Welcome to CESSD

The Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development (CESSD) at the Open University of Sri Lanka is established in 2015 with a mission of contributing academically to build a sustainable university, country and a world. The M.Sc. in Environmental Science programme which is on offer for almost two decades initially by the Environment Studies Units (ESU) of the Open University and since 2015 by the CESSD, has evolved into one of the best M.Sc. in Environmental Science programmes offered by the Sri Lankan university system. Enabling employed students the flexibility of learning while working as professionals in different fields, the M.Sc. in Environmental Science Programme is offered through Open and Distance (ODL) mode. Since 2019 the CESSD is taking steps to expand her involvements in line with the broader framework provided by Green Policy adopted by the Open University since 2018 and to involve with offering more programmes, engaging with research and conducting advocacy in areas related to environmental studies and sustainable development. 

The CEESD is currently planning to introduce diploma programmes short courses, stand-alone courses and training workshops in a variety of subject areas such as “greening cities”, “circular economy and waste management”, “disaster management”, “crops and environmental change” and “sustainable water resource management” to be offered during the coming years. The CESSD is also at a stage of designing a few collaborative research projects with universities in Germany and UK on “off-grid cities”, “microplastics and ocean pollution” and “hydraulic civilization and cascade systems”. An advocacy campaigned is initiated by CESSD to promote bicycle lanes as a solution to urban transport problem in Sri Lanka. The CESSD also plays a prominent role in converting the Open University to a green university – to convert the university landscape to a green landscape, convert the Science and Technology Building and the CESSD building to green buildings as pilot projects and to introduce code of energy and resource use to university staff. The “Green Committee” and the “Green Club”, forums are created by CESSD, provide spaces for teachers and the students of the Open University to engage with Green policy concept and its activities.


The principle aim of the CESSD is to carry out a comprehensive programme of teaching, research and scholarship leading to technology development and capacity development to address environmental problems in Sri Lanka.

  • To prepare learners of environmental studies for livelihoods and careers by providing an understanding of human interactions with the natural and built environment by providing educational opportunities at undergraduate and graduate levels,
  • To carry out basic and applied research covering physical, biological, social sciences and policy spheres,
  • To provide expert advice and consultancy services public and private institutions operating at local, national and global levels,
  • To foster relations and encourage collaborative efforts among members of the CESSD community within and outside the OUSL both nationally and internationally and,
  • To establish effective communication and dissemination of new knowledge and skills to different stake holders including general public, academia and policy makers
Our target group includes personnel from state agencies and non-governmental organizations, members of the public as well as the private sector, engineers, lawyers, environmentalists, ecologists, biologists and those involved in the environment conservation as educators, communicators, and also any person interested in environmental issues and conservation.

The Centre for Environmental Studies & Sustainable Development (CESSD) of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) was established in 1998 having the primary aim of educating the environmental officers of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Ministry of Environment by offering Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. Since 2007 the CESSD offers the Master of Science degree Programme in Environmental Sciences which is designed and conducted by a team of outside experts and academics of faculties at the Open University, viz: Natural Sciences, Engineering Technology, Education and Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Master’s Degree is designed to provide students with the interdisciplinary background and skills necessary to understand the environmental issues prevailing today. It emphasizes four general areas; humanities and social sciences, technology, education and natural sciences. Humanities and social sciences emphasizes the ethical, legal, economical, political and historical basis of the environmental concern. The Natural science focus includes the exploitation of the biological, physical, chemical nature of the environment and Technology deals with problem creations and problem solutions. Further the CESSD is addressing Environmental Pollution, Biodiversity Loss, Wildlife Conservation, Deforestation, Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Policies through researches, collaborative works with other agencies and events in the environmental arena.