The University of Calcutta was modelled on the University of London when it was founded in 1857. Initially, the university was an overarching examining body, with all teaching taking place at affiliated colleges.
Today the institution has 10 campuses spread across the city and its suburbs. It has departments in agricultural science; arts; commerce, social welfare and business management; education, journalism and library science; engineering and technology; fine arts, music and home science; law; and science. It is also home to a centre on the study of Mahatma Gandhi.
India’s first college for women – the Bethune College, which was established in 1879 – is affiliated to the University of Calcutta. The university is also connected to Asia’s first medical school, the Calcutta Medical College, and India’s first science college. Asutosh Museum of Indian Art – the first public museum at an Indian higher education institution – launched in 1937.
Three Nobel laureates are associated with the institution: Rabindranath Tagore, professor of Bengali, won the literature prize in 1913; Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, professor of physics, won the physics prize in 1930; and Amartya Sen, former student of economics, won the prize for economic sciences in 1998.
In 2006 the university launched a Centre for Research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, while in 2007 it established the Centre for Studies in Book Publishing and the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. Its newest centre – the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies – was founded in 2010.
The University of Calcutta is situated in the city of Kolkata, the capital of the West Bengal state.