Located in the city of Aligarh in northern India, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was originally established by social reformer Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College.
In the aftermath of the 1857 Indian War of Independence, the College was built on Khan’s conviction that education should be made available to Muslim students.
His vision was influenced by a previous trip to England in which he was introduced to the British university system of Oxford and Cambridge. He made it his mission to build a college in India in line with the British education system but which incorporated Islamic values.
The modern-day AMU offers over 300 degrees and is organised around 12 faculties offering courses in a range of technical and vocational subjects, as well as interdisciplinary subjects. In 2011, it opened two new centres in West Bengal and Kerala for the study of MBAs and Integrated Law.
The university has around 28,000 students and a faculty of almost 1,500 teaching staff. One of the distinctive features of the university is its residential community, where students and staff live alongside each other in hostels and halls of residence.
Students are drawn from all states in India and several different countries, with most of its international students coming from Africa, West Asia and Southeast Asia. The university prides itself on being open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender, and claims an institution ‘built upon diversity’.
Courses are mainly taught in English although some degrees are taught in other languages.
Outside the lecture halls, AMU has a long tradition of producing successful sports teams and students are encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities including cricket, football, hockey, tennis, basketball, skating and horse riding. Arts and cultural pursuits on campus include music, drama and literature.