At that historic moment of the founding of Vidyalankara University in 1959, the subject of philosophy became one of the major fields of study as an extension of the study of the Eastern Philosophy tradition itself. Rahul Sanskrit was the subject coordinator of this transitional period.

When the Vidyalankara University was established in 1959, the Faculty of Arts was one of the five disciplines comprising the department of Philosophy. The Headship of Department hold by Ven. Prof. Moratuwe Sasanaratana Thero as the first head of the Department at that period he was one of the renowned Buddhist scholar in Sri Lanka. The Ven. Prof. Moratuwe Sasanaratana Thero was an eminent scholar of Mahayana and Medieval philosophy, he was well versed in Eastern philosophy. The Department of Philosophy at the University of Kelaniya appears to have gone through three historical eras. That is, the first period from the Vidyalankara Pirivena period to the 1959 Vidyalankara University. The second period lasted from 1959 to 1977 and This marks the transition period from Vidyalankara Pirivena to Vidyalankara University. The Retirement of Prof. Moratuwe Sasanaratana Thero, Prof. S. G. M. Weerasinghe appointing as the Head of the Department and the Abolishment of Tamil medium degree was the significant incitements which was happen in the Department of Philosophy during this period. Chair Prof. S.G. M. Weerasinghe was introduced the Philosophy of Law with the greatest contribution to the Philosophy and also he was contributed to established the knowledge in the field of historical Buddhist Legal systems in Sri Lanka based on Buddhist Legal Philosophy. The year 1977 to 2000 is the third historical period and during this period many young lecturers with new ideas joined to the Department of Philosophy. Professor Daya Edirisinghe obtained his Master’s Degree related to the Far Eastern Philosophy from Donguk University of the Republic of Korea. Prof. V.G. Kulasena was obtained his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Greece and specialized Wittgenstein’s Philosophy and Analytical Philosophy. Dr. K. Piyasiri was specialized the field of Buddhist Political Philosophy and he was obtained the Doctor of Philosophy Degree at National University of Australia. Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne's field of study was Marxism and the Modern Political Philosophical traditions such as Peace Studies, Gender Studies, Non-violence etc. He later received the educational training in peace and conflict resolution at Uppsala University in Sweden. Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne pioneered the establishment of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Degree in the Department of Philosophy also known as a pioneer in establishing peace education in Sri Lanka Dr. Pushpa Rodrigo, who done his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the related to the Essentialism, Alienation and Aesthetics. Senior Professor Kandegoda Wimaladhamma Thero was specialized in the fields of Eastern and Western ethics and as young monk he was obtained his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Greece and he was the first Sri Lankan Buddhist Reverent who hold the PhD in Geek language. The above mentioned Senior Professors/ Professors and the Doctors were made a great effort to the development and the advancement of the Department of Philosophy. They can also be considered as the pioneers of young Lecturers who serve in the Department in present.  Prof. S. G. M. Weerasinghe, Senior Prof. (Emeritus) Daya Edirisinghe, Dr. K. Piyasiri, Senior Prof. Kulasena Vidanagamage, Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne, Dr. Pushpa Rodrigo, Senior Prof. (Ven) Kandegoda Wimaladhamma Thero represented the third generation of the Department of Philosophy and all of them were hold the headship accordingly.  During the fourth period of the Department of Philosophy, Prof. Gamini Hapuarachchi, Dr. K.A.T. Dharaneeta was hold the headship and in present Senior Lecturer (Mrs.) D.D.R. De Silva holding the headship and also she is the first lady head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Kelaniya. The distinctive feature of this period is that the totally retirement of the third generation and then the fourth generation is successfully engaged in their academic activities for the development of the discipline and the Department. 

The Department of Philosophy offers degrees in three areas: Philosophy, Psychology, and Peace and Conflict Resolution. In present the Department of Philosophy providing degrees in Sinhala and English Medium. However, in 2003 the Department introduced the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, and in 2007 the Honours Degree in Psychology was introduced and in present providing degree in both Sinhala and English Medium.  The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution was introduced in 2007 and was later transformed into an Honours Degree in 2018 as a fully english medium Degree course. Therefore, the Department of Philosophy can be identified as on of larger Department in University with the higher amount of Undergraduates. The Department of Philosophy also offering Master of Arts (MA) Degree, Master of Social Science (MSSc) Degree, Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Philosophy. And also Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree are available in Psychology and the Peace and Conflict Resolution for the qualified scholars.


Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Social Sciences

University of Kelaniya


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