University of Kelaniya

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University of Kelaniya
කැළණිය විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය
களனி பல்கலைக்கழகம்
University of Kelaniya Crest
Motto Sinhalese: පඤ්ඤාය පරිසුජ්ඣති (Pannaya Parisujjhati)
Motto in English
Self-purification is by insight
Type Public
Established 1959 (as Vidyalankara University)
Chancellor Ven. Welamitiyawe Dharmakirthi Sri Kusala Dhamma Thero
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Semasinghe Dissanayake
Administrative staff
771 academic, 637 non-academic
Location Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Campus Suburban
Affiliations University Grants Commission (Sri Lanka),
Association of Commonwealth Universities,
International Association of Universities,
Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability
Logo of the University of Kelaniya

The University of Kelaniya (Sinhalese: කැළණිය විශ්වවිද්‍යාලය, Tamil: களனி பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a state university of Sri Lanka. Just outside the municipal limits of Colombo, in the city of Kelaniya, the university has two major campuses, seven locations, six faculties and four institutions.


The University of Kelaniya has its origin in the historic Vidyalankara Pirivena, founded in 1875 by Ratmalane Sri Dharmaloka Thera as a centre of learning for Buddhist monks.

With the establishment of modern universities in Sri Lanka in the 1940s and 1950s, the Vidyalankara Pirivena became the Vidyalankara University in 1959, later the Vidyalankara Campus of the University of Ceylon in 1972, and, ultimately, the University of Kelaniya in 1978.

The University of Kelaniya has pioneered a number of new developments in higher education. It was one of the first universities to begin teaching science in Sinhala and the first to restructure the traditional Arts Faculty into three faculties: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Commerce and Management.

It has several departments not generally found in the Sri Lankan University system and some Kelaniya innovations have been adopted subsequently by other universities. These include the Departments of Industrial Management and Microbiology in the Faculty of Science; Departments of Linguistics, Fine Arts, Modern Languages and Hindi in the Faculty of Humanities; and Mass Communication and Library and Information Sciences in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

In keeping with its historical roots, the university is one of the national centers of excellence in Pali and Buddhist Studies and related fields. It has long-established and well-developed departments of Pali and Buddhist Studies (incorporating chairs in Buddhist Civilization and Buddhist Philosophy), Sanskrit, Linguistics, Philosophy, Sinhala, and Hindi, as well as the Postgraduate Institute of Pali & Buddhist Studies. Kelaniya maintains close links with the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka (whose vice-chancellors have often been drawn from the University of Kelaniya Faculty). Thus, the University of Kelaniya forms the centre of an academic complex, specializing in modern developments in traditional disciplines. It retains a close link with its mother institution, the Vidyalankara Pirivena, whose head is also the chancellor of the university.

At the same time, the University of Kelaniya has a modern and multi-cultural structure and perspective, with the Faculties of Science, Medicine, Social Sciences and Commerce & Management and a strong base in modern languages, including the teaching of Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Russian, Tamil, and Modern Linguistics. Presently engaged in extensive restructuring as it enters the 21st century, the University of Kelaniya looks forward to a new phase in its 125-year history of development.


Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms of the University of Kelaniya is circular and consists of three concentric bands, the outermost of which contains the name of the University in Sinhala and English. The motto of the institution, "Pannaya Parisujjhati" ("Self-purification is by insight"), is a quotation from the Alavaka-sutta of the Samyutta Nikaya, given in Sinhala characters in the same band. The middle band containing a creeper design encloses the innermost, which shows a full-blown lotus, signifying purity. These two designs are reminiscent of those occurring in the well-known moonstones at Anuradhapura.

University of Kelaniya.


Faculty of Science[edit]

The Faculty of Science started functioning in October 1967 with Prof. Charles Dahanayake as the Dean of Science. The intake of the first batch of students was 57. Formal approval for the Faculty was given by the Minister of Education in 1968.

The faculty was housed in the main building known as the “Science Block”. Due to the continued increase in the student intake from year to year, a new lecture theatre complex and an auditorium were constructed in 1992, which enabled the intake of students to be increased to 450 in 2003. A new laboratory complex for the Chemistry Department and three buildings for the Departments for Industrial Management, Microbiology and Zoology have now been completed.

The faculty was the first among the Sri Lankan universities to initiate the changeover from the traditional three subject (General) degree with end of year examinations to a more flexible course unit system, i.e., a modularized credit-based system in a two-semester academic year with the end of semester examinations. It offers a variety of course pathways designed to provide flexibility in the choice of subjects. Under this system students have the option of reading for a traditional three subject degree or for a degree consisting of two principal subjects and a selection of course units drawn from other subject areas. The B.Sc. (Special) degree courses, begun in 1974, adopted the course unit system in 1986.

Faculty of Science

The faculty consists of eight departments.

  • Department of Botany
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Industrial Management
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Microbiology
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Statistics & Computer Science
  • Department of Zoology & Environmental Management

Department of Industrial Management[edit]

The Department of Industrial Management (DIM) was one of the first departments established in the Faculty of Science in 1967 with the intention of teaching management to science students, and was the only such department in the university system of Sri Lanka for many decades. Launched initially with 15 students and 3 academic staff members, the DIM has today expanded its horizons to serve several hundred of students.

Based on the continuous interaction with industry and international organization such as UNDP, collaboration with foreign universities, and its own experience, the DIM identified the potential of Information Technology (IT) at a very early stage and introduced a new subject titled Operations Research and Information Technology (ORIT) to its curricula in 1996 becoming one of the first departments in Sri Lankan university system to offer IT as a subject.

