The Department of Economics is one of the oldest and most possibly the most popular departments in the Faculty of Arts with 700 undergraduates – including students who take Economics as one of three subjects in a General Arts degree, and those who take Special Arts degree in Economics.
When considering the history of Economics department it is vital to know about the history of the University of Colombo. The University of Colombo has a proud history of over a century and a quarter starting with the establishment of the Medical School – the predecessor to the present Faculty of Medicine of the University. It was on the present premises of the University of Colombo that the first fully-fledged University, the University of Ceylon was set up in 1942. After a series of changes the present institutional structure of the University of Colombo was established in 1978. Recently the University of Colombo was ranked among the top universities in Asia and the Pacific by the highly respected Asiaweek magazine.
Having initially focused on undergraduate training in a variety of disciplines, the University of Colombo has, since the early 1980’s, increasingly turned its attention to the development of teaching and training programs at postgraduate level. The Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts took a leadership role in this activity by commencing in 1984 the Postgraduate Diploma in Economic Development. The Department now offers two more well recognized Postgraduate programs: the MA in Economics (1991) and the MPhil /PhD in Economics (1996).
At a time when large numbers of graduates in Economics were looking for postgraduate training opportunities, but were getting disappointed that opportunities and resources for this purpose at home and abroad were limited, the value of the services rendered by the postgraduate study program of the Department of Economics of the University of Colombo has been enormous.
Postgraduate training programs in Economics offered in the University of Colombo continue to attract large numbers of applicants with a variety of backgrounds. The University provides a stimulating environment for rigorous graduate study. The postgraduate students in turn provide luster to this excellent center of learning which serves the country’s need of producing higher-level manpower in the discipline of Economics, in increasingly important discipline in the Management of the affairs of the Sri Lankan society.