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The University of Calcutta (also known as Calcutta University), ( ), is a public university located in the city of Kolkatamarker (previously Calcutta), Indiamarker, founded in 24 January 1857, is the first modern university in the Indian subcontinent. It is a state-government administered urban-based affiliating and research university. It has its central campus in College Street (called Ashutosh Shiksha Prangan). Its other campuses are in Rajabazar (called Rashbehari Shiksha Prangan), Ballygungemarker (called Taraknath Palit Shiksha Prangan), Aliporemarker (called Sahid Khudiram Siksha Prangan), Hazra and South Sinthi.


Vice Chancellors

The University of Calcutta is the oldest of the modern universities in India. It has so far produced 4 Nobelists, more than any other Indian university: Ronald Ross, Rabindra Nath Tagore, C.V.Raman and Amrtya Sen. It was founded in 1857 during the administration of Lord Canning, the Governor General of India. Dr Fredrick John, the education secretary to the then British Government in India, first tendered a proposal to the British Government in London for the establishment of a university in Calcutta, similar to London University, to create an educated class that would help them rule India; at that time the plan failed to obtain the necessary approval. However, a proposal to establish two universities, one in Calcutta and the other in Bombay was later accepted in 1854 and the necessary authority was given. The Calcutta University Act came into force on 24 January 1857 and a 41-member Senate was formed as the policy making body of the university. When the university was first established it had a catchment area covering the area from Lahoremarker to Rangoonmarker (now in Myanmarmarker) , and Ceylonmarker, the largest of any Indian university.

The first Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University were Governor General Lord Canning and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sir James William Colvile, respectively. In 1858, Joddu Nath Bose and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay became the first graduates of the university. On 30 January 1858, the Syndicate of the Calcutta University started functioning. The first meeting of the Senate was held in the Council room of the Calcutta Medical College. A temporary office of the university was started in a few rented rooms in Camac Street. For several years afterwards the meetings of the Senate and Syndicate were held in a room of the Writers' building. 244 candidates appeared for the first entrance examination of the university, held in March 1857 in the town hall of Calcutta. In 1862, a decision was taken by the Senate to construct for the university a building of its own. Accordingly, the historical Senate Hall was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,52,221/- and inaugurated on 12 March 1873 by holding the convocation of the university.

In 1857 Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College in Kapurthalamarker , Punjabmarker province of British India became one of the first colleges to be affiliated with University of Calcutta. Later many institutions came under its jurisdiction. Kadambini Ganguly and Chandramukhi Basu became the first female graduates of the country in 1882. The Honourable Justice Gooroodas Banerjee became the first Indian Vice-Chancellor of University of Calcutta in the year 1890. Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee was the Vice-Chancellor for four consecutive two-year terms (1906–1914) and a fifth two-year term (1921–23).


Ashutosh Building at the College Street campus
The university has several campuses spread over the city of Kolkata and its suburbs. The university also has many affiliated colleges spread over southern West Bengal. The main campus of the university, located on College Street, is spread over a small area of . The main campus is also known as the Asutosh Siksha Prangan, and contains Darbhanga Building, Asutosh Building, Hardinge Building, and the Centenary Building. The Rashbihari Siksha Prangan (also known as University College of Science and Technology or popularly Rajabazar Science College), located on Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, houses several scientific and technological departments, e.g., pure and applied chemistry, pure and applied physics, applied mathematics, psychology, physiology, biophysics and molecular biology, to name but a few. Taraknath Siksha Prangan (also known as University College of Science or Ballygunge | accessdate = 2007-04-11Science College) on Ballygunge Circular Road in the southern part of the city houses the departments of agriculture, anthropology, biochemistry, botany and genetics among others. Sahid Khudiram Siksha Prangan at Aliporemarker houses the department of Archeology, Business Management, Political Science, Sociology and others. Other campuses are Hazra Road Campus, University Press And Book Depot, B. T. Road Campus, Viharilal College of Home Science Campus, University Health Service, Haringhata Campus, Dhakuria Lakes (University Rowing Club) and University Ground and Tent at Maidanmarker.The university has a plan to create a "Techno Campus", to bring together the engineering and technical departments under one roof, in Salt Lakemarker.



Undergraduates enroll for a three-year program. Students are assigned to a major when they enter the university, and cannot change it later. Science and business disciplines are in high demand, as these fields are perceived to have better job opportunities. Most programs are organized by years, though some programs use a semester system. Most departments offer masters programs that are one or two years in duration. Research in the university is conducted in specialized institutes as well as individual departments, many of which have doctoral programs.

The university has 18 research centers, 650 teachers, 3000 non-teaching staff and 12,400 post-graduate students.


Darbhanga Building at the College Street campus
Department of Applied Physics, University of Calcutta

Calcutta University has fifty five departments organised into eight faculties: Agriculture; Arts; Commerce, Social Welfare & Business Management; Education, Journalism and Library Science; Engineering & Technology; Fine Arts, Music and Home Science; Law and Science.

  • Faculty of Agriculture: This faculty consists only one department called the Institute of Agricultural Science and offers post graduate courses on agronomy, horticulture, Genetics & Plant Breeding and Seed Science & Technology among others. The College of Agriculture was founded by Professor Pabitra K Sen, Khaira Professor of AgriculturePabitra Kumar Sen in early 50's

  • Faculty of Arts: This faculty consists of 21 departments offering courses on several Indian (including Sanskrit and Pali) and foreign languages, linguistics, ancient Indian history and culture, Islamic history and culture, South & South east Asian studies and many more.

  • Faculty of Education, Journalism and Library Science: This faculty consists of three departments that offer courses on journalism and mass communication, library & information science .

  • Faculty of Fine Arts, Music and Home Science: This faculty consists of the Department of Home Science, which offers courses on subjects such as food and nutrition, human development, home science.