In a ground-breaking move, the DIM fully transformed itself from the conventional concept of "one subject for the degree" into an offering of a complete degree programme in Management and Information Technology (MIT) in 2002. Fifty selected students are provided with the opportunity to empower themselves with a degree which combines management and IT, a mix of which makes students productive, modern in their outlook and mobile. This Bachelor of Science in Management and Information Technology (B.Sc. MIT) degree programme was again a pioneering effort, as it was the very first such a combination of subjects offered as a degree programme in the annals of university education in Sri Lanka. The DIM has since experienced a vertical path of development by leveraging its expertise by providing three postgraduate programmes including a Postgraduate Diploma in IT to professionals in the industry, and developing horizontally too, by providing consultancy services to the industry.

The graduates passed out from the University of Kelaniya holding the degree of B.Sc. in MIT are highly employable with an employment rate of over 95%. They have been recruited to a wide range of positions such as Business Analysts, Software Engineers, Quality Assurance Executives and Management Trainees etc. in diverse functional areas by public and private sector organizations in Sri Lanka and are holding key positions. The DIM's efforts and commitment to produce high quality graduates has been recognized by the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council of the University Grant Commission (QAAC–UGC) by rating DIM within the best five academic departments among Sri Lankan universities.

The Department launched a new degree programme: B.Sc. in Software Engineering in 2015 with a direct intake of 50 students.

Faculty of Medicine[edit]

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya is on a 35-acre (140,000 m2) campus at Ragama.[1] It is one of eight medical schools in Sri Lanka. The faculty began classes with the admission of 120 students in September 1991 after the government, in 1989, nationalized the North Colombo Medical College (NCMC), the first privately funded medical school in Sri Lanka established in 1980. The first batch of students, of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya completed their five-year course and graduated MBBS in September 1996. Prof. Carlo Fonseka was the first dean of the faculty. Subsequent deans were Prof. Janaka de Silva and Prof. Rajitha Wickremasinghe. The current dean is Prof. Nilanthi de Silva.

The faculty has now has over 1000 medical students. This number includes international students, mainly from other South Asian countries, who have been admitted on a fee-levying basis. The faculty also welcomes students for elective appointments. Students from medical schools in Europe, USA and Australia have spent their elective periods with the university. In addition to the MBBS course, it conducts a BSc programme in speech and hearing sciences.

There is a permanent academic staff of over 120 and in addition 40 temporary academic staff and over 60 visiting staff that includes consultants who are based in the affiliated teaching hospitals.

Faculty of Social Science[edit]

The Faculty of Social Sciences, in student population, is the largest faculty in the University of Kelaniya.

Department of Library and Information Science[edit]

Faculty of Humanities[edit]

The faculty includes disciplines associated with Buddhist and Asian cultures, such as Pali and Buddhist Studies, Sinhala, Tamil, Sanskrit, Hindi, Japanese and Chinese, while teaching courses in modern European languages such as English, French, German and Russian.

Faculty of Commerce and Management[edit]

The faculty consists of four departments:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Accountancy
  • Department of Marketing Management
  • Department of Human Resource Management
  • Department of Finance

Department of commerce was the first to establish and contribute lots of talented graduates to the industry. BCOM degree is unique to Department of Commerce. Department provides special degree in Financial Management(BCOM (special) Degree in Financial management), Business technology(BCOM (special) Degree in Business Technology), Entrepreneurship(BCOM (special) Degree in Entrepreneurship) and Commerce(BCOM (special) Degree in Commerce).

Faculty of Graduate Studies[edit]

Twenty-three postgraduate degree programmes and six postgraduate diploma programmes are coordinated by the Faculty of Graduates Studies.

Postgraduate diplomas[edit]

  • Regional Planning
  • Information Technology
  • Industrial and Business Management
  • Environmental Management
  • Mathematics
  • Human Resource Management

Postgraduate degrees[edit]

  • M.A. in Sinhala
  • M.A. in Linguistics
  • M.A. in Drama and Theatre
  • M. S. Sc. in Mass Communication
  • M. S. Sc. in Sociology
  • M. S. Sc. in Geography
  • M. S. Sc. in Library Science
  • M. S. Sc. in Economics
  • M. S. Sc. in Political Science
  • M. S. Sc. in History
  • M. S. Sc. in Philosophy
  • M. Sc. in Applied Microbiology
  • M. Sc. in Food and Nutrition
  • M. Sc. in Aquaculture and Fisheries Management
  • M. Sc. in Biodiversity and Integrated Environmental Management
  • M. Sc. in Industrial and Environment Chemistry
  • M. Sc. in Management and Information Technology
  • M. Sc. in Computer Science
  • Master of Commerce
  • Master of Business Management
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Medicine

Information and Communication Technology Centre[edit]

The ICT Centre provides support services in IT-related teaching, research, internet services, staff development and hardware maintenance for the entire university. It conducts a computer literacy course open to all students and advanced courses in Visual Basic, web designing and hardware technology for the students who have successfully completed the computer literacy course. On-the-job training in the IT arena is provided for the young people just out of the university who work in the ICT Centre.

The maintenance unit provides network, hardware and software support to the clients in the university, and IT solutions for academic departments and administrative branches of the university. Video filming of special events of the university since 2005 is an additional service.

Currently the ICT Centre hosts web and mail services for all student and staff. They have a university wide wifi network called "Kelani-WiFi". The ICT Centre is the first institutional Sri Lankan member of Eduroam.

Historically related institutions[edit]

The Vidyodaya University was created at the same time as the Vidyalankara University. Today Vidyodaya University is known as the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Faculty and alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1]