The University of Calcutta was ranked 601-650 in the QS World University Rankings of 2011 and 43 in the QS University Rankings for Asia in 2012. In India, it was ranked second by India Today in its list of Top India Universities of 2012, 2013 and 2014.
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. The land for the establishment of this university was given by Maharaja Maheshwar Singh Bahadur, who was a Maharaja of Darbhanga. When the university was first established it had a catchment area covering the area from Lahore to Rangoon (now in Myanmar), and Ceylon, 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.
Following its inauguration, many institutions gradually 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). Four Nobel laureates were associated with this university: Ronald Ross. Rabindra Nath Tagore, C. V. Raman and Amartya Sen.
The current university seal (top of the page) is the modified version of the sixth seal. The motto Advancement of Learning has remained the same through the seal's transitions.
The university has a total of 14 campuses spread over the city of Kolkata and its suburbs. The major campuses are the Central Campus (Ashutosh Shiksha Prangan) in College Street, Rashbehari Shiksha Prangan in Rajabazar, Taraknath Palit Shiksha Prangan in Ballygunge and Sahid Khudiram Siksha Prangan in Alipore.
Other campuses include the Hazra Road Campus, the University Press and Book Depot, the B. T. Road Campus, the Viharilal College of Home Science Campus, the University Health Service, the Haringhata Campus, the Dhakuria Lakes (University Rowing Club) and the University Ground and Tent at Maidan.
Asutosh Siksha Prangan (commonly called the College Street Campus) is the main campus of the university, where the administrative work is done. Located on College Street, is spread over a small area of 2.7 acres (0.011 km2).
Rashbihari Siksha Prangan (also known as University College of Science and Technology or commonly Rajabazar Science College), located on Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road in Rajabazar, established in 1914, houses several scientific and technological departments, including pure and applied chemistry, pure and applied physics, applied mathematics, psychology, physiology, biophysics and molecular biology, and others.
Taraknath Siksha Prangan (also known as University College of Science or commonly Ballygunge Science College) on Ballygunge Circular Road in the southern part of the city, houses the departments of agriculture, anthropology, biochemistry, botany, genetics,statistics, zoology, neuroscience, marine science, biotechnology and most notably geology, among others.
Sahid Khudiram Siksha Prangan at Alipore houses the department of History, Archeology, Business Management, Political Science, Sociology and others.
The university is building a campus which is known as "Technology Campus" or "Tech Campus", to bring together the Three engineering and technical departments (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, A.K.C. School of Information Technology, and Department of Applied Optics & Photonics), in Sector 3, JD Block, Salt Lake.
As of December 2016, most of these departments have been moved to this campus and regular classes are held here. The main building houses most of these departments while the Nano-science and Nanotechnology Department has a separate building for its laboratories.
Undergraduates enroll for a three-year program. Students choose a major when they enter the university, and cannot change it later, unless they opt for the university's professional or self-financed postgraduate programs later. Science and business disciplines are in high demand, largely in the anticipation of better employment prospects. Most programs are organized on an annual basis, though some programs are semester dependent. Most departments offer masters programs of a year or a few years' duration. Research is conducted in specialized institutes as well as individual departments, many of which have doctoral programs.
University of Calcutta has the biggest research center which started from the 100th Science Congress of India in January, 2013. This is the Center for Research in Nanosience and Nanotechnology (CRNN) in the Technology Campus of CU at Salt Lake, West Bengal.
The university has 18 research centres, 710 teachers, 3000 non-teaching staff and 11,000 post-graduate students.
The university has 65 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.
This faculty consists only of one department called the Institute of Agricultural Science and offers post graduate courses in agro-technology, agro-ecology, agronomy, agriculture chemistry and soil science, agriculture and rural development, agriculture and resource economics, agricultural engineering, animal science, bacteriology, crop science, dairy science, fisheries science, food technology, horticulture, genetics & plant breeding, soil and water science, seed science & technology among others.
The College of Agriculture was founded by professor Pabitra Kumar Sen, who was the Khaira Professor of Agriculture in the early 1950s.
This faculty consists the departments of Ancient Indian History and Culture, archaeology, anthropology, Arabic & Persian, Bengali, language and literature, comparative Indian literature, creative writing, classics, demography, economics, ethnic studies, English language and literature, Hindi, history, linguistics, museology, Pali, philosophy, psychology, political science, public policy & administration, sociology, Sanskrit, South and South-East Asian Studies, theater and drama, gender and women's studies.
This faculty consists of the departments of business management and commerce.
This faculty consists of three departments that offer courses on education, journalism and mass communication, and library & information science.
This faculty consists of the departments of applied optics and photonics, applied physics, chemical engineering, chemical technology, computer science and engineering, information technology, polymer science and technology, petroleum engineering, radio physics and electronics.
This faculty consists of the Department of Home Science, which offers courses on subjects such as food and nutrition, human development, and home science.
This faculty comprises only the department of law. Established in January 1909 as the University College of Law, it was granted the status as the department of law of the university in February 1996.
The faculty has many luminaries associated with it, including Rajendra Prasad, Rashbehari Bose, and Chhitaranjan Das.
