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Vice Chancellor of the University Prof Ramachandran addressing the students of Dr.MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women, Chennai in February 2007
The University of Madras is one of the three oldest universities in Indiamarker (along with the University of Calcutta and the University of Mumbai). The University of Madras, organized on the model of the University of London, was incorporated on 5 September 1857 by an Act of the Legislative Council of India. The university is situated in the southern city of Chennaimarker (formerly known as Madras). It has four campuses in the city - Chepaukmarker, Marinamarker, Guindymarker and Taramanimarker. More than 50 Departments offer a range of specialisation subjects.

In 2004, all engineering courses of the University were shifted to Anna Universitymarker. The University provides affiliation to several colleges for numerous courses. The various departments of the University also conduct research in addition to teaching. There are nearly 43 external research institutes in addition to centres of excellence within the University.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has conferred the "Five star Status" to the University of Madras. The University of Madras has been given the status of "University with Potential for Excellence" by the University Grants Commission.


The first ever demand for higher education in Madras Presidency was voiced forth in a public address to The Right Honourable Lord John Elphinstone G.C.H., Governor of Madras signed by 70,000 local residents when the Governor in Council was contemplating "some effective and liberal measures for the establishment of an improved system of national education." This public petition, which was presented by the then Advocate General Mr. George Norton on 11 November 1839, pressed the need for an English College in the city of Madras. Pursuant to this, Lord Elphinstone evolved a plan for the establishment of a Central Collegiate Institution or a ‘University.’ This University had twin Departments (1) High School for the cultivation of English literature, regional language, philosophy and science, (2) College providing instruction in the higher branches of literature, philosophy and science.

The University Board was constituted in January 1840 with Mr. George Norton as its President. This was the precursor of the present Presidency College, Chennaimarker. However, a systematic educational policy for India was only formulated 14 years later by the historic dispatch of 1854 (Sir Charles Wood’s Education Dispatch), which pointed out the rationale for "creating a properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the University." The Dispatch recommended the establishment in the Universities of Professorships "for the purposes of the delivery of lectures in various branches of learning including vernacular as well as classical languages." As a sequel, the University of Madras, organized on the model of the University of London, was incorporated on 5 September 1857 by an Act of the Legislative Council of India.

The University of Madras progressed and expanded throughout the nineteenth century to span the whole of South India and subsequently gave birth to and nourished universities like Mysore University (1916), Osmania University (1918), Andhra University (1926), Annamalai University (1929), Travancore University (1937) presently University of Kerala, Sri Venkateswara University (1954), Madurai Kamaraj University (1966), Bharathidasan University (1982), Bharathiar University (1982), Tamil Nadu Agricultural Universitymarker (1971), Anna Universitymarker (1978), Tamil University (1981), Mother Teresa Women's University (1984), The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University (1989), Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (1989), Periyar University (1997) and the Tamil Nadu Dr.Ambedkar Law University (1996).

In 1912 endowments were made to the University to establish departments of Indian History, Archaeology, Comparative Philology and Indian Economics. In all there were 17 University departments, 30 University teachers, 69 research scholars and 127 University publications in that year and the budget was for Rs.11 lakhs. Later, the research and teaching functions of the University were encouraged by Sadler Commission and the gains of the University were consolidated by the enactment of Madras University Act of 1923. About this time, the territorial ambit of the Madras University encompassed from Berhampur of Orissa in the North, Trivandrum of Kerala in the South West, Bangalore and Mangalore of Karnataka in the West and Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh in the North.

However, Indian independence in 1947, the setting up of the University Grants Commission in 1956 and changes in political, social and cultural milieu had brought several amendments to the University of Madras Act of 1923 to permit qualitative and quantitative changes in its jurisdictions and functions.

Coat of Arms

The description of the Coat of Arms of the University of Madras as designed in 1857 and now being followed is as follows:
"Argent (silver or white) on a Mount issuant from the basement a Tiger passant proper (walking and coloured naturally), on a Chief Sable (black across the top), a Pale Or (a gold or yellow vertical strip down the centre 1/3 of the top or chief), thereon, between two Elephants heads couped of the field, a lotus flower leaved and slipped of the third, together with this motto Doctrina Vim Promovet Insitam".

The coat of arms are shown in the following tints. 'The base vert' - a light green Tiger - yellow on white ground Elephants - grey on black ground Lotus - white flower, olive green leaves, on gold ground Motto Scroll - edger red, black lettering.

The English translation of the motto of the University of Madras is: "Learning promotes (one’s) natural (innate) talent."


The newly constructed Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, University of Madras Guindy campus
The University has four campuses located in Chepauk, Marina, Guindy and Taramani. School of Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, School of Political and International Studies, School of Economics, School of Philosophy and Religious Thought, School of Fine and Performance Arts, School of English and Foreign Languages, School of Business and Management, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, School of Information and Communication, Studies and School of Earth and Atmospheric Science are located in Chepauk campus. School of Tamil and other Dravidian Languages and School of Sanskrit and Other Indian Languages are located in Marina campus. School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, School of Chemical Sciences, and School of Physical Sciences and School of Life Sciences are located in Guindy campus and School of Basic Medical Sciences and School of Nanoscience and Photonics departments are in Taramani campus.


Nobel laureates

Law and politics



Chief justice


Honorary Doctorate conferred on Dr.MGR

Science and technology


Senate House

The University of Madras has a historical monument - Senate House - which is one of the landmarks of the city of Chennai. The Senate House, the University's first building, inaugurated in the year 1869, is a masterpiece of Robert Fellowes Chisholm, the greatest architect of 1800s , who harmoniously blended the Indo-Saracenic style with Byzantine and European architectural features. This University of Madras renovated the Senate House in 2006.

Constituent Colleges

Autonomous - Arts and Science College

Non - Autonomous - Arts and Science Colleges

In popular culture

See also

External links

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