To be a center of Excellence in Creative thinking, Teaching, Research and Community outreach in the South Asian Region.



To promote collectively scholarship, critical inquiry, competencies and skills in the Social Sciences and Humanities in keeping with the highest academic and ethical standards in teaching, research and evaluation.


Teaching humanities and social sciences in Sri Lanka is closely linked to the historical evolution of the University of Colombo. The origin of the faculty dates back to the early 20th Century, when the Ceylon University College (CUC) was established in January 1921 at the “College House”, which was formerly known as the “Regina Walauwa”.  The Ceylon University College was the first government establishment in Sri Lanka where courses in humanities and social sciences were offered. With the establishment of the University of Ceylon in April 1942, the courses offered in humanities and social sciences were upgraded to a faculty for the first time. In 1963, a new Faculty of Arts was established in Colombo as a part of the University of Ceylon, which continues to function to date. Later, in 1978, under the Universities Act No.16 of 1978, all campuses of the then single university became independent universities. Accordingly, the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka became an autonomous body in 1978 with the Faculty of Arts as one of its prominent faculties.

The Faculty of Arts is the largest in the University of Colombo in terms of student enrolment. The faculty has twelve academic Departments and several teaching Units offering courses in the field of Social Sciences. Apart from undergraduate BA courses, several Departments offer courses for Diploma, Masters and Ph.D degrees. Many students who successfully complete Special BA Degrees, eventually register for postgraduate degree programs offered by the Faculty.

The Faculty of Arts has responded in various ways to the challenges and problems of  higher education and employment. The introduction of the Course Unit System in 1998 was a major step towards offering greater flexibility to students in terms of selection of courses, their duration, new methods of teaching, learning and evaluation. The establishment of a Student Computer Unit and Computer Teaching Unit within the Faculty has enabled students to become computer literate – an essential skill in the economic and academic climate of today — within a short period of time. Many students specializing in subjects such as Geography, Economics and Sociology also take computer applications as a regular course unit.

The Department of English Language Teaching (DELT), provides undergraduates with a working knowledge of English through its Proficiency Courses in English. There cannot be any dispute that a working knowledge of English offers the student a distinct advantage to society today.