Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is the largest Faculty of the Open University of Sri Lanka catering to over 10,000 students in the following programmes ranging from Foundation level to Master’s degree level under the four departments of the Faculty. The Faculty is made up of four Academic Departments including Language Studies, Legal Studies,  Social Studies and English Language Teaching (DELT)


The Faculty is dedicated to employing the Open Distance Learning mode to provide quality educational opportunities for adult learners for professional and personal advancement and excellence in scholarship and researching in contemporary disciplines in Humanities and Social Science

General Information

The Role of the Open University of Sri Lanka in the Nation’s System of Education

The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) which was established in 1980 completed  30 years of its  services to the nation as a leading provider of Open and Distance Learning in higher education. It is a national university created under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and also under the provisions of the Open University of Sri Lanka Ordinance No. 1 of 1990.

In this endeavour the university focuses on the need for higher education of the adult groups as well as the young school leavers who have missed the opportunity of entering the conventional universities. Thus we offer a variety of educational programmes ranging from foundation level courses to higher level research degrees to cater to the needs of our clientele. Currently the Faculty has a student population of over 10,000 enrolled in the programmes offered by the four departments of the Faculty. As a leader in open and distance learning, the OUSL has set the trend by integrating boundaryless pedagogical approaches to learning giving opportunity for the learner to accomplish his/her goals of higher education at a pace that meets individual requirements. During the 30 years of its history the university has been able to develop a wide mix of educational aids consisting of audio-visual aids, printed study materials and interactive learning aids that can be accessed by the learners.

Nature of the Programmes Offered by the Faculty of Humanaties & Social Sciences

The academic programmes of the OUSL are designed primarily for adult students who are employed as well as non-employed The Faculty offers a diverse range of programmes which enable students to enter a programme in keeping with their present educational qualifications. Students who already possess conventional qualifications can gain direct entry to Certificate, Diploma, Degree and Postgraduate Degree Programmes. The Faculty also offers Foundation Programmes for Students who do not possess conventional qualifications. Successful completion of the Foundation Programmes entitle the students to enter higher level study programmes.

Status Accorded to OUSL Qualifications

By Public Administration Circular No 16/92 of 13th March 1992, the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs directed all government institutions to confer status to Open University qualifications on par with other National University qualifications.


The Open University was formed by amalgamating the two institutions, Sri Lanka Institute of Distance Education (SLIDE) and the External Services Agency ( ESA) which offered degree courses in various subjects.

The Open University was officially opened on the 1st of August 1980 by the late Honorable President, J.R. Jayawardena.

At that time it was housed in the curriculum center at Buller’s Road, Colombo 07 and later came into residence at Nawala in a temporary building. The first Vice Chancellor was Prof. P.D. Gunatilake.

The Open University of Sri Lanka had initially only two Boards of Study. The Board of Study for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Board of Study for Management, Science and Technology.

Board of Study had academic advisory committees which may also include persons other than members of the Board. The branches of the learning in the Board of Study for Humanities and Social Sciences were:

Humanities and Social Sciences
Educational Studies

The branches of the learning in the Board of Study for Management, Science and Technology were:

  • Management Studies and Commerce
  • Pure Science and Mathematics; and
  • Applied Science and Technology

In 1990, HSS was recognized as one faculty, under the Open University and it had these departments:

  • Education
  • Legal Studies
  • Language Studies
  • Management Studies
  • Social Studies

There were few number of staff members at the beginning of the faculty of HSS.

Changes of Deans from the start of Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Prof. (Mrs.) Kotalawala
  • Prof(Mrs).Goonesekera
  • Prof (Mrs.) R. Raheem
  • Prof. D.A. Kotalawele
  • Prof. (Mrs.) Goonawardena
  • Prof. Upali Vidanapathirana
  • Prof. S. Ranasinghe
  • Dr. K.B.A. Silva
  • Dr. B.M.P. Mendis
  • Prof. Camena Guneratne
  • Dr. M. Mendis
  • Dr. N.S. Abyesinghe
  • Dr. S.N. Morais
  • Prof. Anton Piyarathne – (At Present)

Department of Education was separated out as one Faculty from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on February 1st 2003.

Now the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty has the largest number of students over 10,000 enrolled into the different study programmes of the four departments.

Forthcoming Programmes

News Line

⚫ Important message regarding the LLB Degree Programme registration (2023/24 academic year)   ⚫ Important message regarding the BA in English & ELT entrance exam 2024   ⚫ Application accepting period for Diploma in Tourism and Hotel Operations 2024/25 has been extended till 24 June 2024   ⚫ Deadline for the submission of application for Diploma in English Literature is 20th June 2024.   ⚫ New website Launched for Sri Lanka Journal of Legal Studies (SLJLS).
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