides accurate information about engineering sections? Thank you. Once gain im sorry for the trouble.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Jane,

I think only institution that offers Chemical Engineering is Uni of Moratuwa. Environmental engineering I do not know.

Try there National Diploma in Technology (NDT) section I belive you might find your relavent information there.

As for faculty positions in universities

(A) as far as my knowledge you need a PhD to join the faculty specially if it is government universities or even to be employeed at IChem
(B) work hours are flexible if you have a faculty positions working hours are 8-4 or 8-5 at the most in government universities roo ate would be the same.

Jane said...

Thank you very much.

Afraj said...

hi mam!!
im Afraj, I have been selected to wayamba university of srilanka for food and nutrition course. although im interested in chemistry feild. when I complete my 4 years drgree can I start my career related to chemistry feild? what's the minimum GPA To get scholarships for phd? pls reply mam

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Afraj,

Food and nutrition is a good field, and there are opportunities for those who wish to do higher studies from food and nutrition. If you to get into the chemistry field after your bachelors, make sure you do chemistry core courses offered by your university. That way if you want to do chemistry post graduate you would have already covered bachelors level chemistry courses. And if you have a research area you want to follow make sure it is related to a discipline of chemistry eg: analytical chemistry, natural products. Get in touch with many analytical instruments as possible during your research. This way if you want to transition from food and nutrition to chemistry you would have some background.

If you want to do MSc in chemistry I would recommend you to contact university of Colombo to find out what are the requirements necessary for joining.

You would need a GPA of atleast 3.0 and above for postgraduate. Lower your GPA lesser the chance for a scholarship.

Surangi

Afraj said...

Thanks mam!!
mam can I join into parmacuitical industries or drug synthesis industries with ma food and nutrition degree or should I complete Msc chemistry? and if ma GPA comes over 3.0 is it sure to get foreign scholarships? and is it hard to get Gpa above 3.0? what was yours? pls reply mam

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Surangi,

You are doing great job here, Please continue the good work for the future of science of this country and guide the armatures who are so eager for science world and explore it. And I my self read this blog time to time and It' So interesting.

Scientists are highly recognized professionals and not like other professions like medical doctors, managers ,engineers, or university lecturers. They most of the time live there life in science lab doing scientific research on very specific subjects.

Please can you elaborate what scientists are doing in there professional careers?

Cheers
Ramesh

Surangi Jayawardena said...


If anyone is interested I'm coming to Sri Lanka sometime this year if anybody wants to meet me, I can setup a general date time and venue to come talk 😀
I will post in the blog when I'm intending be in Sri Lanka.
I'll be glad to help in anyway I can !!

Respond if anyone is interested so I can see whether there is enough interest in a such a meet up!
Surangi

Sameera Mendis said...

I need to know if the degree programme which will be starting soon at the virginia research institute in sri lanka (b.sc degree) is accepted to get a chemical engineering job. You have mentioned that you do not know about the engineering field, is there anyone i could consult about the engineeeing fields of chemistry? Furthermore, will the degree at VRI sri lanka be well recognised when applying for a job? And do you have any idea on the subjects needed for this b,sc degree? I intend to do chemistry, physics and maths but when i enquired them through mail...i still received no reply about the subjects but everything else was replied to. Please reply soon. Thank you.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Afraj,

If you join food and nutrition you can do nutraceuticals (nutritious pharmaceuticals). But this a fairly new field, but has a rapidly growing market.

To work in the pharma industry you need at least chemistry biochemistry molecular biology or pharma degrees. I suggest you to go to search for jobs listed for entry level scientists in pharma companies like Pfizer, Merk, GSK, Astra Zenecca and Sanofi Pastuer
the job descriptions show what type of degrees they take and what type of qualifications they look for. I will try to post some examples for advertisements.

With a GPA 3.0 you can get into low ranked universities. even if your GPA is above 3.0 if your GRE and TOFEL scores are low you cannot get into USA universities if your GRE and TOFEL scores are low.


Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sameera,

I do not know about Virginnia Research Institute,as it is very new its acceptance in to industry would be doubtful. For the moment I can't even find the faculty who would be conducting classes at VRI to make any judgement. I would suggest you to look at National Diploma in Technology (NDT) and see whether they have a degree program.

