The Department of English, University of Colombo, which was established in the mid-1960s and has offered Honours/Special Degrees in English since 1976, holds a premier position both nationally and internationally. From its inception, it gained recognition for its research and teaching of English Language studies led by successive leading linguists who have been on its academic staff. It also gained recognition for its innovative literature curriculum and its pioneering introduction, in the early 1990s, of cultural studies as one of its key disciplinary orientations. This history is reflected not only in the involvement of the Department’s senior academics in national policy development and teacher-training activities, but also in the degree programs it offers at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These programmes are a) the four year Special degree in English, b) the three year Study Stream programme titled English Studies: Theory and Practice and c) the two year postgraduate Master’s Degree in English Studies.
The Department of English has a dynamic student community of undergraduate and postgraduate students who are well trained in critical thinking, writing, and communicative skills. Our Special Degree graduates have won many international scholarships including the Fulbright and Chevening Fellowships, and have gone onto complete postgraduate studies in prestigious universities in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Germany. Among the Department’s alumni are university academics and school teachers, foreign service diplomats, corporate sector executives, journalists, bankers and (for those who also obtained a law degree) successful officers of the Attorney General’s Department.
The Department’s well qualified academic staff have a wide range of research interests and local and international teaching experience in postcolonial, literature and feminist studies, sociolinguistics and discourse studies, theoretical and applied linguistics, digital cultures, Sri Lankan English studies, cinema, theatre, teledrama and performance studies, childhood studies, and gender and sexuality studies.