Government College University, Lahore

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Government College University
Government College University,Logo.png
Former names
Government College (GC)
Educating People for tomorrow
Courage to Know
Established1861; 159 years ago (1861)
AffiliationHigher Education Commission (Pakistan)
Pakistan Engineering Council
Pakistan Bar Council
ChancellorGovernor of the Punjab
Vice-ChancellorProf. Dr. Asghar Zaidi[1]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Other students
Intermediate, Certifications[2]
Location, ,
Coordinates: 31°34′24″N 74°18′28″E / 31.5732°N 74.3079°E / 31.5732; 74.3079
ColoursRoyal Blue, goldenrod, maroon

The Government College University, Lahore (colloquially known as GCU) is a public research university located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.


Established in 1861 as the Government College by the British government in India, it opened its doors in 1864.[3] After being elevated to a university status in 2002, it has advanced into one of the top ten largest institution in Pakistan[4] with student body of over 12,000. It has 32 academic departments, segregated into five faculties. There are five research centers, focused on academic and industrial research and development projects. The university secured its second place in the general category by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2013.[5] It has the highest graduation rate in the country, with an average of 94.6% annually.[6][7]

Government College University is noted for its historical roots and attracted notable scholars such as poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Nobel laureates Har Gobind Khorana and Abdus Salam, former president of both the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, France's Prestwich Prize laureate in geosciences, Bilal U. Haq, laureate scholar and novelist duo of Bano Qudsia and Ashfaq Ahmed and many more to study and become alumnus of the institute.


Government College, Lahore circa 1880

Originally, the establishment of a central college in Lahore was sanctioned in 1856 by the British Raj, given that the teachers are from University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Dublin University HC or Durham University. Government College was founded in 1861 when it was "briefly affiliated"[8] by Brahma University[9] under the leadership of Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, professor of Arabic and Islamic Law at King's College London. It was not until 1 January 1864 that the college opened its doors in the Palace of Raja Dhyan Singh Haveli, inside Lahore's Walled City, where it was an affiliated college of Calcutta University.

In April 1871, the college moved to a large Bungalow near Anarkali Bazaar. In 1873, its location was again changed to another house called Rahim Khan's Kothi due to rapidly increasing student strength. It moved to its present building in 1876.

The first principal was Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, whose name is closely attached to the College. In 1882, Leitner was very instrumental in laying foundation of Punjab University, Lahore. Thereafter, the college would remain affiliated with Punjab University for 115 years. In 1997, Government of the Punjab gave Government College autonomy in all affairs and granted degree awarding status.[3]

In 2002, it was promoted to university status by Government of the Punjab; the word college was retained in its title for preserving its historical roots.[10]

Main Building, GCU


GCU's Iconic tower

Old Campus[edit]

Positioned in Downtown Lahore, it is located at the junction of The Mall, Lahore and the Lower Mall, surrounded by main business and administrative areas, schools, colleges and Punjab University old Campus. The main building was designed by W. Purdon and completed in 1877 at a cost of Rs. 320,000. In the center of the main building stands a 176' tall clock tower. Being built during the colonial era, the main building reflects the neo-Gothic tradition, with broad verandahs and elevated ceilings. A large ground accompanies the main building, alluded to as the "Oval Ground". In 2019, the ground was renamed to "The Leitner Oval", in honor of Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, first principal of the institute.[11] To meet with increasing number of students, several buildings and blocks have been commissioned which include a postgraduate block, new block for intermediate students and a bachelors' block which is accessible by the overhead bridge. The main campus is spread over 56 acres along the Anarkali Bazaar, one of the oldest surviving markets in Lahore.[12]

Kala Shah Kaku Campus[edit]

On 24 August 2019, Kala Shah Kaku campus of the university was inaugurated which is known as GCU KSK Campus. The campus is spread over 370 acres, able to house 25,000 students, 1250 teachers and 650 staff members. 22 hostels are available for accommodation.[13]

On 24 September, 2020, the new campus was formally opened to students. A bus shuttle service will operate between both campuses.[14]


Annual Dinner at GCU

The torch, as the crest of the university emblem, represents the light of knowledge. The motto "Courage to Know" represents the guiding principle of the student community.[15]



