Postgraduate Programmes

The Department offers courses leading to M.A. and M.Phil Degrees and provides opportunities to pursue their research interests in the Ph. D. Degree programs. Annual intake of postgraduate students is in the range of 60-70.
The students should have at least a second class honors pass in their first degree or higher qualifications to register for a M.A. or M. Phil. Program. Those who do not possess these qualifications should obtain the necessary qualifications by completing post graduate diploma courses and sit for the examination.



Post Graduate Diploma students have to follow five courses. The courses; GGY 501, GGY 502 and GGY 505 are compulsory. In addition they must select two optional courses. The evaluation of each course consists of a final examination (carry 60% of the marks) and two assignments (carry 40% of the marks) written on individual selected, pertinent topics.

To pass, students have to earn at least 50% (30 marks) in the final examination and 50% (20 marks) in the assignments in each course. Lectures in the Diploma programme are conducted in English and the total number of teaching hours is 35.An additional 10 hours of discussion are allowed in Sinhala / Tamil.


GGY 501: Research Methodology

The objective of this course is to provide an overview of research methods and techniques, to introduce the characteristics of research problems and commonly adopted methodologies, and to provide experience with specific techniques. It also provides the foundation for development of intellectual depth and adaptiveness in the realm of research. This course intends to provide an introduction to the following;

Research methodologies- scientific versus non-scientific methods; r esearch ethics; source of data-socio-economic data, demographic and environmental data, qualitative data; narratives, interviews and case studies; sampling, methods of sampling (random, systematic, stratified), spatial versus non-spatial sampling; field methods, questionnaires and structured Interviews; analysis of data, summarizing data, identifying patterns, graphics , simple descriptive statistics & application of simple statistical methods; research reporting-presentation, reports, academic papers, thesis, etc.


GGY 502: Sri Lanka Geographical Themes

The course aims at introducing the students to current research frontiers in Geography in relation to Sri Lanka through familiarization with geographical themes. It also provides some guidance in selecting areas of research.

Contemporary themes related to both environmental and socio - economic aspects of Sri Lanka are introduced in this course. These include issues related to natural hazards such as landslides in the hill country, floods in the wet zone and droughts in dry and intermediate zones; urban and industrial pollution; ground water development; tropical cyclones and their impacts; coast conservation; forest and wild life conservation; geography of poverty; land policy and land use planning; industrialization and its spatial trends; urban expansion; Mahaweli Development; and administrative decentralization and devolution of power.


GGY 503: Resource Management and Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is important as it provides a holistic framework for resource management, integrating long-term resource management perspectives into policies, programmes and projects. This course introduces principles, procedures and methodologies focusing on global, regional and national initiatives in resource management and strategic planning.

This course is organized into five sections; 1) Concepts and issues related to resource management; 2) Principles and policy initiatives; 3) Stakeholders in resource management and key areas of priority concern -forests, energy and water resources; 4) Importance of strategic planning, planning process and procedures; and resource management and millennium development goals.


GGY 504: Development Geography

The objective of this course is to examine the concept of development and theoretical debates in development geography in trying to understand the geography of development worldwide and within Sri Lanka. This course will discuss major development issues in developing countries, including the geographies of unevenness and the ways in which developmental problems are addressed by different development agencies and actors. The course also intends to critically examine the history of development thinking and nature of development policies and projects in Sri Lanka.

The course is organized along following topics; concepts and definitions of development; theories of development: theories of modernization, theories of political economy, alternative theories of development; evolution of the world economy and the contemporary world economy; current development issued and the role of international development agencies and NGOs; and h istorical evolution of the concept of development in Sri Lanka, nature of development planning polices and projects in post-independent Sri Lanka, the liberal economy of the post 1977 period.


GGY 505: Recent Trends in Geographic Thought

Objectives: The objective of this course is to familiarize the students with the nature of the scope and content and the contemporary theoretical developments in the discipline. Thus, the course will primarily focus on three aspects, a) its development as an academic discipline, b) its major theoretical approaches and c) its new frontiers and debates.

Content : The first section of the course will examine the nature of the scope and content of the discipline of geography by exploring what is geography and its major definitions, how it evolved as a formal discipline, subdivisions of geography and rational for it, multi-disciplinary nature of geography and its relevance as a discipline. The second section will focus primarily on various theoretical traditions and approaches developed over the years and which have been dominant within geographical research. This section will examine the classical foundations of geography, environmental determinism, regional and systematic approaches, the debate over a scientific method and especially the ‘quantitative revolution' in the 1960s, spatial analytic tradition, radical approach with special attention to the Marxist tradition and the humanistic approach. The third section will focus on new frontiers and debates. As new debates, the course will examine the place debate, the debate over local and global scale, post-modern geography. New frontiers of both human and physical geography will be discussed with attention to new sub-disciplines such as feminist geography, post-colonial geography, and the environmental debate highlighting sustainable development and expanding use of geographic information systems.



