Our Alma Mater with 150 years of excellence, instilling ‘Competence, Compassion and Care’ in every student that walks through its doors
Faculty of medicine, university of colombo
1870 - 2021
The Faculty of Medicine is the second oldest medical school in South Asia and the forerunner of university education in our country. The Colombo Medical School was opened in 1870 by the then Governor Sir Hercule Robinson. Dr James Loos was its first principal. Dr. E.L.Koch was the second principal in whose memory the Koch Memorial Clock Tower, which still stands, was built in 1881.
The beginnings of the medical school were modest. It was situated in the General Hospital Colombo, and had three teachers and 25 students. It offered a course of three years duration until in 1873 the course was extended to four years. Its progress was rapid. In 1880 the medical school was raised to the status of a college (renamed Ceylon Medical College) and in 1884 the course was extended to 5 years.
In 1875 Mudaliyar Samson Rajapakse gifted three and a half acres of land on which the present Faculty is located. Sir Charles Henry de Soysa, MudaliyarSusew de Soysa, MuhandiramA.Simon Fernando Wijegooneratne and MudaliyarVimalaGunawardana donated the buildings. These buildings are no more and the Anatomy block, built in 1913, is the oldest building now. In 1887, the Diploma of Licentiate of Medicine and Surgery (LMS) granted by the College became registerble with the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom.
The Ceylon Medical College and the Ceylon University College, which had been established in 1921, formed the nucleus of the University of Ceylon, which came into being in 1942. The status of the Ceylon Medical College was elevated to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ceylon and the diploma of L.M.S. was replaced by the degree of MBBS. Until it became the Faculty of Medicine, the Medical College was administered by the Civil Medical Department and its successor the Department of Medical and Sanitary Services. Dr. W.R. Kynsey served as Principal Civil Medical Officer (PCMO) between 1875 and 1897 and contributed much towards the college in its early years. Kynsey Road, which runs between the National Hospital and the Faculty, is named after him.
In 1942 the Faculty of Medicine had six Departments – Physiology, Anatomy, Pathology, Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Surgery. Departments of Public Health (Community Medicine) and Forensic Medicine were added in 1949 and 1951 respectively. At present there are 17 Departments. The Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacology branched off from the Department of Physiology, Parasitology and Microbiology from the Department of Pathology, and pediatrics and Psychological Medicine from the Department of Medicine. In 2016, the Departments of Medical Education and Medical Humanities added.
With the initiation of the B.Sc. Physiotherapy programme the Allied Health Sciences Unit was established in 2006, and the Department of Allied Health sciences came into being in 2016. From 25 students in 1870, the student number increased to about 1500 at present. The staff strength too has increased considerably.
In keeping pace with the ever widening horizons of medical knowledge and possibilities, faculty is spearheading improvements to medical education.
The Faculty at present provides for the education and training of undergraduates in allied health sciences. The course in Pharmacology is a well-established one at the faculty while that for Physiotherapy is now 14 years old. In addition courses ranging from medico-legal sciences to those in medical education are regularly conducted. There is also a strong ethics review committee for processing of research projects and training of staff in ethical practices. These have provided for an innovative and vibrant academic environment within the faculty.
In the future the faculty is gearing itself for the rapid changes in the health and medical educational needs of the country. It has taken the steps towards using advanced technologies by forward thinking. In doing so it is our intention to establish and strengthen Inter departmental, inter faculty, inter – university and international links.
The Faculty has close links with several hospitals for teaching, training, clinical services and research. These include;