As seen from Oval Ground

The university offers degrees in Higher Secondary School Certificate (locally referred to as Intermediate), undergraduate and post-graduate studies. Intermediate classes are available, but they don't have their own department. It also offers 28 bachelor's degrees, 28 MS/ MPhil Degrees and 19 PhD degrees. These degrees are offered under the following faculties:

  • Faculty of Chemistry and Life Sciences[16]
  • Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences[17]
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences[18]
  • Faculty of Language, Islamic & Oriental Learning[19]
  • Faculty of Engineering[20]


The university has five autonomous/semi-autonomous, research-oriented institutes, focused on academic and industrial research and development projects. These institutes are:


The university has always been a research-led university, however in recent times it has shifted its focus towards quality output projects, which the university believes to be beneficial academically and industrially. Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) has been set up to manage all research issues. The objective of the office is to advance, diversify and manage all research programs and to uphold international standards of research.[22]

It receives research grants mostly from the foreign universities like Strathclyde University, Cranfield University, World Bank Researchers Alliance for Development and British Council and from national institutes and organizations like Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), PTCL, Higher Education Commission and Ministry of Science and Technology.[23]

Abdus Salam School for Mathematical Sciences[edit]

The Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS) is one of the largest mathematical research institutes in Pakistan.[24] The school was established in 2003 by Government of the Punjab under the aegis of Government College University.[25] The aim of the school is to train professional scientists to pursue the study of scientific and technological problems by mathematical methods and to undertake research in branches of mathematical sciences. Before the existence of school, Pakistani mathematicians opted to study abroad for postdoctoral fellowships, however an increasing number of PhD holders from foreign institutions are choosing this school to pursue their postdoctoral fellowships.[24]

At 2011, it was labeled as the first "Emerging Regional Center of Excellence" by the European Mathematical Society.[26]

It has taken steps to provide encouragement to Pakistani students in schools and colleges. These include:

  • The faculty at the Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences hosted training camps for students from schools and colleges. The participants of the camps are prepared for the national team of Pakistan to compete at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). In 2005, the national team of Pakistan took part for the first time in IMO. In 2007 Pakistan won the first medal at IMO and the first silver medal in 2012. It continued to train IMO team until 2014.
  • ASSMS organized mathematics contests (Mathematical Kangaroo) at the national level.


Dr. Abdus Salam who won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics.

There exist nine departmental chairs at the university, each in honor of a professor apropos to the department and their accomplishments in the said discipline. The following chairs have been announced and will be put into effect in near future.

The following six chairs have been established at the respective departments:

Abdus Salam Chair in Physics[edit]

The Abdus Salam Chair in Physics, named after the Pakistani theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Abdus Salam, is an honorary chair in physics at the university. Starting out as a semi-autonomous institute, it became operational in March 2000 with the efforts of Ishfaq Ahmad, a lifelong friend of Salam. In 2009, the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) donated Salam's original Nobel certificate to the Salam Chair in Physics. The former director of ICTP Dr. Katepalli R. Sreenivasan visited Lahore where he gifted the original Nobel certificate to the university's alma mater. The certificate reads: "for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter-alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current".[28]

It has been integrated into Department of Physics, where MPhil and PhD students carry out their research work.[29] Some of its achievements include: getting 52 research publications in international journals;[30] producing 6 PhD and 25 MPhil theses; the setting up of a Plasma Technology Lab; and contracting research grants from funding agencies and research centers such as the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL),[31] Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF)[32] and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR).[30]

Dr. Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry Chair in Experimental Physics[edit]

The Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry Chair in Experimental Physics was named after Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry, a renowned Pakistani nuclear physicist and a professor of particle physics at the university. He is widely regarded as having been the pioneer of experimental nuclear physics research in Pakistan.[33] During his tenure as professor at the university, he set up High Tension Laboratory there in 1952 (now amalgamated into Center for Advanced Studies in Physics CASP) where research anent to gaseous discharges, ion and electron impact phenomena, nuclear physics, radioactivity and cosmic rays is carried out.

