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Teaching statistics at the university dates back to 1968. Until 1998, statistics was offered by the Department of Mathematics. Later, the Department of Statistics and Computer Science was established in 1998. The present Department of Statistics is formed early 2014. The department offers Statistics as a subject for the General Degree Program as well as the Special Degree Program in Statistics. In addition, the department conducts a Postgraduate Diploma/M.Sc. Program in Applied Statistics. This is an evolution of the first ever self-financed Postgraduate Program in Sri Lanka, the Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics, in 1968.
Currently, about 400 undergraduates in the four years are studying statistics as a subject. In addition to the essential theoretical knowledge, the statistics undergraduates are given ample opportunity to collect and analyze data, and prepare statistical reports related to real world problems.
They are also given sufficient exposure to statistical software in analyzing data. Diversified learning activities and assessment methods such as individual and group assignments, presentations, seminars, individual and group projects are used to encourage active deep learning. This diversification helps to improve soft skills such as communication skills and team work. Independent learning is encouraged at all levels. Candidates for the Special Degree in Statistics are selected at the beginning of the third year, based on the performance in the first two years. Statistics Special Degree students are required to undertake a comprehensive guided project.
In addition, they are exposed to the world of work by means of a six-months, full time industrial training. They also gain a vital experience in solving real world problems through the Statistical Consultancy Unit of the department which offers its services to both on campus and off campus researchers.
The Department is dedicated in providing a learning environment that produce statisticians who are capable of applying their knowledge to solve practical problems and there by contribute to the national development.
Students studying statistics organize various events including quizzes and competitions, guest speeches, open days with employer-student interaction and walk-in interviews for jobs, through the statistic society.