The Department of Mathematics was established as a fully-fledged department of the Institute of Practical Technology (IPT), which was founded in 1960. Initially the main function of the Department was to provide the necessary background for the technical personnel of sub-professional grades, who were following various full-time and part-time courses offered by the Institute.

As a result of the upgrading of specialized education and training in engineering studies, the idea of the Ceylon College of Technology (CCT) was conceived by the Ministry of Education. Hence in 1966, the CCT was established at Katubedda with a small number of local and foreign staff, under a UNESCO project. The mathematics support was given by the combined staff of the amalgamated CCT and IPT. After the amalgamation, the Institute was named the Ceylon College of Technology. At that time Mr. P. Weerasinghe was the Head of Department. Professor Funk and subsequently Prof. V. N. Rudoitchitch, expatriate UNESCO staff, assisted in conducting the courses in mathematics.

The CCT obtained university status in 1972, after which the Mathematics Department became a service department of the University. Dr. P. D. Gunatilake was then the Head of Department. The Department offers mathematics support to the Faculty of Engineering in all the fields, by conducting lectures and tutorials and giving project guidance. In addition, it also serves the Faculty of Architecture.

From the early days of the University, pioneering contributions to the Department have been made by Prof. G. T. F. de Silva, Miss S. Kanthasamy and Mr. S.C. Wickramasinghe. Mr. S.C. Wickramasinghe coordinated the departmental inputs to the National Diploma in Technology (NDT) course for many years after reverting back to the Department, subsequent to a ten years spell in the Technical Teacher and Instructor Training Institute of this University.

In addition to teaching responsibilities within the University, the staff members also provide assistance to other institutions such as the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, University of Colombo and the Sir John Kotelawala Defense University, the capacities of consultants and visiting lecturers. Prof. P.D. Gunatilake was chief examiner for the GCE (Advanced Level) for many years.

In the past the department was having two former Vice-Chancellors among its staff, namely Prof. P.D. Gunatilake and Prof. G.T.F. de Silva. Both of them were our own Vice-Chancellors. In addition, Prof. Gunathilake served as the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka from 1980 to 1985.

Former Heads of the Department 

  Name  Duration 
From To 
1 Prof. P.D. Gunathilake 1972 1978
2 Prof. P. Weerasinghe 1978 1981
3 Prof. G.T.S. De Silva 1981 1988
4 Dr. T.D.H.K. Fernando 1988 1994
5 Prof. P.D. Gunathilake 1994 1996
6 Dr. M. Indralingam 1996 2003
7 Dr. M.Z.M. Malhardeen 2003 2009
8 Mr. T.M.J.A. Cooray 2009 2010
9 Dr. M.Z.M. Malhardeen 2010 2012
10 Prof. T.S.G. Peiris  2012 2018
11 Mr. U.A. Senevirathne 2018 2021
12 Mr. A. R. Dissanayake 2021 To Date