University of Madras

University of Madras is a public state university in Chennai (formerly Madras), Tamil Nadu, India.[1] Established in 1857, it is one of the oldest universities in India after University of Calcutta. The university was incorporated by an Act of the Legislative Council of India.[2]

University of Madras
Coat of arms of the University of Madras
MottoDoctrina Vim Promovet Insitam (Latin)
Motto in English
"Learning Promotes Natural Talent"
TypeState university
ChancellorGovernor of Tamil Nadu
Vice-ChancellorProf. Duraisamy
Location, ,
13°5′2″N 80°16′12″E
Colors     Cardinal
AffiliationsUGC, NAAC, AIU

It is a collegiate research university and has six campuses in the city: Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Maduravoyal and Chetpet. It offers more than 230 courses under 87 academic departments grouped under 19 schools, covering diverse areas such as sciences, social sciences, humanities, management and medicine along with 109 affiliated colleges and 52 approved research institutions. It is one of the top universities in India that provide distance education in various disciplines. Now the Institute of distance education, University of Madras is offering 15 Undergraduate Courses, 20 Postgraduate Courses under CBCS Pattern, 16 Diploma Courses and 12 Certificate Courses.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has conferred 'five star' accreditation to the university and it has been given the status of 'University with Potential for Excellence' by the University Grants Commission.[3]

University of Madras is the alma mater of two Indian Physics Nobel Laureates, CV Raman and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, five Presidents of India, including A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and several notable mathematicians including Srinivasa Ramanujan.


Vice Chancellors[4]

The first ever demand for higher education in Madras Presidency was given in a public address to Lord John Elphinstone, Governor of Madras, signed by 70,000 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 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 – a high school for the cultivation of English literature, regional language, philosophy and science, and a college for 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, Chennai. A systematic educational policy for India was formulated 14 years later by Wood's despatch, 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 result, 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 progressed and expanded through the 19th century to span the whole of South India, giving birth to 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), Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (1990), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (1971), Anna University (1978), Tamil University (1981), Mother Teresa Women's University (1984), Dr. M.G.R. Medical University (1989), Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (1989), Periyar University (1997) and 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 that year the university had 17 departments, 30 teachers, and 69 research scholars. Later the research and teaching functions of the university were encouraged by the Sadler Commission and the gains of the University were consolidated by the enactment of the Madras University Act of 1923. About this time, the territorial ambit of the Madras University encompassed from Berhampur of Odisha in the North East, Trivandrum of Kerala in the South West, Bangalore and Mangalore of Karnataka in the West and Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh in the North.

Between 1926 and 1939, the university published the comprehensive Tamil Lexicon dictionary, which is the first among the dictionaries published in any Indian language.[6]

Coat of arms

The description of the Coat of Arms of the university, designed in 1857, is:

"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 colours are: the base is light green, the tiger is yellow on a white background, the elephant is grey on a black background, the lotus is a white flower with olive green leaves, on a gold background. The motto scroll is edged red, with black lettering. The English translation of the motto of the University of Madras is: "Learning promotes natural talent."

Schools and departments

The university is made up of over 13 chairs or centres, 20 schools and 85 departments. The twenty schools are:[7]

  • 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 Tamil and other Dravidian Languages
  • School of Sanskrit and Other Indian Languages
  • School of Management Studies
  • School of Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science
  • School of Information and Communication Studies
  • School of Earth and Atmospheric Science
  • School of Chemical Sciences
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • School of Life Sciences
  • School of Basic Medical Sciences
  • School of Nano Science and Photonics
  • Department of Physical Education

Schools are further divided into departments. The departments are:[7]