  • The Faculty of Law: This faculty comprises only the Department of Law.

  • The Faculty of Science: This faculty has nineteen departments. This faculty offers courses on traditional science subjects like physics, chemistry, botany as well as subjects like biotechnology, microbiology, bioinformatics, marine science etc. The Department of Applied Physics was established in 1925. Presently studies are being conducted in Instrumentation Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Optics, and Opto-electronics.


The university offers affiliation or outside support to a number of autonomous institutes and centres, based mostly in Calcutta, and one each in Bangalore and Patna. They are either under its direct control, or offer courses in collaboration with the university or are autonomous bodies that offer fellowships to students enrolled for a Ph.D. at the university. These institutes are Bose Institute, Calcutta, (outside support), Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Calcutta, (outside support) Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, (outside support), Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Calcutta, (outside support), Indian Institute of Astrophysicsmarker, Bangalore, (outside support),Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta, (affiliated), Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, (affiliated), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Calcutta, (outside support), Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, (outside support), Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta (partly affiliated), and S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta (outside support).
Sahid Khudiram Siksha Prangan, Alipore


The university has several affiliated colleges under its umbrella.See the template for a list of affiliated or associated institutions. For a list of formerly affiliated institutions, see list of academic institutions formerly affiliated to the University of Calcutta.

Recent accreditation and recognition

The university has been recognised by both national and international bodies for its long history of excellence in education. A list of the recognitions is given below:

  • In 2001 the university was awarded the status of a ‘five star university’ by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
  • The Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker, China recently prepared a list of the world's top 500 institutions of higher learning (universities, research institutes etc.). The complete list is now available on the internet under the heading "Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2004". The University of Calcutta was the only multi-disciplinary university from India to appear on this list.
  • On 8 December 2005, the Indian University Grants Commission declared Calcutta University as a ‘‘University with Potential for Excellence’’.
  • The Times Higher Education Supplement published its list of the world's top arts and humanities universities on 10 November 2005. Calcutta University, ranked 39 in the list, was the only Indian university to make it to the top 50 in that year. The university was also ranked in the first 500 universities of the world consecutively for the years 2007 and 2008

A tradition of notable firsts

The Centenary Library at the College Street campus overlooking College Square.
The library was built on the place of the previously existing University Senate Hall
The university a long and rich tradition of starting progressive colleges and initiating unique courses for the first time in the subcontinent. A list of the notable firsts is given below:

  • The first university located to the east of Suez to teach European Classics, English Literature, European and Indian Philosophy and Occidental and Oriental History.
  • The first medical school of Asia, the Calcutta Medical College was set up in 1835. Later it was affiliated to the university.
  • The first college for women in India, the Bethune College was set up in 1879.
  • The nation's first homeopathy college was established in 1880.
  • The Science College was established in 1917, the first in India.
  • The first blind school in India came into being in 1925.
  • The first university museum in India, The Ashutosh Museum, came into being in 1937.
  • The Government Arts College was established in 1951.
  • The Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) was set up in 1953 as the country's first management institute.

Notable people associated with the university either as alumni or as faculty

The university has produced many internationally eminent scientists, engineers, world leaders and Nobel laureates and teachers and its alumni includes presidents, vice presidents of India, presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal and (as many as nine) chief ministers of Bengal. Being the oldest serving university of Bengal and India, most of the most brightest students of the subcontinent came to this university in the nineteenth century. The list of Nobel laureates who either studied or worked here include Ronald Ross, Rabindranath Tagore, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman and Amartya Sen. The Academy Award winning director Satyajit Ray was also an alumnus of this university. An eminent nationalist leader, who was a former president of the Indian National Congress, co-founder of the Indian National Army, and Head of State of the Provisional Government of Free India, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose studied in this university. So did the composer of the national song of India, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Amongst the presidents of India who either studied or taught here were the first two presidents of the republic, Rajendra Prasad, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. The current Vice President of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari studied here. As did a former Deputy Prime Minister of India, Jagjivan Ram. Many governors of Indian states have studied here, including the first Indian governor of Bihar and Orissa, Lord Satyendra Prasanno Sinha of Raipurmarker, Chandeshwar Prasad Narayan Singh, governor of the Punjab and Uttar Pradeshmarker, and Banwari Lal Joshi, the former governor of Delhimarker, and Meghalayamarker, and current governor of Uttarakhandmarker. The former ruler of the Indian princely state of Coochbeharmarker, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Bhupa Bahadur was also an alumnus of this university. It has amongst its former students one Prime Minister and five Chief Ministers of Bengal, including A.K. Fazlul Huq, Bidhan Chandra Ray, Prafulla Chandra Sen, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Jyoti Basu, and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya; two Chief Ministers of Assam, Bishnu Ram Medhi and Gopinath Bordoloi and one Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Brington Buhai Lyngdoh. Its list of Heads of State from other countries includes two Presidents of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Abdus Sattar, two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Bogra and Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy, the first Premier of Burma under British rule, Ba Maw, the current and first President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Nepal, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala. The university boasts of a long list of central ministers, civil servants and judges as well. Some of the famous industrialists who studied in this university include Rajen Mookerjee and Rama Prasad Goenka. Jagadish Chandra Bose and his student Meghnad Saha, both eminent scientists, were also students of this university. As was Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, the statistician who is considered to be the first planner of India. For a fuller list of the University's famous alumni, see the list of University of Calcutta people.

See also


  1. Tribune of India article on Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College
  2. Five Star Recognition
  3. Ranking of Institute of Higher Education,Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  4. CU gets "Potential for Excellence" tag of University Grants Commission
  5. Times Higher Education - World University Rankings for the year 2007
  6. Times Higher Education profile on the University of Calcutta

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