This faculty has 20 departments. This faculty offers courses on traditional science subjects like botany, biochemistry, biomechanics, chemistry, clinical investigation, climate science & policy, cellular and molecular biology, genome science, geology, geography, physics, statistics, zoology, atmospheric science, biotechnology, bioinformatics, environmental science, earth science, electronic science, genetics, microbiology, materials science, marine science, neuroscience, population health, pure mathematics,Bio medical Instrumentation(JAP-BMI),space science, wildlife ecology, etc.
The Department of Applied Physics was established in 1925 and is located in Anand Nagar. Studies are also being conducted in instrumentation engineering, electrical engineering, optics, and opto-electronics.
The first university library started functioning in the 1870s. Apart from 39 departmental libraries it has a central library, two campus libraries, and two libraries of the advanced centers spread across the seven campuses. Students of affiliated colleges can also access the central library. The university library has over 10 million books and more than 200,000 bound journals, proceedings, manuscripts, and patents.
Most of the affiliated undergraduate colleges located in the city have their own separate student hostels. The university has 17 hostels, of which eight (two for UG and six for PG) are for women, and in total 13 hostels are for PG students, which are scattered all over the city. It accommodates around 2000 odd students, which is far less than its student intake.
As of 2012, 136 colleges are affiliated with the university. A large number of colleges and institutes were formerly affiliated to this university, but have left following political transformations, or gradual restructuring.
The university enjoys both national and international repute:In 2001 the university was awarded the status of a ‘five star university’ by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
On 8 December 2005, the Indian University Grants Commission declared Calcutta University as a ‘‘University with Potential for Excellence’’.
The Manuscript Library at the university has been recently designated as a Manuscript Conservation Centre under the National Mission for Manuscripts, which was established in 2003.
On 5 January 2010, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council awarded its highest grade of 'A' to the university.
Some of the notable initiatives associated with the university are: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 established in 1835. In 1857 it got affiliated to the university.
The first college for women in India, the Bethune College, was established 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 school for blind people in India was established in 1925.
The first university museum in India, The Ashutosh Museum, was established in 1937.
The Government Arts College was established in 1951.
The Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) was established in 1953 as the country's first management institute.
The university has produced many scientists, engineers, world leaders and Nobel laureates and teachers. As the oldest university of Bengal and India, it attracted students from diverse walks of life. Nobel laureates who either studied or worked here include Rabindranath Tagore, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Ronald Ross, and Amartya Sen. The Academy Award winning director Satyajit Ray was an alumnus of this university. So was the composer of the national song of India, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Some of the industrialists who studied in this university include Vinay Maloo, Harsh Goenka, Sanjiv Goenka, Sir Rajen Mookerjee, Rama Prasad Goenka, Lakshmi Mittal, and Aditya Birla. Notable scientists and mathematicians associated with the university include Jagadish Chandra Bose, Prafulla Chandra Ray, Meghnad Saha, Anil Kumar Gain, Satyendra Nath Bose and Ashoke Sen.
A nationalist leader, and 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 here. Other presidents of the Indian National Congress include Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Surendranath Banerjee, Anandamohan Bose, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Bhupendra Nath Bose and Madan Mohan Malaviya. Malaviya was also the founder of the Banaras Hindu University. Among the presidents of India associated with this university are Rajendra Prasad (who studied here) and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (who taught here), and the incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, who both studied and taught at affiliated colleges of the university. 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 studied here, including the first Indian governors of Bihar and Odisha, Lord Satyendra Prasanno Sinha of Raipur, Chandeshwar Prasad Narayan Singh, governor of the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, and Banwari Lal Joshi, the former governor of Delhi, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and current governor of Uttarakhand. The former ruler of the Indian princely state of Coochbehar, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Bhupa Bahadur as well as Patayet Sahib Maharajkumar Bhoopendra Narayan Singh Deo of Saraikela were also alumni of this university, as were colonial era prime ministers Albion Rajkumar Banerjee of Kashmir and A.K. Fazlul Huq of undivided Bengal. Among its former students are eight chief ministers of West Bengal (Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, Bidhan Chandra Ray, Prafulla Chandra Sen, Ajoy Mukherjee, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Jyoti Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, and Mamata Banerjee), three chief ministers each of Assam (Gopinath Bordoloi, Bishnuram Medhi and Golap Borbora) and Bihar (Krishna Sinha, Binodanand Jha and Ram Sundar Das), two chief ministers of Meghalaya (B.B. Lyngdoh and S.C. Marak), and a chief minister each of Madhya Pradesh (Ravishankar Shukla), Manipur (Rishang Keishing), Nagaland (S.C. Jamir) and Sikkim (B B Gurung), . Among the chief justices of the Supreme Court of India are Bijan Kumar Mukherjea, Sudhi Ranjan Das, Amal Kumar Sarkar, Ajit Nath Ray, Sabyasachi Mukharji and Altamas Kabir. Others have also served as judges in the Supreme Court, and as chief justices and judges in state high courts.
Heads of state from other countries associated with this university include four presidents of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Mohammad Mohammadullah, Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, Abdus Sattar, two prime ministers of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Muhammad Mansur Ali, three prime ministers of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Bogra, Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy, and Nurul Amin, the first premier of Burma under British rule, Ba Maw, the first president of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav and the first democratically elected prime minister of Nepal, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, and his successor Tulsi Giri.