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.
Over the years, the Department has been headed by Prof. P.D. Gunatilake (from 1972 to 1977 and 1994 to 1995), Prof. P. Weerasinghe (from 1978 to 1980), Mr. G.T.F. de Silva (from 1981 to 1987), Dr. T.D.H.K. Fernando (from 1988 to 1993), Dr. M. Indralingam (from 1996 to 2002), Dr. M.Z.M. Malhardeen (from 2003 to 2008) and Mr. T.M.J.A.Cooray (from 2009 to date).
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 year 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. The Department is proud of having two former Vice-Chancellors among its staff, namely Prof. P.D. Gunatilake, who was Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka from 1980 to 1985 and Prof. G.T.F. de Silva, our own Vice-Chancellor from 1990 to 1996.
Professor Alan Jefferey, Head, Department of Engineering Mathematics, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K. was a visitor to the Department during May 1985. He has been functioning as an external examiner for the final year degree examination in mathematics for many years. Mr. Brian Trustrum and Dr.(Mrs.) Kathleen Trustrum of the University of Sussex, U.K., who spent their sabbatical leave at the University of Moratuwa in 1987, paid another visit to the Department in July 1990 and also conducted seminars for the benefit of staff and students.
The course contents of the mathematics courses offered by the Department have been continuously upgraded, taking into consideration the needs of the various departments offering technical subjects. This led to formation of the syllabus which covers the following general areas (within mathematics) such as Analysis, Mathematical Methods, Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, Applied Statistics, Linear Algebra, Operational Research and Computing.
The detailed course contents of these areas have been designed with the specific aim of achieving the following:
(i)Enabling students to acquire knowledge, skills
and attitudes in relation to mathematics;
(ii) Giving students experience of mathematical
activity and investigation, to develop resourcefulness in solving problems for which ready-made methods are not available.
(iii) Developing student understanding of mathematical reasoning, in order to relate it to other disciplines and appreciate its value through applications.
The research interests of the Department have always been application oriented. At present the Department conducts two Master’s degree programmes in Operational Research and Financial Mathematics.
Other members of staff who served the Department in recent years are
Academic Staff
Mr. M.M. Gunasekera                  1964 to 1989
Prof. P. Weerasinghe                   1966 to 1986
Prof. P.D. Gunatilake                   1972 to 1999 ( Emeritus Professor 2002 to date)
Prof. G.T.F. de Silva                      1966 to 2005                               
Miss S. Kanthasamy                     1966 to 2006
Dr. M. Indralingam                      1978 to 2003
Ms. DKP Kariyawasam               1979 to 1984
Dr. M.S. Peris                                 1980 to 1989
Mr. Abeyrathna                            1981 to 1985
Mrs. C.P.N. Atygalle                     1981 to 2000
Mr. S.C.Wickramasinghe           1983 to 2003
Dr. W.P. Abeysinghe                   1984 to 1987 and 1995 to 1996
Mr. T.M.J.A. Cooray                     1984 to date
Mrs. P.S. Yatapana                       1985 to 2000
Mrs. H.V.S. Silva                            1986 to date
Dr. T.D.H.K. Fernando                1987 to 1994
Mr. N.D.S. Narangoda                 1993 to date
Dr. M.Z.M. Malhardeen              1993 to date
Mr. U.A Senevirathna                 1999 to date
Dr. Lokupitiya                               1999 to 2003
Mr. U. C. Jayathilaka                    2006 to date
Mrs. S Ahmaed                              2007 to date
Dr. T.S.G Peiris                              2008 to date
Mrs D.R.T Jayasundara             2008 to date
Mr R.A Disanayaka                     2009 to date
Non Academic Staff
Ms. J Senevirathna                      1976 to 1980
Mrs. S. J Weerasuriya                1976 to 1980
Mr. P. A. D. Albert                       1979 to 2000
Mr. T. L. Peiris                              1979 to 1984
Mrs. I. D. Asoka Piyaseeli         1980 to Date
Mr. K Somarathna                       1989 to Date
Mrs. D. J. Perera                           1995 to 2007       
Mr. M. J. L. Cooray                       2000 to 2005       
Mr. U. L. B. L Perera                    2007 to 2009
Miss. D. K. Wijayawickrama    2009 to date