University of Madras

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University of Madras
சென்னைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்
4 Madras University.JPG
Motto கற்றணைத்தூறும் அறிவும் ஆற்றலும்
Doctrina Vim Promovet Insitam
Motto in English Learning Promotes Natural Talent
Established 1857
Type Public
Endowment US$50 million[citation needed]
Chancellor Konijeti Rosaiah
Vice-Chancellor Prof. R.Thandavan
Academic staff 300
Undergraduates 3000
Postgraduates 5000
Location Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
13°5′2″N 80°16′12″E / 13.08389°N 80.27000°E / 13.08389; 80.27000Coordinates: 13°5′2″N 80°16′12″E / 13.08389°N 80.27000°E / 13.08389; 80.27000
Campus Urban
Colors Cardinal
Mascot Lion
Affiliations UGC, NAAC, AIU

The University of Madras (informally known as Madras University) is a public state university located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India (along with the University of Calcutta and the University of Mumbai). The university was incorporated on 5 September 1857 by an act of the Legislative Council of India.

The university is situated in the southern city of Chennai. It is a collegiate university and has six campuses in the city Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Maduravoyal and Chetpet. It has more than 50 departments.

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


Six prize students for the year 1865 from the University of Madras
The Madras University Senate House and Marina Beach, 1905
T. Schaya Iangar, a Madras University Professor, taken in the 1860s by a photographer from the Madras School of Industrial Arts
Vice Chancellors[1]

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 the 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 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 (1908), 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), 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 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.

Coat of arms[edit]

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."


The Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, University of Madras Guindy campus
University of Madras Entrance Arch at Chepauk Campus

The university has campuses in Chepauk, Marina, Guindy and Taramani.

  • Chepauk campus: 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, School of Earth and Atmospheric Science.
  • Marina campus: School of Tamil and other Dravidian Languages, School of Sanskrit and other Indian Languages.
  • Guindy campus: School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, School of Chemical Sciences, School of Physical Sciences, School of Life Sciences and School of Engineering.
  • Taramani campus: School of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Nanoscience and Photonics.


The bulk of the revenue comes to the university by way of examination fees. The university runs Distance Education programmes which widens the scope for revenue through examinations.

Senate House[edit]

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.

Constituent colleges[edit]

Autonomous – arts and science colleges[edit]

Non-autonomous – arts and science colleges[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Nobel Laureates[edit]

Law and politics[edit]

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Chief justice[edit]


Science and technology[edit]





  • C. W. Thamotharampillai from Jaffna was the first graduate of the University of Madras. He, along with a fellow student from Jaffna, Daniel Caroll Vyramuttu Visuvanathapillai, were the only two who sat for the University's final B.A. exams in 1857, and both passed the exams to become the first graduates of the University of Madras. Thamotharampillai scored higher marks and was placed first, so is considered the first graduate of the University.[5]
  • Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi is the first Indian female (Alice Van Ingen from Ceylon is the first-ever woman) to get a Medical degree from University of Madras in 1912.[6]
  • Cadambi Minakshi became the first woman to get a doctorate from the University of Madras in 1936.
  • Kamala Sathianathan is the first woman graduate (BA and MA) from Madras University, having for her bachelor's degree in 1909. She went on to become a noted journalist.[7]
  • A.L. Venkataramana Pantulu, M.A., B.L. is the first double graduate of the University of Madras.[8]
  • Sir S Subramania Iyer became the first recipient of an honorary degree from the University when he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law in 1908.


In 2011, the University Grants Commission selected the university as a university with potential for excellence, under which the university gets INR 250 million(INR 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 INR 32.5 million(INR 3.25 crore) each for their development. The university is planning to use the funds to buy equipment and improve infrastructure.[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "The Vice Chancellors". University of Madras. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  2. ^,_IPS
  3. ^ [1], Personal Homepage of Dr. Ramesh Narayan. Retrieved 2013-04-08
  4. ^ [2], The Shaw Prize
  5. ^ Muthaiah, S (9 August 2004). "Madras Miscellany". Historian (The Hindu). 
  6. ^ Muthaiah, S (18 February 2002). "Madras Miscellany". Historian (The Hindu). 
  7. ^ Muthiah, S. (2004). Madras rediscovered : a historical guide to looking around : supplemented with tales of 'Once upon a city' (Further revised and expanded ed.). Chennai [u.a.]: East West Books (Madras). ISBN 9788188661244. 
  8. ^ Muthaiah, S (12 February 2012). "Madras Miscellany". Historian (The Hindu). 
  9. ^ "UGC selects Madras univ as potential centre of excellence, grants Rs 25 cr". The Times of India epaper (Chennai: The Times Group). 29 Dec 2011. Retrieved 30 Dec 2011. 
  10. ^,_IPS

External links[edit]