MA/M.Phil students have to follow six courses. The course GGY 601 is compulsory for MA/M.Phil students. In addition they must select five optional courses from a range of diverse topics relevant to their interest. The evaluation of each course consists of a final examination (carry 60% of the marks) and two assignments (carry 40% of the marks) written on individual selected, pertinent topics. Students have to earn at least 30 marks in the final examination and 20marks in the assignments in each course to pass the examination. Lecture in the MA/M.Phil are conducted in English.


GGY 601: Research Techniques in Geography

The goal of the course is to provide an understanding of the quantitative tools and qualitative methods needed to undertake research in Geography. This course will introduce students to qualitative and quantitative techniques in the following areas: formulation of research questions; collection of qualitative information and quantitative data; collection and evaluation of data; identification of patterns; evaluation and explanation of relationships, hypothesis testing and comparison of data sets; and effective presentation of results, conclusions, and recommendations for further research.

GGY 602: Gender in Development Planning

The primary objective of this course is to introduce gender planning as an approach and tool to eradicate gender related spatial and social disparities and promote gender inclusive planning in development. It also intends to develop analytical skills to address the social and economic inequalities through planning interventions. This course is designed to introduce empirical and theoretical scholarship that discusses gender relations.

The students will be guided to develop skills in gender analysis and planning. The course focuses on the following themes: principles and procedures of gender planning; gender planning approaches and strategies; methods of collecting gender disaggregated data and analysis; gender integrated national, regional and project planning; gender indicators for measuring development effectiveness; and Gender Impact Assessment of development policies, programs and projects.


GGY 603: Tropical Agro forestry Systems

This course is intended to introduce students to practical aspects related to the development of agro-forestry land use systems in the tropical region. It is designed to enhance students' understanding on tropical agro-forestry systems, patterns of spatial distribution and social, economic and environmental importance of agro-forestry as a land use system in the tropics.

The course content includes; the concept of agro-forestry and classification; agro-forestry in the livelihood (food and energy security) of tropical farmers; social, economic and environmental benefits of agro-forestry; agro-forestry practices and technological interventions; participatory approach to agro-forestry development; policies and programmes related to agro-forestry and criteria and indicators for measuring sustainability of agro-forestry.


GGY 604: Geography and Nationalism

The objective of this course is to examine the relationship between space and nationalist politics. The course intends to provide a general understanding of the nationalist politics in different parts of the world. The course will cover the following topics: concepts of nationalism concepts of ethnicity, nation, nationalism, ethno-nationalism, concepts of states, nation- states, theories of nationalism, ethno-nationalist politics around the world- in United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, India and Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. Ethno-nationalist problem in Sri Lanka, historical evolutions of the ethno-nationalist problem-pre-separatist era, post separatist era politics, the controversy over the concept of "Tamil Homeland", geopolitical dimensions of the ethno-nationalist problem; the Muslims in the ethno-nationalist crises and attempts towards solutions in Sri Lanka.


GGY 605: Medical Geography

The objective of the course is to provide an understanding on health issues from the perspective of medical geography. The emphasis will be on the application of geographical concepts, concerns, and techniques to a variety of health and disease scenarios, ranging from international to local.

The course will cover the following topics organized in two parts:

Part 1: Introduction to Medical Geography and Environmental health, concepts and definitions of Medical Geography, human ecology of disease, environment and ill health, the pollution syndrome, lifestyle related diseases, landscape epidemiology, biometeorology and health, potential effects of global warming on health, vector-borne diseases that are attributable to climate change, emerging Communicable Diseases, Cholera epidemic, Dysentery, Hemorrhagic Fevers, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, Yellow Fever and Zoon tic Diseases.

Part 2: Techniques in Medical Geography and Health care systems, data, measures, and statistics, spatial Analysis and Geographic Visualization, Data, measures and methodologies, including disease diffusion, disease mapping (GIS), developmental change and human health, health care systems, accessibility and utilization of services.


GGY 606: GIS and Remote Sensing

The objective of this course is to i ntroduce the students to advanced concepts of Geographical Information Systems and to give practical training in the use of GIS systems for Geographical research.

The following topics will be covered within this course. Historical development of computerization or cartographic procedures; development of GIS definitions of terms; Spatial data; Topography: the map as a data source; census and other attribute data types; data accuracy and precision, map coordinate systems; geo referencing; map projections, local coordinate systems, coordinate transformation, translation, rotation, scaling; advanced data structures: files, relational databases; data management: spatial data analysis; classification, geometric operations; data conversion, measurement, statistical analysis, modeling computing environment; digital representation of spatial data and computer hardware: PCS, workstations, data storage media, methods of data capture, hard copy devices, image displays.


GGY 607: GIS and Society

The objective of this course is to make the students aware of the applications and implications of GIS on Society and environment.