  • Department of Ancient History and Archaeology
  • Department of Indian History
  • Department of Adult and Continuing Education
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Criminology
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Women's Studies
  • Centre for Cyber Forensics and Information Security
  • Department of Social Work
  • Department of Counselling Psychology
  • Department of Anna Centre for Public Affairs
  • UGC - Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies
  • Department of Defence and Strategic Studies
  • Department of Legal Studies
  • Department of Politics and Public Administration
  • Centre for Population Studies
  • Department of Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Economic Studies
  • Department of Econometrics
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Christian Studies
  • JBAS Center for Islamic Studies
  • Department of Jainology
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Saiva Siddhanta
  • Department of Vaishnavism
  • Department of Indian Music
  • Department of English
  • Department of French
  • Department of Kannada
  • Department of Malayalam
  • Department of Tamil Language
  • Department of Tamil Literature
  • Department of Telugu
  • Department of Center for Thirukkural Research
  • Department of Sangapalagai for Tamil Development
  • Department of Arabic, Persian and Urdu
  • Department of Hindi
  • Department of Sanskrit
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Management Studies
  • Center for Infrastructural Management Studies
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics
  • Department of Statistics[8]
  • Department of Journalism and Communication
  • Department of Library & Information Science
  • Department of Applied Geology
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Geology
  • Centre for Environmental Sciences
  • Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Studies
  • Center for Water Resource Management
  • Department of Analytical Chemistry
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Inorganic Chemistry
  • Department of Organic Chemistry
  • Department of Physical Chemistry
  • Department of Polymer Science
  • Department of Central Instrumentation and Service Laboratory
  • Department of Crystallography and Biophysics
  • Department of Nuclear Physics
  • Department of Theoretical Physics
  • Department of Network Systems and Information Technology
  • Department of Material Science
  • Department of Biochemistry
  • Department of Biotechnology
  • Department of Centre for Advanced Study in Botany
  • Centre for Ocean and Coastal Studies
  • Department of Zoology
  • Department of Bio-informatics
  • Department of Anatomy
  • Department of Endocrinology
  • Department of Genetics
  • Department of Medical Biochemistry
  • Department of Microbiology
  • Department of Pathology
  • Department of Pharmacology and Environmental Toxicology
  • Department of Physiology
  • National Centre for Nanosciences and Nanotechnology
  • National Centre for Ultrafast Process
  • Department of Physical Education and Sports

Campuses and constituent colleges

The university is spread over six campuses, viz., Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Chetput and Maduravoyal. The Chepauk campus of the university houses the VC's secretariat, central library, centenary auditorium and the historic Senate House. The oriental and Indian languages departments are located in the Marina Campus. The Guindy campus incorporates the natural sciences departments while the campus at Taramani houses the school of basic medical sciences. The sports union and the botanical garden are based in Chetpet and Maduravoyal campus respectively.

The university has two constituent college, in Nemmeli and Thiruvottiyur, offerings courses in arts and science.[9]

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 1879, is a masterpiece of Robert Fellowes Chisholm, an architect of the 19th century, who blended the Indo-Saracenic style with Byzantine and European architectural features. The university renovated the Senate House in 2006.

Affiliated colleges and research institutions

Notable colleges

Research institutions

Notable alumni

University of Madras has a strong alumni network with its alumni taking over many prestigious positions across the world. Some of the prominent alumni include Nobel laureates C. V. Raman[10] and S. Chandrasekhar,[11] mathematicians Srinivasa Ramanujan[12] and S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan,[13] former presidents[14] Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, V. V. Giri, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, R. Venkataraman and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, politicians Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari,[15] C Subramaniam,[16] CN Annadurai[17] and V. K. Krishna Menon,[18] civil servants T. N. Seshan,[19] Benegal Rama Rau[20] and Y. Venugopal Reddy,[21] pioneers Verghese Kurien,[22] Raj Reddy[23] and M. S. Swaminathan,[24] economist K. N. Raj[25] and C. Rangarajan,[26] business persons Indra Nooyi,[27] Ram Shriram[28] and Prathap C. Reddy,[29] cinema actors and directors M.G. Ramachandran,[30] Gemini Ganesan[31] and Mani Ratnam,[32] sports stars Viswanathan Anand,[33] Vijay Amritraj,[34] Ramanathan Krishnan,[35] Arvind Swami,[36] and Viswanathan Anand[37] among others.


