Beginning of Technical education at Katubedda

The GTS, established in 1893 at Maradana, Colombo was the first institution for formal technical education in Sri Lanka (other than for the Ceylon Medical School established in 1870). It became the pioneering institution for science education in Sri Lanka and its name was changed to the Ceylon Technical College (CTC) in 1906. The CTC provided technical education in Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering fields even before the establishment of the University College Colombo, affiliated to the University of London, in 1921.

In January 1933, CTC was reorganised and thereafter, prepared candidates for the external degrees in Engineering of the University of London and for the Associate Membership Examinations of the three major professional institutions (Civil, Electrical and Mechanical) in England. A Junior Technical Officers (JTO) course was also inaugurated at the CTC in the late 1940's.

Beginning of technical education at Katubedda took place in 1960 when the technician courses at the CTC were transferred to a new establishment called the Institute of Practical Technology (IPT) constructed on a fifty-acre block of land at the present premises of the University as a gift from the people of Canada with the primary aim of providing full-time JTO courses for technicians of sub-professional grades. In addition, the IPT offered part-time courses in engineering studies for those employed in the government and private sector.

In 1961, the Government of Ceylon (GoC) realised that an effective system of specialised education and training, capable of supplying the country with the necessary scientific and technical personnel, was a pre-requisite to achieve and sustain rapid development. The GoC, therefore, appointed a Commission of Inquiry on Technical Education. As engineering education at professional level was provided exclusively by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ceylon at that time, the Commission in its report of 1963 recommended the expansion of facilities for professional engineering education at Katubedda.

The Ceylon College of Technology (CCT) was thus established at Katubedda in 1966 which offered a practically oriented engineering diploma (Diploma in Technology, abbreviated to DipTech) equivalent to a degree which was developed and offered with the technical assistance of UNESCO. The CCT commenced with specialisations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, initially utilising the physical facilities available at the IPT. The IPT continued in the same premises with its full-time courses, but was amalgamated with the CCT in 1967 and the JTO course was restructured and named as the Technician's course.

At the commencement of the third year of the DipTech programme, the Electrical Engineering stream was bifurcated to Electrical Engineering and Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering specialisations. The Department of Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering was thus formally established in 1969.

Beginnings as a University

The CCT at Katubedda first earned University status, as the Katubedda Campus of the single University of Ceylon, on 15th February 1972. The Department of Architecture, then at Colombo, was transferred to Katubedda in the formation of this new Campus. The Katubedda Campus thus began with one faculty, that of Engineering and Architecture. The first President of the Campus was Dr.L.H.Sumanadasa who steered the progress of the Institution, was in fact the Principal of the IPT before it became the Katubedda Campus. When Ceylon became a Republic on 22nd May 1972, the corporate name of the single University was changed to the University of Sri Lanka. Consequently, the DipTech programme was upgraded to the BSc Engineering degree and all students from the first intake of DipTech became eligible for the degree. Further, the name of the Technicians course was changed to the National Diploma in Technology.

Developments at the Katubedda Campus

With the gaining of University status, the technical education programmes conducted at Katubedda Campus were expanded. The Department of Town & Country Planning was established within the Faculty of Engineering & Architecture in 1973. To house the new equipment obtained with the UNESCO aid and to cater to the growing needs of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, a new building was built, which is still the largest building at the University, currently designated as Sumanada Building to honour Dr. L.H. Sumanadasa’s pioneering contribution to education at Katubedda.

Further, in 1974, with the formation of a link-programme between the UoM and the University of Leeds in the UK, the School of Applied Science was instituted. Under this school, the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Material Science and Mining & Minerals Engineering were established. In 1975, a Computer Centre with a modest computer IBM 1130 was established within the Department of Electrical Engineering to serve the entire University. Furthermore, with the developments in Engineering Education at Katubedda, the first post-graduate programme commenced in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1976.


Independent University Status

Further changes in the corporate structure and composition of tertiary education were effected by the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978. Under the provisions of Section 139(1) of this Act, the Katubedda Campus of the University of Sri Lanka acquired the status of an independent University with its present corporate name 'The University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka', with three Faculties of study, namely the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Architecture and the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences.


Consolidation of Programmes and Developments

In 1981, the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences was amalgamated with the Faculty of Engineering, and consequently the name of the Department of Materials Science was changed to the Department of Materials Engineering.

As all the courses of study at Moratuwa were offered in the English medium, the University established a Department of Languages and Social Studies in 1977 to assist students enhance their language skills. After a few structural changes, a separate unit, namely the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) was set up in December 1983 to cater for this need.

In 1983, the Department of Building Economics was added to the Faculty of Architecture and the Undergraduate programme leading to BSc in Quantity Surveying (Honours) degree commenced in 1985. In the same year, the Department of Civil Engineering was shifted to its own building complex at a site bordering the North-Eastern boundary of the University, fringed by the Bolgoda Lake.

