The Department of Tamil is one of the oldest departments of the University of Peradeniya. The eminent Tamil scholar Swami Vipulananda was appointed as the first Professor of Tamil in 1943. He was succeeded by Professor K.Kanapathippillai who was the head of the department from 1947 to 1965. Prof. Kanapathipillai laid a strong foundation for Tamil studies at Peradeniya. After Prof. Kanapathipillai’s retirement, the Headship in Tamil was held successively by Professors V. Chelvanayakam, S.Vidyanandan, A.Veluppillai, A. Sathasivam, S. Thillainathan, K. Arunachalam, M.A. Nuhman, T.Manoharan and V. Maheswaran during this period the Department of Tamil developed into a reputed center of Tamil studies in Sri Lanka as well as in South Asia. Professors have been functioned as head of the department and did well for this department. At present Dr. (Mrs) S.R. Theaver has took charge of the department and doing well to bring up the department.
The Department of Tamil has produced over the years a number of Tamil scholars, literary critics, creative writers, journalists and public administrators whose achievements have been recognized both within and outside the country.
The department offers undergraduate courses in Tamil (Special Degree) and Hindu Civilization (General Degree) as well as postgraduate courses leading to the degrees of MA, M.Phil, and PhD. The Department is also engaged in External degree programmes. Also, it provides basic Tamil courses for the undergraduate non-Tamil students.