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General Information

The Department offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Geology and Earth Science related disciplines. The undergraduate program is designed to serve both major in geology (4 years) and non-major (3 years). Graduates with a B.Sc. degree in Geology are prepared for careers in Exploration Geology, Natural Hazards Monitoring, Environmental Geology, Engineering Geology, Exploration of Water Resources and Development, Marine geology and many other areas. In collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Science, the Department offers several postgraduate courses leading to MSc and MPhil degrees.

The Geology Department at the University of Peradeniya

Prof. Kapila Dahanayake and Geology Students, during a Field Excursion (Photo taken in 1980)


The Department is located in the heart of the spectacular Peradeniya University, located by the Mahaweli River. Our location provides students an ideal setting for their research, field work and academic studies.

Please contact us if you have questions or simply want to know more about the geology undergraduate and postgraduate programs.


‘Professor P.W.Vitanage, founder of the Department in his early days'

The Department of Geology, established in 1964 as part of the University of Ceylon, is the only full fledged Geology Department in the University system. It has forged ahead with vigour. Indeed within the last 40 years, the Department has progressed rapidly from a building with empty rooms to a well equipped academic centre.

In September 1964, instruction was initiated in the Sub-Department of Geology at the first year level by late Prof. P.W.Vitanage (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1959) with a class of 12 students. The Sub-Department of Geology functioned under the Department of Geography. It was poorly equipped and the brunt of the teaching was done by Prof. Vitanage. In September 1965, a second class of 9 students began their instruction in Geology. In January 1966 two temporary lecturers were added to the staff of the Geology Department; one was a Sri Lankan (Prof. Ananda Gunatilaka) who had obtained a Bachelors Honours Degree in Geology from New Zealand and the other was Dr. J.D. Godfrey who was attached to the department on an initial 12 month assignment through the Canadian-Colombo Plan.

Our early Dons in the Field’ (front Left to Right- Prof. P.W. Vithanage; Prof. Pitchchamutu, a famous Indian Geologist and Prof. Erdosh. Back- Prof. Ananda Gunatilaka and Dr.J.D.Godfrey )(Photo courtesy of Prof. Ananda Gunatilaka)

The progress of the Department owes much to the generous contributions made by the Canadian International Development Agency and UNESCO by way of staff and equipment. In September 1966, Dr. V.P. Kahr (Ph.D., University of Graz 1946) was appointed to the staff on a 24 month assignment, by UNESCO. A month later a third batch of 16 students began instruction in Geology. By this time more teaching facilities had become available and more personnel had been recruited to the technical staff. April 1967 was a memorable month for the Department when it was established as a full fledged Department. The untiring efforts of a few who dedicated their time and energy for the progress of the Department bore fruit. Arrangements were also being made to introduce a B.Sc. Honours Geology Programme. The period between 1967 and 1969 saw a number of changes within the Department. Many new foreign lecturers were added to the staff along with temporary assistant lecturers who had obtained their degrees from the University of Ceylon. In August 1969 the first batch of Special Degree students sat for the Final Examination.

In spite of the teaching activities of the Department, research in the Geological Sciences was not neglected. The staff and the senior students are actively engaged in research with an applied basis. Now the Department comprises 11 permanent staff members who are trained in various fields of Geological Sciences.



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