A public affiliated university, with a wide range of affiliates spread across the state of Andhra Pradesh, Acharya Nagarjuna University's underlying purpose is to enable postgraduate study close to home for students from the southern coastal region of the state. It operates under the motto "everything is established in truth".
While it does run undergraduate courses, particularly through nearly 400 affiliates, it continues to be defined by postgraduate work, and in particular two-year masters courses. Ten such courses were offered in 1976 when it attained university status, nine years after being founded as a branch of Andhra University.
Divided between colleges of arts and science, a total of 47 options are now offered – 39 from the main campus at Namburu, on National Highway 16 north of Guntur City, and four each from satellite centres at Nuzvid and Ongole. Recent additions include courses in Hindi and tourism and travel, while it was one of three universities in the state chosen in 2015 to run courses in Japanese.
Research centres focus on disaster mitigation, women’s studies, scientific socialism, Afro-Asian philosophies, social policy and Mahayama Buddhism, of which Acharya Nagarjuna, who lived in the second and third centuries, was a co-founder. A National Legal Research Centre is at the planning stage.
While rooted in ancient traditions, ANU also has a taste for cutting-edge modernity shown in the experimental creation of a blockchain-based "ANU University Token" to enable students to pay for food, books and tuition. Much of the campus is powered by solar energy following the creation of a pilot generation scheme.