I will try to find out more information of Chem Engineering and post soon. Unfortunately I don't have any one who you could consult about Chem Engineering in Sri Lanka.

However if you are really interested in VRI I suggest you contact the directors board and ask the pertinent questions.


Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Examples of Job Requirements in Pharma Industry for Research Associate Positions


Job Description:
Molecular biologist to aid in characterization of recombinant mammalian cell lines.
Requires BS/MS in molecular biology or related field and at least one year of laboratory experience.
Must be familiar with general cell culture techniques (ex. aseptic passaging of cell lines), RNA, cDNA and genomic DNA preparation, DNA/RNA electrophoresis, and Northern and Southern analyses.
Experience with molecular cloning techniques such as plasmid construction, preparation and analysis, DNA sequencing technologies and analysis of DNA sequencing data multiple sequence alignments, identification of mutant sequences, in silico protein translation, etc. would be a definite plus.
REQUIRED PERSONALITY TRAITS: team oriented, fast learner, good attention. NO OVERTIME OR TRAVEL REQUIRED.

Top three critical skills
Molecular biology - especially gDNA and RNA extraction AND northern/Southern blotting experience
Timely and Complete Notebook entries
Once trained, the ability to independently organize and progress multiple projects simultaneously


Job Title: (Senior) Research Associate II


Duties:
The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary team dedicated to small molecule drug discovery.
With appropriate guidance and supervision, the successful candidate will conduct in vitro binding studies and be responsible for the careful execution of established biophysical assays.
The successful candidate is also expected to support screening campaigns.
As an active member of high value project teams, the candidate will work collaboratively with medicinal chemists, biologists, DMPK scientists, etc., presenting his/her results at team meetings.
With an appropriate sense of urgency, the successful candidate will bring enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication with an overall goal of bringing life-changing therapies to patients in need.

Skills:
Experience with Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR, Biacore), calorimetry, NMR, and/or other biophysical techniques is critical.
Experience working on early-stage small molecule drug discovery project teams is highly desirable.
Experience with analytical techniques and assay validation is a plus.
Strict attention to detail and excellent communication (oral & written) skills are required.
The candidate must be motivated to excel in both individual and team environments.

Education:
BS/BA with 2-5 years (or MS with 0-2 years) of professional experience developing in vitro assays in the biotech/pharmaceutical environment, or equivalent

Job Title: In-Vitro Pharmacologist

Job Description:
Primary focus will be to conduct biochemical and cell-based assays to support the CVMED Research Unit, including in vitro and ex vivo experiments to help characterize Client targets, characterize target engagement and downstream effects of small molecule modulators.

Required Skills:A B.S. or M.S.and a minimum of 2 years of laboratory experience in pharmacology, cellular and molecular biology, or related field is required. Proficient in cell culture, cell-based assays and basic molecular biology techniques.


Job Title: Associate Scientist


Job Description:
Support molecular biology and cell culture work within ongoing projects.
Applicants will possess a BSc with relevant laboratory experience in molecular biology techniques including: PCR, gel electrophoresis, plasmid construction, and amplification, mammalian cell culture and transfection.
Critical Skills:
Plasmid DNA Cloning, transformation, amplification and mammalian cell cultures.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

To anyone who is interested I have posted general job descriptions for research associate positions (BSc, MSc), this is the current trend and requirements for entrance level research associates in many biopharama companies.

You can get a general idea of what kind of skill set that you need to develop to get into the pharmaceutical field.

Sameera Mendis said...

Thank you very much.

Ramesh said...

