The Department of International Relations is the pioneer in the introduction of International Relations to the University system. The initial introduction of the subject – by Professor Shelton U. Kodikara, Professor Emeritus Amal Jayawardene, and Professor George Cooray – to undergraduate and postgraduate students be dated back to the 1970s. Initially introducing the subject whilst being part of the Department of History and Political Science; subsequent to the bifurcation of that department, the Special Degree in International Relations was introduced while part of Department of History and International Relations.
Under the leadership Senior Professor Nayani Melegoda the Department of International Relations was established on the 29th July 2010. It was the first Department of its kind in the whole university system in Sri Lanka. The Department offers four-year International Relations Honors Degree, and three-year Study Stream in Conflict Resolution and Peace for undergraduates. The Department offers 42 courses per year; 13 of which are taught in English medium. The students get the opportunity to not only learn bilingual teaching from second year onward, but they are also exposed to internationally renowned experts through visiting lecturers, the Guest Lecture series and the annual seminars. They gain experience through the community outreach training, field excursions, and learner/student-based learning. Workshops such as Training in Postgraduate Professionalism (TIPP), CV writing, First Aid and the Public-Public/Private Partnership for Internships provide students with transferable skills and knowledge for postgraduate life.
The two-year Masters Degree program in International Relations offered by the Department is well established, having been in existence for 33 years. The MPhil and PhD program is also being offered. Moreover, a Certificate Course in International Relations (CCIR) and a Certificate Course in Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation (CPR) provide students with A/Level qualifications an opportunity to gather knowledge and insights into the field.
The Academic staff holds 3 doctorates (from the UK, the USA, and Japan); one MPhil (from Norway) and currently, five are studying for their doctorates (in India, New Zealand and the UK). All lecturers have obtained Masters (from Canada, the USA, Japan, and Sri Lanka) and have are SEDA qualified.
To become the center of excellence in providing quality international relations scholars and practitioners to the nation and to the world.
Rooted in the mission of the University of Colombo and taking into account that this is the original and foremost Department of International relations; the Mission of the Department of International Relations is to become the center of qualitative and quantitative development of knowledge in this academic area.
- MGA Cooray award for the best dissertation at BA Special Degree in International Relations
- Amara Mohotty Memorial Award for the Best Performance at the International Relations Special Degree.The recipient of this award should have secured at least a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) at the International Relations Special Degree Examination in Arts and has been placed first in order of merit. The award shall be presented at the General Convocation annually.
- Professor Shelton Kodikara Award for International Relations. The award shall be presented to the student who secures the highest GPA with a First/Second Class (Upper Division) pass in the International Relations Special Degree. The award shall be presented at the General Convocation annually.
- Association of Former International Civil Servants (AFICS) – Sri Lanka Scholarship. The award shall be presented to a fourth (4th) year student in International Relations based on his/her academic performance (the highest GPA) in the 2nd & 3rd years of study.
- Professor Nayani Melagoda – Research Affiliate, Peace Science Research Center, Hiroshima University, Japan since 2010. Visiting Scholar, IDEC, University of Hiroshima, Japan, August to September 2009.