This course will guide how to use GIS, how digital maps can enhance visualization, modeling, and analysis of spatial data in many disciplines, and how it can affect individuals and society. This course examines the interrelationships between GIS and the social, cultural, economic, legal, political, spatial, and institutional structures of society. Three general perspectives will be explored in this course: 1) GIS history, GIS and modeling, data capture, data analysis, representational issues on Society and environment (strengths and constraints); 2) The institutional perspective focuses on GIS implementation processes and benefit/cost measures in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. Also this, perspective focuses on determining how spatial information influences land and policy decisions; 3). The critical social theory perspective focuses on critical analysis of the effects of GIS technologies on individuals and groups, including issues of representation, differential access to technology, structural knowledge distortion, empowerment, and alternative modes of reasoning.


GGY 608: Spatial Strategies of Industrial Development

The main objective of the course is to provide a better understanding on the spatial aspects of the industrial development strategies adopted by both the developed and developing countries to achieve and maintain a well-balanced economic development. It examines the spatial strategies constituted by particular locational arrangements of manufacturing industries and their effects on regional development. The influence of the current trans-nationalization process on the locational arrangement of industries in various countries is reviewed.

The course content includes; spatial planning and industrial development, manufacturing industries, locational aspects of industrial development, industry and economic development.


GGY 609: Urban Development and Planning

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge on the field of urban development and planning and to grasp the concepts, theories, and applications of planning tools in urban development.

The aim of the course is to develop theoretical and operational knowledge of urban development, planning and management in developing countries. The course consists of the following areas; the theories and models of urban spatial form; preservation planning and design; urban land-use planning focusing on environmental, socioeconomic, legal, underlying structures, information systems, and administrative aspects; socio-spatial dimensions of modern urban areas- residential, commercial and industrial and u rban environmental concerns.


GGY 610: Landscape Ecology

The objective of this course is to provide the students with the knowledge on concepts, theories and processes of landscape development.

The course is designed to offer new concepts, theories and methods of studying spatial patterning on the dynamics of interacting ecosystem. Landscape ecology course emphasizes the interaction between human intervened spatial patterns of landscapes and ecological processes, which reflect the causes and consequences of spatial heterogeneity across a range of scales. This course essentially combines the spatial approach with the functional approach.

The proposed course consists of three parts: Part 1) Introduction to landscape ecology, connection between geography and landscape ecology, natural landscape models, landscape patterns, landscape dynamics and ecosystem processes; Part 2) Landscape as a social and cultural construction, and socio- cultural perspective on the management of agricultural, forest landscapes & cultural landscapes; Part 3) Landscape conservation and sustainability.


GGY 611: Climate Change and Human Response

The course aims to provide an advanced knowledge on changing patterns of climate from global, regional and national perspectives. With an introduction to both local and global aspects of climate change, the course will discuss the regional adaptive initiatives of human systems and the future trends of climate change.

The course is organized along the following topics: an introduction to climate change, socio-economic implications of climate change; climate change in Sri Lanka, likely effects of climate change on agriculture, water resources, health, food security, biodiversity, human settlements, energy, industries, forestry, transport, coastal resources and opportunities for change and adaptability and initiatives, and human response to climate change.


GGY 612: Environmental Management

The objective of this course is to provide an understanding on environmental management from the perspectives of human-spatial interactions. This course is designed to provide an advanced knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects and strategic interventions in relation to environmental management.

The course consists of 5 major sections; Section 1) Concepts and approaches to study environmental systems with an introduction to General systems theory, Ecosystem approach in environmental management and the biophysical economic, social and political subsystems; Section 2) Principles of environmental management, issues, policies and actions, decision making process, basic and standard variables of environmental management; Section 3) The environmental crisis, environmental degradation, environmental pollution, climate change, natural hazards; Section 4)Strategic interventions, both global and national initiatives on environmental conservation and environmental management, holistic and integrated aspects of environmental management; and Section 5) Driving forces including population dynamics, energy and the environment, poverty, globalization and economic trends, development of environmental management, agendas and measures to integrate environmental concerns into development. An overview of the environmental Laws and Conventions, ISO standards in environmental management, EIA process and its applications to environmental management would be provided.


GGY 613: Human Resource Development Planning

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive knowledge on theories, concepts and measurements on human resource development and planning. T he course consists of 5 major sections; Section 1) An introduction of population theories and transition theories, concepts of population and human resources development, population dynamics: fertility, mortality and migration; Section 2) Population structure, population as human resource, concept and measurements of labour force, labour force participation, employment, unemployment, labour migration, estimation and projections of labour force and poverty in human development perspectives: concept and measurements; Section 3) Index studies: Human Development Index (HDI), Gender Development Index (GDI), Human Poverty Index (HPI) and Women and child health indicators; Section 4) Strategy of human resources development planning and problems of human resource planning; Section 5) Case studies of human resource development planning in Sri Lanka.

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