The university set up the chair in recognition of his services to Pakistan and to Physics. Currently, post-graduate research work in Applied Physics is carried out here.[34]

Mahbub ul Haq, a Pakistani economist who devised the Human Development Index (HDI).[35]

Mahboob-ul-Haq Chair in Economics[edit]

The Mahboob-ul-Haq Chair in Economics is the latest addition to honorary chairs at the university, named after Mahbub ul Haq, a Pakistani economist, politician and international development theorist who served as the 13th Finance Minister of Pakistan.[36] While serving as the Special Advisor to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), he led the establishment of the Human Development Report (HDI) and the widely respected Human Development Index (HDI).[37] The Economist called him "one of the visionaries of international development."[38]

The university established the chair to recognize his services to Pakistan, its people and above all to the discipline of Economics.[39] Apart from post-graduate research in Economics, the chair is also in charge of publishing GCU Economics Journal an annual scholarly and peer-audited publication. Its intent is to act as a platform for researchers, professionals and students to share their achievements, their perspectives and practical experiences.[40]


The university has four hostels - three for boys and one for girls. Iqbal Hostel (built in 1891) and Quaid-e-Azam Hostel (built in 1993) accommodate about 150 and 200 Intermediate students, respectively. The New Hostel (built in 1937) houses about 400 Degree students. Girls Hostel (built in 1975) accommodates about 50 girl students. A Faculty Mess has been built for visiting family members, faculty and officers of the other universities. Lodging and messing facilities are available here.[41]

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni of the institute are called Ravians which is derived word from the name of the student magazine "Ravi", published by the administration of the college; the magazine name is inspired by the Ravi River.[42]



  1. ^ "Vice Chancellor's Welcome Note".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "About - GC University, Lahore". Government College University, Lahore. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b "About - GC University, Lahore". Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  4. ^ "GCU now ranks at #6 among the top nine universities of Pakistan". Daily Times. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ "HEC rankings". Higher Education Commission, Pakistan. Archived from the original on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Graduation at GCU". GC University, Lahore. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  7. ^ "GCU among top 10 universities of Pakistan". Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Delhi and Punjab: essays in history and historiography" (1995) N.Singh
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Government College University, Lahore Ordinance, 2002". Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  11. ^ "GCU Oval ground named after Dr. Leitner". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Historical Background". Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  13. ^ "GCU KSK Campus Opened For Academic Activities". The Academia. 26 August 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  14. ^ "GCU KSK campus becomes operational". Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  15. ^ "GCU Emblem". Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Faculty of Chemistry and Life Sciences". GC University, Lahore.
  17. ^ "Mathematical and Physical Sciences". GC University, Lahore.
  18. ^ "Arts & Social Sciences". GC University, Lahore.
  19. ^ "Languages, Islamic & Oriental Learning". GC University, Lahore.
  20. ^ "Faculty of Engineering". GC University, Lahore.
  21. ^ "GCU Academic Departments". Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) – GC University, Lahore". Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  23. ^ "GCU Research Publications". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  24. ^ a b "A Report on ASSMS" (PDF). Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences, Lahore. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  25. ^ "ASSMS - GC University, Lahore". Government College University, Lahore.
  26. ^ "Emerging Regional Center of Excellence". European Mathematical Society. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Chairs at GCU". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  28. ^ GCU houses Dr. Abdus Salam’s Nobel prize Archived 22 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Facilities, Dept. of Physics". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Research Fellowships Awarded". Government College University, Lahore. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  32. ^ "Research Grants Awarded". Government College University, Lahore. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  33. ^ Haq, Prof. M. Ikramul (27 January 2004). "Remembering Dr Rafi Chaudhry". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Dr. Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry Chair in Experimental Physics". Archived from the original on 7 March 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Mahbub ul Haq". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  37. ^ "Human Development | The Reports | Human Development Reports (HDR) | United Nations Development Program (UNDP)". 4 November 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  38. ^ "Mahbub ul Haq". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  39. ^ "Mahboob-ul-Haq Chair in Economics". Archived from the original on 9 February 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  40. ^ "Publications: GCU Economic Journal". Archived from the original on 17 January 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  41. ^ "Accommodation at GCU". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  42. ^ GCU. "Old Ravian Union". Old Ravian Union. Retrieved 9 September 2013.

External links[edit]