The Court of Directors of the East India Company sent a despatch in July, 1854 to the Governor-General of India in Council, suggesting the establishment of the Universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. In pursuance of that despatch, the University of Calcutta was founded on January 24, 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. The University of Calcutta was established by an Act of the Legislative Council (Act No II of 1857) of the then British India. The University adopted in the first instance, the pattern of the University of London and gradually introduced modifications in its constitution. The University is now being governed by the Calcutta University Act, 1979 as amended up to 31 May, 2006. The Act provided for the reconstitution of the University to enable it to function more efficiently in the fields of teaching, training and research in various branches of learning and courses of study and extending higher education to meet the growing needs of the society and to make the constitution of various authorities and bodies of the University more democratic. The jurisdiction of the University at present is limited to the confines of a few districts of West Bengal. It is a state-government administered urban-based affiliating and research university. Calcutta University is one of the Asia’s largest Universities according to students’ strength. There are 63 Post Graduate Department with the capacity of more than 130000 Students. It also has 192 Colleges affiliated to it. It is spread over in 14 campuses over the city of Kolkata.
College Campuses - The University has a number of campuses spread all over the metropolis and its suburbs.
Ashutosh Shiksha Prangan - It has its central campus also known as College Street Campus, located at 87/1, College Street.
Rashbehari Shiksha Prangan - Commonly known as Rajabazar Science College Campus, located at 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road.
Taraknath Palit Shiksha Prangan - Commonly known as Ballygunge Science College Campus, located at 35, Ballygunge Circular Road, Ballygunge.
Hazra Road Campus - Commonly known as Law College Campus, located at 51/1 and 51/2, Hazra Road.
Sahid Kshudiram Siksha Prangan - Commonly known as Alipore Campus, located at 1, Reformatory Street, Alipore.
B.T. Road Campus - Located at 56A, Barrackpore, Trunk Road.
Viharilal Home Science Campus - Located at 20B, Judges Court Road, Alipore.
University Health Service Goenka Hospital Diagnostic Research Centre - Located at 145, Muktaram Babu Street.
Haringhata Campus Ionosphere Field Station - P.O. - Mohanpur, District- Nadia.
Baruipur Campus Agricultural Field Station - P.O.- Baruipur, District-South 24 Parganas.
Technology Campus Salt Lake.
Commerce, Social Welfare & Business Management.
Education, Journalism and Library Science.
Engineering & Technology.
Fine Arts, Music and Home Science.
University Halls and Hostels - There are 17 Halls and Hostels under the University of Calcutta providing accommodation to about 2000 students studying in the University Colleges of Arts, Commerce, Science, Technology and Law and also the undergraduate students of the colleges as well as men research scholars/fellows of the University. Management of Halls / Hostels is executed by Board of Residence, an advisory body of the University of Calcutta. The Carmichael Hall is reserved for Muslim students only (both undergraduate and postgraduate students). The Under-graduate Halls namely (1) Vidyasagar Chhatriniwas is attached to the Viharilal Home Science Campus and (2) U.G. Lady Students’ Hall is open to lady students of any University of Calcutta-affiliated college in the city of Kolkata which has no hostel of its own. Only paid research scholars of the University conducting male research work leading to a doctoral degree are eligible for Research Scholars’ Hostel.
Libraries - At present the University Library system consists of the Central Library, two campus libraries, thirty-nine departmental libraries and two libraries of the Advanced Centres. The libraries are spread over seven campuses. Departmental libraries are located within the department concerned. The University library, at present, has a collection of more than ten lakh books. Besides books, the seven campuses of the University together possess more than 2 lakh volumes of bound Journals, M.Phil. and Ph.D. dissertations, proceedings of conferences, reports, maps, standards, patents, newspapers, manuscripts, microfilms, CD-ROMs. As many as 20 departmental libraries out of a total of 39, have a collection of over 15,000 volumes which includes books, bound journals and non-book materials. The Central Library serves the entire University community. Computerisation and networking of the University Library has been undertaken under the INFLIBNET programme of the UGC. The University Library has started automation of the library activities using SOUL, a versatile and user-friendly software from INFLIBNET Centre. The library has its own local Network connected with a server with terminals inside the library. Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) of the library has databases of books, journals, theses, CD-ROMs and microfilms. In addition to the above, the University provides access to nearly 4,000 electronic journals to its users in all the campuses under the UGC-INFONET programme.
University Computer Facility - University Computer facility in both the Rajabazar Science College Campus and Ballygunge Science College Campus is very rich. All PCs are connected through LAN with Servers and high-end computers. All PCs are connected with Internet through 4 Mbps Leased Line for students in each campus. There is also a well equipped Laboratory and LCD and Overhead Projector. The Computer facility helps the research scholars and teachers in their academic and research activity. It provides E-mail and Internet facilities for Teachers, Students and Research Scholars in each department through a Local Area Network.
