Post Graduate course in Applied Botany was started in the year 1988 as a Division of Applied Botany under the Department of Biosciences and was elevated as an independent Department in 1994. Since then, the Department is actively involved in floristic studies of the Western Ghat forests, structural studies, micro propagation, conservation, ethnobotanical explorations, plant microbe interactions, effects of radiations on plants etc. The establishment of an arboretum of endemic plants on the campus in an area of 5 ha and one more at Pilikula near Mangalore in an area of about 80 ha and a green belt around the Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant, Karwar are the standing testimonies for the conservation work initiated by the Department. The Department was able to attract funding for research from national and International funding agencies such as MacArthur Foundation Chicago, IBPGRI, Malaysia, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPC), Karnataka Power Corporation (KPC), DST, DBT, UGC, BRNS, KILOC Ltd, DOEn. Karnataka Biodiversity Board etc
The Department is recognised as “Centre of Excellence” in Science by the Vision Group on Science & Technology, DST, Govt. of Karnataka.