The University of Colombo is the oldest institution of modern higher education in Sri Lanka. It is the only university in the country to make an appearance in the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings with a ranking of 801+.

The University of Ceylon was established by the State Council on April 1942 through the amalgamation of the Ceylon Medical College founded in 1870 and the Ceylon University College founded in 1921. Under the University of Sri Lanka Act No. 1 of 1972 all universities were brought under one umbrella and were made Campuses of a single university established as the University of Sri Lanka. The University of Ceylon, Colombo was named the Colombo Campus of the University of Sri Lanka. However with time the autonomy of the universities was weakened and therefore a new Act was introduced – the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 – under which all Campuses of the then single University became independent Universities. Accordingly, the University of Colombo regained its autonomy in 1978.
It had Faculties of Medicine, Arts, Science, Education and Law. Subsequently the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Management and Finance were established. Today the University of Colombo has 7 faculties with 41 departments, 7 institutes, 1 school and 1 campus.
The University of Colombo has established international links with universities around the world. Such links would be traced as far back as 1921 when the University College Colombo established close links with the University of London. Modern links have led to several global partnerships that have resulted in exchange in teaching and learning models, collaborative research, curriculum design and student exchange programmes. The International Unit of the University of Colombo (IUUC) coordinates and develops international links.
A strong link exists between the alumni and the University and this is further strengthened through the concept of voluntary mentoring and industrial placements facilitated by the Career Guidance Unit. .
University of Colombo library is a centrally-administered network of libraries of the university primarily made up of the main library and two branch libraries, one in each of the Faculties of Medicine and Science. It is the oldest academic library in the country since its constituent Ceylon Medical College library was established in 1870. Containing 400,000 plus items, it is one of the largest libraries in the country.
There are over 40 student based clubs and societies that provide students with ample opportunities to get to know one another and get engaged in extra-curricular activities. These student run organizations include Students’ Unions, AIESEC Colombo Central, University of Colombo Gavel Club, Rotaract Clubs, Moot Court and Debating Society, Physics Society, Tamil Literary Union, Muslim Majlis, Buddhist Society and the Catholic Students’ Movement (only to name a few!).
Sports activities of the university are implemented by the Department of Physical Education through the Amalgamated Club. Annually the university takes part in the Inter-University Sports Championships. Facilities for most sports are provided within the university, with a gymnasium for indoor sports and the university sports ground for outdoor sports. Additionally students and staff can make use of the newly opened fitness center to keep fit.
The New Arts Theatre at the premises of the University of Colombo is often the arena where the aesthetic talents of our student population are displayed.
The University of Colombo is centrally located in the commercial hub of the country thereby enabling students to access a wide array of resources and facilities. This helps enhance their physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Today the University of Colombo is much more than merely an academic institution. It is home to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious student and staff population, thereby fostering social harmony and cultural understanding among everyone. Every year some of the brightest individuals from all across the country enter this university with many aspirations. The University of Colombo provides them with the platform to hone their skills and enables them to nurture their ideas, that go on to make significant contributions to the development of our country.

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Author: Miss Charuni Pathmeswaran

Level IV Student, Environment Science Special Degree Program, University of Colombo