Manuscript Library - The Manuscript Section was in existence right from the inception of the University. In 1990, the Manuscript Library became a full-fledged unit of the University of Calcutta under the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic). The Library has a collection of more than 42,000 manuscripts including quite a few on palm leaves, including 20,000 in Sanskrit, 12,000 in Tibetan and Bengali and also several Persian and Arabic manuscripts. They are in different languages such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Bangla, Oriya, Maithili, Pali, Arabic and Persian, and in scripts like Bengali, Oriya, Gaudi, Newari, Malayalam and Maithili. Some manuscripts are wrought in gold and silver lettering.
MRC - The Manuscript Resource Centre at the University of Calcutta has conducted the survey in twenty-nine Government and Government-sponsored libraries, seven institutional libraries, thirteen private libraries and fifteen personal collections in West Bengal . The MRC has documented 21,000 manuscripts covering thirteen districts of West Bengal so far and also prepared a list of manuscripts for digitisation. It has also taken initiative in providing conservation support to several collections of manuscripts through applying herbal methods for conservation of manuscripts at the time of documentation. 20,000 manuscripts codices were fed in to e-granthavali database. Fifteen awareness campaigns have been held, with more than fifteen hundred people participated in the programme.
UGC-Academic Staff College - It has built up reasonable infra-structural facilities in order to cater to the needs of participant colleagues in OPs and RCs from different colleges and universities. Facilities include TV, and a VCR, four overhead projectors, three slide projectors, two microphones (including one cordless button microphone) and a library having about 2500 volumes. There are two classrooms and the two office rooms, all air-conditioned. The latest addition to our infra-structural facilities is the Man-Machine Interface Laboratory housing state-of-art equipment and software.
Asutosh Museum of Indian Art - The Museum, the first public museum in any university in India, was established in 1937. Named after Sir Asutosh Mookerjee, the great educationist, who introduced the study of Indology including Indian art and archaeology at the university level, this Museum stands for preservation, presentation and study of objects of Indian art and antiquity particularly of eastern India. The museum has more than 25,000 items consisting of sculptures, paintings, folk-art objects, textiles, terracottas, etc. of extraordinary variety, providing a wide panorama of cultural endeavours of the people throughout the ages. Soon after establishment, the Museum organised a certificate course in Art Appreciation. The publications of the Museum include useful books on preservation, reports on excavation by the Museum and handbooks on Bengal sculpture, terracotta's and coins in its collection. Several sets of coloured and monochrome postcards have also been issued for sale. In 1959, the University of Calcutta instituted a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Museology and the Museum served as the base and a working laboratory for this course. University Science Instrumentation Centre - USIC provides various facilities:
Atomic absorption Spectrometer AAS-100 with FIAS & FDL is under Central Facility.
UV NIS Spectrophotometer is available to students and researchers.
Edwards Vacuum Coater 306 is giving services to for ancillary work of Electron Microscope.
Liquid Nitrogen Plant involved in production of Liquid Nitrogen.
Well-equipped Central Workshop for fabrication work.
Scholarships - Various types of scholarships are provided by the university.
University Health Services - The university has been maintaining a Board of Health to take care of health problems of the students of the University and its affiliated colleges. The board has set up a clinic named as Goenka Hospital Diagnostic Research Centre for rendering all kinds of medical assistance to the students, staff of the University. Various facilities are available at the Goenka Hospital for the students, teacher & non teaching staff and also for the general people at a very nominal payment. These services include Paediatrics, Cardiology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Facilities for X-Ray, Facilities for Pathological tests, Facilities for Ultra-Sonography with Doppler etc.
Research Centres - It has various research centres.
i) Research Centres on UGC Funding under the Special Assistance Programme:
Centres for Advanced Study: 4 (Radio Physics and Electronics, Chemistry, Botany and Biochemistry)
Departments of Special Assistance: 9
Departmental Research Support: 6
COSIST/ASISHH Programme : 1
DST FIST: 12
ii) Research Centres Established with UGC Assistance during the Tenth Plan:
Centre for Social Sciences.
Gandhian Studies Centre.
ii) Other Research Centres - Centres with funding from agencies other than UGC:
S.K. Mitra Centre for Space Environment (funding by ISRO).
Centre for Photonics (funding by DRDO).
Peace Studies Research Centre (funding by Ford Foundation).
B.C.Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (Endowment Fund).
S.N. Pradhan Centre for Neuroscience (Endowment Fund).
Women’s Studies Research Centre.
Sports Facilities - Facilities are available for Football, Cricket, Kabaddi, Volleyball, Kho Kho etc.
It has so far produced 4 Nobelists, more than any other Indian university: Ronald Ross, Rabindra Nath Tagore, C.V.Raman and Amrtya Sen.
The NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) conferred Five Star Status on the University of Calcutta in 2001.
On November 10, 2005, The Times Higher Education Supplement published its list of world’s top arts and humanities universities. University of Calcutta is the only Indian university to make it to the top 50 list.
The University Grants Commission has recognised the University’s potentials for excellence by conferring on it ‘University with Potential for Excellence’ status.