Hi Everyone
For the people who are interested about engineering fields to follow, especially the chemical engineering should have some understanding about what engineers are doing in their professional careers.
Usually there are much more than technical skills, fluent communication in both oral and written, computer literacy, management skills and interpersonal skills are some of the things that you need to have in your pocket all the time.
In SriLanka there are three main state owned universities that offers engineering degrees, University Ruhuna, University of Moratuwa and University Peradeniya. The university entrance is based on the Z-score obtained from the GCE Advance level examination in physical science stream.
After you get selected into the Faculty of Engineering which is a four year honors degree you will be undergone a general course in the first year that you have to do the subjects from all the departments of Faculty of Engineering and department of mathematics. There you will be received fundamentals of different branches in engineering.Then at the end of the first year based on your great point average (GPA) and the demand for the fields you can select the field that you will be specialized in.
There are many other institutions that you can obtain engineering degrees in Srilanka, SAITM, SLITT and Open University of srilanka is some of them.
There are institution like HNDE, NDT and TTI that offers diploma in engineering and can be equivalent to the engineering degree with experience, doing qualification exams in institution of engineers srilanka (IESL). However these diplomas have good recognition in industry and will be a good professional qualification.
Finally if you are so fascinated about chemical engineering only university of Moratuwa and university of Peradeniya offers chemical & Process engineering degree programs in SriLanka. In university of Moratuwa the third year of the chemical engineering degree course you can select subjects in areas of Energy, Environmental, polymer and food and biochemical areas.In university of Peradeniya also offers modules in some of these sub fields.
However if you couldn't selected to one of those universities you can do the National Diploma in Technology (NDT) and after you can do MSc. You can also do bio-system engineering course in SAITM too.
I think this gives some understanding for the people who are interested in doing chemical engineering. And I like to thank Surangi for her work on this blog.

Ramesh Gamage said...

Hi Everyone
For the people who are interested about engineering fields to follow, especially the chemical engineering should have some understanding about what engineers are doing in their professional careers.
Usually there are much more than technical skills, fluent communication in both oral and written, computer literacy, management skills and interpersonal skills are some of the things that you need to have in your pocket all the time.
In SriLanka there are three main state owned universities that offers engineering degrees, University Ruhuna, University of Moratuwa and University Peradeniya. The university entrance is based on the Z-score obtained from the GCE Advance level examination in physical science stream.
After you get selected into the Faculty of Engineering which is a four year honors degree you will be undergone a general course in the first year that you have to do the subjects from all the departments of Faculty of Engineering and department of mathematics. There you will be received fundamentals of different branches in engineering.Then at the end of the first year based on your great point average (GPA) and the demand for the fields you can select the field that you will be specialized in.
There are many other institutions that you can obtain engineering degrees in Srilanka, SAITM, SLITT and Open University of srilanka is some of them.
There are institution like HNDE, NDT and TTI that offers diploma in engineering and can be equivalent to the engineering degree with experience, doing qualification exams in institution of engineers srilanka (IESL). However these diplomas have good recognition in industry and will be a good professional qualification.
Finally if you are so fascinated about chemical engineering only university of Moratuwa and university of Peradeniya offers chemical & Process engineering degree programs in SriLanka. In university of Moratuwa the third year of the chemical engineering degree course you can select subjects in areas of Energy, Environmental, polymer and food and biochemical areas.In university of Peradeniya also offers modules in some of these sub fields.
However if you couldn't selected to one of those universities you can do the National Diploma in Technology (NDT) and after you can do MSc. You can also do bio-system engineering course in SAITM too.
I think this gives some understanding for the people who are interested in doing chemical engineering. And I like to thank Surangi for her work on this blog.

Surangi Jayawardena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sameera Mendis said...

Does a normal b.sc degree involving physics, chemistry and maths make me eligible to become a chemical engineer? Will the degree that is supposed to be starting soon at virginia research institute, allow me to become a chemical engineer? I am an international school student. Therefore i cannot enter government universities. And the b.sc degree in the open university, involving chemistry, physics and maths, will it give me th qualification needed to become a chemucal engineer?

Ramesh Gamage said...

Sameera

To become chemical engineer is not necessarily be an engineering degree holder, but you have to gather your experience in chemical engineering field. Institute of Engineers SriLanka is the professional body in country which offers student membership according to your qualification and experience. After passing the exams conducted by the institution you can become associate member. For more information you can browse IESL website or call them and ask for more information.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sameera,

You will have to be enrolled in a Chemical Engineering program and complete the curriculum to get a Chemical Engineering degree. The curriculum would generally have Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics but doing those courses separately will not make you a chemical engineer until you follow a specifically tailored program.

http://www.cpe.mrt.ac.lk/images/Copy_of_Curriculum_2013_onwards.pdf
The above link, links to the curriculum of Chemical and Process Engineering in Univ of Moratuwa.

Only upon specialization in Chemical Engineering (4 year program) would you hold chemical engineering degree from Sri Lanka.

As Ramesh explained above there are other ways you could follow Diploma program and upon substantial experience be qualified under IESL as an equivalent degree holder.