Department of Textile Technology came into being as a fully fledged Department in 1985, with the launch of the BSc Engineering Degree Programme and the Department was shifted to its own fully equipped building in 1988. The Department of Computer Science & Engineering was established in 1985 in the Faculty of Engineering incorporating the Computer Centre already existed, and the first batch of students to follow the BSc Engineering Honours degree in Computer Science and Engineering was enrolled in 1986.

In the 1990s, student accommodation and hostel facilities received the attention of the administration. New hostels were constructed and extensions to existing ones were done during the period 1991-1995. A girls’ hostel was instituted in 1991. The university library which was scattered in different buildings with difficulties to cater to the increased intake of students was relocated in its spacious new building with enhanced facilities in 1995.

With further development, the Department of Management of Technology was established in 1998 in the Faculty of Engineering in response to a national need for the discipline of technology management. In 1998, the name of the Chemical Engineering Department was changed to Department of Chemical and Process Engineering to reflect the broader area of application of the field.

With the implementation of the Science and Technology Personnel Development Project funded by the Asian Development Bank in October 1998, all departments in the Faculty of Engineering commenced or recommenced Masters degree programmes by instruction and by research. The first PhD from the Faculty of Engineering was completed in May 1999. These developments in research could be considered as a major turning point for Moratuwa University to be considered as a ‘fully-fledged’ University.

In order to keep abreast with the development of engineering education, the course curriculum of the Faculty of Engineering was revised with industry consultation and converted to semester system from sessional examination system. The Engineering II stream (which consisted of a separate entry to Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering and Mining & Mineral Engineering) was eliminated and students were instead taken to the University under the common “Engineering” category.

Arising of a perceived need to separate technical education at lower than degree level from the main university, the Institute of Technology University of Moratuwa (ITUM) was established with effect from 10th March 2000 to conduct the National Diploma in Technology course separately from the Faculty of Engineering, with the Ordinance for the same having been gazetted in August 2000.

The Career Guidance Unit (CGU) of UoM was established in year 2000 exclusively to provide career guidance services to the students. The Career Guidance Unit now conducts a series of professional and personality development projects every year in collaboration with the University administration, academic departments and the Rotaract Club with the sole intention of improving the soft skills and employability of the students passing out from the University.
In July 2000, the name of the Department of Mining and Mineral Engineering was changed to the Department of Earth Resources Engineering to reflect the changes in their scope. During the same time the ‘Engineering Design Centre’ was set up in the Faculty of Engineering to complement design related education of undergraduates and to provide outreach services to the industry by undertaking projects involving engineering design, design modification, design & manufactures with emphasis on Electronics.

With the rapid expansion of Information Technology Industry, the country strongly felt the need to increase the production of qualified IT professionals by the higher educational institutions. The Faculty of Information Technology, the first ever faculty of this kind in the state university system, was thus established in June 2001 as the third faculty in the UoM with its first intake of 50 students in January 2002.

In 2001, Bachelor of Design was launched by the Department of Architecture while in November 2001, the Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design and Product Development course, conducted by the Department of Textile and Clothing Technology, was launched with technical assistance from the London College of Fashion of the University for the ARTs, London, to cater for a national need to create a value added apparel industry. The name of the Department of Textile Technology was subsequently changed to Textile and Clothing Technology to emphasise the equal importance given to clothing studies at the UoM.

The Department of Management of Technology moved to its new building in December 2001. The first MBA programme of the UoM, in the specialisation of Management of Technology, was inaugurated in November 2001. The next MBA in Information Technology commenced in November 2002 followed by MBA in Infrastructure in 2003 and MBA in Project Management in 2004. In April 2003, the Department of Electronic & Telecommunications Engineering moved to its new modern building from the earlier location in the Sumanadasa building.

The Department of Town & Country Planning which had been conducting only postgraduate studies in Town & Country Planning until year 2003 commenced its Honours Degree course in BSc in Town & Country Planning in 2003. All the undergraduate degree programs at the Faculty of Architecture are accredited by the local professional bodies as well as by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), of the UK.

The latest addition to the Faculty of Engineering was the Department of Transport & Logistics Management in September 2005 as a national need with strong support from the Transport and Logistics industry. The Department now offers BSc in Transport & Logistics Management degree with an annual intake of 50 students.

The Department of Building Economics launched its second undergraduate programme in September 2005 leading to BSc in Facilities Management degree. Both the undergraduate degree programmes conducted by the Department of Building Economics leading to BSc in Quantity Surveying and BSc in Facilities Management are accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, UK.

In June 2009 the name of the Department of Materials Engineering was changed to Department of Materials Science and Engineering to reflect the importance of science in materials engineering. With further increase in student intake the University physical facilities were enhanced and a new Chemical Engineering building was opened in 2009, and a new Mechanical Engineering building was opened in April 2010.

The Faculty of Information Technology launched its second undergraduate programme in June 2010 leading to BSc in Information Technology and Management degree.


