Formal nursing education was started in 1939 in Sri Lanka at Nurses training school (NTS) in Colombo. Thereafter, it was expanded to 17 other Schools of Nursing throughout the country conferring a basic Diploma in Nursing.  At present, out of the Sri Lankan state universities, only five Universities offer nursing degrees leading to a B.Sc degree in Nursing accepting 205 students from the GCE A/L, Biology stream selected by the University Grants Commission based on their Z-score.

Besides, Sir John Kotelawala Defense University and a number of other private organizations offer B.Sc Nursing degrees where students can enroll directly in the programme. Faculty of Nursing in the University of Colombo is the first ever nursing faculty established at university level to produce graduate nurses with the aim of catering the national and international health care needs.