Surangi

Rivini Shanuddra said...

Dear mam,
Are there any vacancies related to health care sector who has a chemistry special degree?

Dilip said...

Hi science loving Sri Lankans, please join our efforts in science popularising www.srilankanscientist.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs Surangi,
I'm a student of faculty of science of UOP.I 've the aim to be a university lecturer in chemistry. So I wanted to get select for the chemistry special degree.

But I had chemistry GPA of 3.4 & couldn't get selected for that. Now I've planned to do Msc & phd in chemistry after completing my general degree. But I've got many doughts .
I want to know whether I'll be able to become a university lecturer in srilanka after completing my Msc & phd in chemistry & also want to know is it necessary to have a 4year Bsc degree to beco.e a university lecturer in srilanka

please help me to clear these doubts.

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi,

A PhD is a requirement if you want to join as a faculty government university. Masters is not a sufficient qualification. Some universities require a BSc 4 year degree program but most universities don't.
Postdoctoral after the PhD would be an addition qualification.

Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Rivini,

There are some vacancies in the medical center for chemists mostly as analytical scientists. If you are applying with your bachelors then you will have to look for technical positions which involves quantitative analysis of patients samples. Example would be quantitative analysis of vitamins micronutrients proteins metal ions in patieny blood serum and urine samples.
Experience you would need would be HPLC, LC-MS and simple biological assays such as ELISA.

You could also do narcotic analysis for drug abuse. There are also openings in forensics for quantitative analysts.

Surangi

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot Mrs Surangi

Rivini Shanuddra said...

Thank you very much mam for your favorable response.and further more i need to know are there possible job opportunities in medical sector specially in a country like sri lanka as an analatical scientist?

Sarangi said...

Hi ma'am Surangi,
I am an international school student and got 3As in my ALs.
Pharmaceutical chemistry field is my biggest dream. However since I have no chance of entering state universities my only option is Ichem I guess.
Ma'am could u please tell me whether there's a better option than following in Ichem?
Also since I am willing to specialize and obtain my PhD (later on) in pharmaceutical chemistry, could u please tell me about the job opportunities in this field in both abroad and in srilanka?

Sarangi said...
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Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sarangi,

If you did London ALs IChem would be your better option. Job opportunities are excellent in pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical industry incoporates all STEM fields from molecular biology biochemistry synthetic organic chemistry computational chemistry biomedical engineering to pharmaceutical chemistry.

As long as your PhD research work is directly relevant to pharamaceutics a job fitting for your qualifications is assured in foreign shores.
Sri Lanka not so much, there is hardly any R&D sectors willing to hire PhD scientist in Sri Lanka.


Surangi

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Hi Sarangi,

IChem does not provide specialized degrees, if you enroll in the IChem
Program, you can only get a chemistry general degree. Bu if necessary you can still join pharmaceutical program for your graduate studies (PhD).

Surangi

Sarangi said...

Thanks a lot ma'am for that.
Also can I know what job opportunities are there in srilanka from the chemistry field other than lecturing?

Sarangi said...

And also what chemistry fields have a good job market in srilanka? (Since I realised that pharmaceutical industry does not provide a good job opportunity in Lanka)

Anonymous said...

is there any government jobs for the chemists in sri lanka?

Surangi Jayawardena said...

Yes there are government jobs for chemists with both MSc and BSc. Forensic department, quality assurance, government research labs ITI Genetech, open university teaching assistant positions are some of them. I will post some more in the future.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Surangi,
Can I know whether chemistry general degree students can become university lectures and if so what qualifications should they fulfill.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Ma'am ,
Is there any way for a chemistry general degree student to get qualified same as a specialized student. Because in the special degree program there is a high content

Anonymous said...

Ma'am ,
Is there any way for chemistry general degree students to be qualified similar to the specialized students. Because special degre programme has a high content.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Surangi ,
Have you got any idea about what srilankan universities consider 4yeat bacheolar degree when applying for accadamic staff positions

Anonymous said...