University rankings
General – international
QS (BRICS) (2018)[38]171-180
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2018)[39]29
NIRF (Universities) (2018)[40]18

Internationally, the university was ranked 171-180 in the QS University Rankings BRICS University Rankings of 2018.[38] In India, the National Institutional Ranking Framework ranked it 29 overall[39] and 18 among universities in 2018.[40] A study performed by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies on the performance of universities in India in 1998-2008 listed Madras University as #5 based on publication for that period.[41]


In 2011, the University Grants Commission selected the university as a university with potential for excellence, under which the university gets 250 million ( 25 crore). The university had been selected under phase 1 of the scheme in 2001–02 along with a few other universities in the country. UGC has identified the school of geology and the school of zoology of the university as centres of excellence and has allotted 32.5 million ( 3.25 crore) each for their development. The university is planning to use the funds to buy equipment and improve infrastructure.[42]

In 2019, Ministry of Human Resource Development of Government of India granted 50 crores to University for upgrading its research capabilities under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA) scheme.[43]

See also


  1. Indian Universities in the 2014 QS University Rankings: BRICS. Top Universities (24 June 2014). Retrieved on 2015-09-27.
  2. University of Madras. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. University Grants commission ::Universities (UPE). Retrieved on 27 September 2015.
  4. "The Vice Chancellors". University of Madras. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  5. Great Britain. India Office (1819). "The India List and India Office List for 1905". p. 634. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  6. Kolappan, B. (22 June 2014). "Delay, howlers in Tamil Lexicon embarrass scholars". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  7. "Schools"
  8. "Welcome to University of Madras".
  9. constituent colleges
  10. "After earning a master’s degree in physics at Presidency College, University of Madras, in 1907, Raman became an accountant in the finance department of the Indian government."
  11. "Chandra studied at Presidency College, University of Madras, and he wrote his first research paper",
  12. "Srinivasa Ramanujan, a Mathematical Genius".
  13. "S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan | Indian mathematician".
  15. "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31579.
  17. "Life History and Literary Works of C.N. Annadurai".
  18. "V K Krishna Menon; A Votary of Poorna Swaraj".
  19. "Welcome to MCC".
  20. "Contact Us - IndiaInfoline".
  21. "Reserve Bank of India - Database".
  22. "Verghese Kurien | Biography & Facts".
  23. "Raj Reddy".
  25. "Nehru's planner who saw tomorrow". Business Standard India. 11 February 2010.
  26. "Chakravarthi Rangarajan | Ahmedabad University".
  27. "Indra Nooyi Biography - life, family, children, parents, school, mother, born, college, house - Newsmakers Cumulation".
  28. "Kavitark Ram Shriram".
  29. "Dr. Prathap C. Reddy - Creating Emerging Markets - Harvard Business School".
  30. "About MGR - the Tamilnadu Dr.M.G.R. Medical University".
  31. "Gemini Ganesan Biography - Gemini Ganesan Profile, Childhood & Filmography".
  32. "Distinguished Alumni | RKMVC".
  34. "Vijay Amritraj".
  35. "The Hindu : A sportsman nonpareil".
  36. "Arvind Swamy". IMDb. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  37. "The chess games of Viswanathan Anand". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  38. "QS BRICS University Rankings 2018". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  39. "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2018 (Overall)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Human Resource Development. 2018.
  40. "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2018 (Universities)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Human Resource Development. 2018.
  41. "Measures of Performance of Universities in India: An Analysis of the Publication Output in Science and Technology (Study period 1998-2008)" (PDF). National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies. 2011.
  42. "UGC selects Madras univ as potential centre of excellence, grants Rs 25 cr". The Times of India epaper. Chennai: The Times Group. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  43. "Madras University gets ₹50 crore MHRD grant". The Hindu. Chennai. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2019.

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