Dr Anula Rathnayake graduated from the Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo in Sri Lanka in 1997 with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in Sociology. She joined the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo in 1998 as a Temporary Lecturer and served there until she joined the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo in March 2001 as an Instructor in Social Work. Dr Rathnayake completed her Master Degree in Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo in 2007. She was promoted to the post of the Senior Instructor in Social Work in 2013. Dr Rathnayake completed her PhD in Social Work in the Faculty of Social work, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia in 2015.
Dr Rathnayake resigned from the post of Senior Instructor in Social work in the Department of Psychiatry in July 2019 and rejoined as the Senior Lecturer Grade I in Social work in July 2019. She is a member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). She is also a Member of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network. Dr Rathnayake is a Member of the Palliative Care and End of Life Care Task Force in Sri Lanka Medical Association. Also she is a Life Member of the Sociology Alumni Association, University of Colombo in Sri Lanka since the beginning of this association in 2009.