Hi.
I did AL in 2015 and I got an A pass for chemistry.My z score is 1.0399 ( gampaha district).I think i am selected for agriculture .But i like to do an ichem course.Would it become useful to do both agri and i chem together.Or are there any other ways to continue my studies in chemistry ?.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful if u could reply me as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi hirunika.
I am also willing to follow i chem . Did u start ichem and if so how is that ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ma'am, I'm planning to do the chemistry course in ichem. From what I have heard, government jobs do NOT have a good regard to Ichem degree holders as they give priority to those from state unis.
A senior told me it would be good to do "MPhil" in my case.
1 Ma'am could u pls tell me about MPhil? I heard its a higher qualification than MSc.
2 Is it possible to do MPhil straight after graduating from IChem? (Without doing MSc)
3 Also though I'm from IChem, will the government sector offer me good job opportunities (as for state uni graduates) after I complete MPhil?
Hope to get a reply soon...

Anonymous said...

Dear Ma'am,Now am a undergraduate of food science and technology department in sabaragamuwa university.But i hope to do chemistry course in ichem with my food science degree.May i know that chemistry degree will help me in facing to interviews or etc...?or is there any chemistry courses which regarding to food science?am thankful to u if u can reply me as soon as possible......(kalpana)

Anuradha Abhayawardhana said...

Dear Surangi!
Thanks a lot for your reply for my problem.
Anuradha Abhayawardhane

Hirunika said...

Ms surangi,
I am planning to join the ichem for the undergraduate degree programme and i would like to persue my career in the field of chemistry. As ichem doesnt award its degree as "bachelor of science" will it be an issue when i will be trying do my higher studies? is ichem a valid qualification for someone willing to persue that career especially the medical and pharmaceutical site of chemistry?

Anonymous said...

Madam.

I got my a/ls in 2014 and got selected to medicine with 3 As . I left medicine in favour of being a scientist and chose university of colombo bio science stream in order to do chemistry special degree. But i got a b+ in my first year exams in chemistry. Im afraid and not sure i willget selected to do chemistry special. Because its very competitive here. People with high gpa s for chemistry are even not getting selected. So im in great trouble. Can i do ichem degree with my university degree sity degree . If i got selected to chemistry special in second year will it be a waste of spending time and money dedicating my time to do university work and increase my gpa. And will it be an option to choose molecularbiology and biochemistry degree. or computational chemistry degree.

I want to know what degree will be more valueble for getting selected to a good phd program . Chemistry., MB or CC.

sanka said...

mrs, surangi what is the best university to obtain a chemistry special degree by your opinion. and what university graduates are the most populous in enrolling phd s in chemistry or related subject in usa. how about the recognition of university of ruhuna ?

Anonymous said...

Chetana
Mrs surangi,
What is the minimum salary of a chemist in sri lanka? The work time per day and per week? What is the minimum educational requirement to become one? I am talking about the private sector. I am not interested in government jobs. What is the job availabiliy of a chemist in sri lanka? Nt abraod. I am not willing to go abroad.

Anonymous said...

Chetana
Madam could you please give me an answer kindly.

Anonymous said...

Dear surangi akki,
I did my a/l in this year and im wating for the results.If i choose physical science and try to become a forensic scientist,is it possible and how i wouldaccomplish it.

gayashan harsha said...

Madam, after completing ichem degree can I follow Phd degree in abroad?

Vishmi Abeyrathna said...

Dear Akki,
Although I read this blog begin to an end yet i am complicated about this degree programme.
I did A/L s in this year on bio stream and i want to do chemistry special,so please tell me which course i should follow and how it goes?

Gimila Chandula said...

Madam i have scored 1.6679 z in biological stream in 2016 al exam.. i have a desire to go through some kind of researches .. i have no any idea of going to medical faculty.. i would like to will i be able to enter colombo campus and will i be able to do a specialized course.. this is my second shy results and im from kurunegala district.. else there some options to enter food science and technology or food science and nutrition .. are they greater than entering bio science in colombo.. hope to have a favourable reply.. thank u madam.. if i fail to do a special what would happen in colombo campus.. what are the job options would i get at that situation .. thank you

Gimila Chandula said...

Will i be able to select to colombo university ??

Anonymous said...

Ishara
Dear madam,I'm an undegraduate student (2nd year) in eastern university srilanka.I hope to complete my bsc degree (with chemistry) as general degree.so what is the best way to follow the phd programme after graduation. follow the ichem degree or follow the msc at colombo university.I have a problem because my degree is not specialization.therefore if i follow last 2yrs of ichem degree is it possible to follow the phd degree in abroad??