The first session of the biological sciences started in the Department of Zoology and Botany on the historical day of 25th May 1959, in borrowed premises until the Faculty of Science building was officially opened in 1961. Eight years later, these two Departments merged to form the School of Biological Sciences in April 1967. It has five divisions, namely Zoology, Botany, Ecology, Genetics and Physiology. After another eight years of existence, the School of Biological Sciences was separated into three Departments of Botany, Zoology, and Genetics & Cellular Biology in April 1975. The other two divisions of Ecology and Physiology were absorbed into the Department of Zoology. The Physiology division was discontinued in 1978, while Ecology division continued to flourish under the management of the Department of Zoology. In 1980, the Division of Microbiology was formed under the management of the Department of Genetics and Cellular Biology.
On 1st June 1997, after twenty-two years, the Institute of Biological Science was formed by merging these three departments. These changes are crucial to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Today, the Institute of Biological Sciences is one of the largest institutes within the Faculty of Science.
Currently, Institute of Biological Sciences has a strong and qualified workforce of 82 academic staff, including 27 professors, and 150 administrative and technical support staff. We are very proud that from the humble beginning of a few students to the current student enrolment of 2500 undergraduates and 400 postgraduate students with numerous international students.
The Institute has various facilities for teaching and research located inside and outside the campus, such as the Gombak Field Research Centre, Selangor and Jelebu Field Station, Negeri Sembilan. The Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden has an important repository of rare and endangered plants, and an international renowned herbarium which house a large volume of plant specimen collections. The Institute's Zoological Museum has accumulated a large volume of specimens over the years for teaching and research. The Institute also has a mini farm of 1 hectare of land within the campus to train both undergraduate and postgraduate students on the farm management and reproductive technology, mainly in sheep and goat.
As the country’s foremost Institute of Biological Sciences, we currently offer eight undergraduate degree programmes: Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biohealth Science, Microbiology, Ecology & Biodiversity, Genetics & Molecular Biology, Science & Environmental Manangement. The postgraduate programmes offered are Masters and Ph.D. (by research) and also three taught Master programmes,namely the Master of Biotechnology, Master in Technology (Environmental Management) and Master in Bioinformatics.
The Institute of Biological Sciences will continue to strive to be a centre of excellence to realize the aspiration of the Nation and Vision 2020.