Recent Achievements and Current Status of the University of Moratuwa

The UoM is undisputedly the best University in Sri Lanka today. A global ranking of Universities in 2009 has ranked the UoM as the best University in Sri Lanka and the eleventh best University in the South Asian region. The short term mission of the UoM is to “produce world class graduates in technological fields – who can gain admission easily to any postgraduate program of a reputed world class University and perform as well as any graduate from an internationally reputed world class University - in an environment that provides a rewarding experience for our students and staff, and thereby become nationally relevant and internationally recognised”. Hence, the goal of the UoM is to produce academically sound, self confident, flexible, highly employable internationally recognized quality graduates who can “hit the ground running” from day one, and to train our students to become “job creators” and not necessarily “job seekers” when they graduate.

  • Team “Insight” a team of third year undergraduates from the Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, won the 1st Runner up position & the Best Student Team at YES Bank DATATHON which was held on December 22nd - 23rd , in Bangalore. This was India’s first bank led Datathon aimed at augmenting YES BANK’s embedded data analytics & ML units to drive rapid prototyping of AI/ML based products, optimizing digital product suite, and enhancing product/service design and delivery, in an accelerated 100-day period.
  • The final-year project of two undergraduets of Department of Textile and Clothing Technology 
  •  titled “Development of a Stretchable Conductive Yarn for Electronic Textiles” won the Manamperi Award, for the best engineering final year undergraduate group project carried out at a Faculty of Engineering in a Sri Lankan university in the year 2017, awarded by the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS). 
  • Undergraduates of Department of Textile and Clothing Technology won LS Wanigathunga Gold Medal 2017 and Textile Institute Sri Lanka Section Gold Medal 2017  at the awards ceremony held by Textile Institute Sri Lanka Section. The Award ceremony was held in parallel  to their AGM to  recognize and celebrate the work of students who have studied the latest developments in their respective fields.
  • Unmanned aerial Vehicle Research Team of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering has successfully matured copter-plane hybrid drone technology for the first time in Sri Lanka
  • Six groups of Level 3 undergraduates of the Faculty of Information Technology presented research papers at the 8th International Conference on Advances in Computing, Electronics and Communication (ACEC’19) organized by Institute of Research Engineers and Doctors at Hotel G Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 12th and 13th January 2019.
  • A group undergraduates of Batch ‘15 of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering have participated in Microsoft Imagine Cup 2019 and got selected for the regional finals. They are the only team from Sri Lanka who was able to qualify for the regional finals and was one of the 12 teams which were selected for finals.
  • A group of undergraduates of the Department of Integrated Design (DID), Faculty of Architecture won the pavilion design competition of Creative Youth Program (CYP), Expo2020 Dubai. Upon winning the competition, the team got the opportunity to be involved in the execution phase of Sri Lanka Pavilion for Expo-2020 in Dubai until year 2020. This brought plenty of benefits to the country, including free of duty in fit-cost-construction of Sri Lankan Pavilion inclusive of all freight.
  • K Gajaman, Vijitha Disaratna, P Ganeshu and NF Sabrina from Department of Building Economics won the Best Track paper Award at the 9th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM) Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand for their research paper titled “Conflict Avoidance in Construction Stage through Proper Practice in Pre Contract Stage”.
  • A second year undergraduate of Department of Building Economics has become a runners-up in UMISF inter-university badminton tournament held from 8th-18th March 2019 at University of Moratuwa.
  • A second year undergraduate of Department of Building Economics and member of University of Moratuwa Carrom team won the 1st runners up place in the international Universities carrom championship programme held on 6th & 7th of April at the Kandy regional Centre of the Open University of Sri Lanka.
  • A level three student of Department of Integrated Design won the bronze medal for Sparring (63-68 kg weight category) at the Colombo district Taekwondo selection rounds, organized by Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation, in parallel to Sri Lanka National Taekwondo Festival. 
  • Team Glory, of the Faculty of Information Technology, was one of the finalists among 6 teams in the National Round of the RB Global Challenge conducted by Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, held on 2nd November 2018. RB Global Challenge is a global business competition that aims to solve social issues related to health and hygiene with realistic business ideas. 
  • A Level 4 undergraduate of the Faculty of Information Technology presented a paper titled “Wireless Communication Technologies in Internet of Things: A Critical Evaluation “ at the International Conference on Intelligent & Innovative Computing Applications (ICONIC-2018)
  • A research paper titled “Enhancing the Wi-Fi Direct Protocol for Vehicular Adhoc Networks” was presented at the 21st IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC) from 4th to 7th of November 2018, by a postgraduate research student of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering.
  • A paper titled “Internet of Things for Epidemic Detection: A Critical Review “ was presented at The 3rd International Conference on Computer, Communication and Computational Sciences (IC4S2018) which was held at Mandarin Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand by a Level 4 undergraduate of the Faculty of Information Technology.
  • A technical paper titled “Techno-economic Feasibility Assessment of Implementation of Solar Tracking for Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Plants in Sri Lanka” was presented at the IEEE GTD Asia 2019 in Bangkok by undergraduate students of Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • A third year student in Media and Communication Design of the Department of Integrated Design, Faculty of Architecture has been selected as the student representative of Sri Lanka for the Roger Hatchuel Academy of the Cannes Lions festival for creativity 2019.