The Department of Botany was established as Biology Department under the University of Dhaka in 1939 by the active leadership of Professor Panchanan Maheshwari. At that time, the department consisted of Botany and Zoology and the students were enrolled under BSc pass degree program. The students of the then Bengal Agriculture Institute (At present, Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka-1207) were also taught for the BSc pass degree in the same Biology Department. At the beginning, the department was housed in the neighboring Chemistry Department, situated in the Curzon Hall Campus of the University of Dhaka. The department was later on shifted to the present building. In 1948, the first MSc program in Botany was started and the first batch of the students was awarded MSc in 1950. Professor Panchanan Maheshwari, the founder head returned to India in 1949 and then Dr. Majeed Ahmad, Reader of Biology, took the charge. Dr. Ahmad left the department in December. 1951. Professor Girija Prashanna Majumdar, Professor of Botany of Presidency College, Calcutta, India was appointed as the Head of the Department.

Professor Majumder started BSc (Hons) course in Botany in 1952. Under this new program, students of Botany were first awarded BSc (Hons) degree in 1954. On the Executive Council of Dhaka University at its meeting on 24 April, 1954 decided to establish separate Departments of Botany and Zoology by splitting the Department of Biology. Therefore, the Department of Botany started functioning independently from July 1954 and Professor Girija Prashanna Majumdar became the founder Head of the Department. In September 1954, Professor Majumdar left for India and Professor Majeed Ahmad took the charge. Under the dynamic leadership of Professor Majeed Ahmad, the expansion of the department was successfully ventured. In 1969, Professor Majeed Ahmad left Dhaka for joining a fellowship to UK and then Professor AKM Nurul Islam was appointed as the Head of the Department. In 1970 Professor Majeed Ahmad returned and took the charge again. In 1971, after the emergence of independent Bangladesh from Pakistan, Professor Majeed Ahmad left Bangladesh and Professor Ahmad Shamsul Islam was appointed as the Head of the Department. Presently, the Department of Botany has been functioning under the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

The department was established with an aim to produce quality graduates through offering BS (Hons), MS, MPhil and PhD degrees. Initially, a three-year BSc (Hons) course was introduced in 1954 since the establishment of the Department of Botany. Over the years, the Department of Botany has grown in every sphere of the botanical disciplines and now has taken a shape one of the largest departments in the University of Dhaka. Considering the needs of global equivalence of its BSc (Hons) degree program, in 1998, the department converted its three year BSc (Hons) degree program to a four year BSc (Hons) degree which continued until 2008. From 2008, onward the name of the degree was changed to BS (Hons) degree.

At present, there are 21 members of teaching staff and 28 supporting technical and office staffs catering the needs of around 400 students including a number of MPhil and PhD research scholars. The department also offers non major courses for other departments of the University of Dhaka such as Department of Soil, Water and Environment; Department of Zoology and Department Geography and Environment. The number of non-major students is currently around 490.

The Department has a long tradition of research in various fields of plant sciences under the MS, MPhil and PhD programs. The faculty members along with their research students pursue research in diverse fields which has resulted in a large number of research publications in various national and international journals. The department is also collaborating academic and research programs with India, Japan, UK, Germany and USA. Besides well equipped laboratories for the students, there is a rich seminar library. In each year, new books and journals are purchased and added to enrich and update the library. A total of over 16,000 reference books, journals, reports and proceedings are now present in the seminar library. In the recent year, a computer laboratory with internet facility has been established for the use by the students and researchers.

There are nine research laboratories which are devoted to the following disciplines:

  1. Microbiology
  2. Mycology and Plant Pathology
  3. Phycology, Limnology and Hydrobiology
  4. Higher Cryptogams
  5. Angiosperm Taxonomy
  6. Plant Ecology and Environments
  7. Plant Physiology, Biochemistry and Nutrition and Plant Anatomy
  8. Molecular Cytogenetics
  9. Plant Breeding and Biotechnology

At present, the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka has been offering BS (Hons) degree program based on the syllabi covering the diverse fields of botanical sciences. The subject is taught by skilled and experienced academic staffs in a conducive teaching-learning environment. The medium of instruction of this program is English.