The University of Madras (Tamil: சென்னைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்; informally known as Madras University) is a public state university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Established in 1857, it is one of the oldest and premier universities in India. The university was incorporated by an act of the Legislative Council of India.
It is a collegiate research university and has six campuses in the city viz., Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Maduravoyal and Chetpet. The university has 68 teaching and research departments grouped under 18 schools, covering languages, humanities, science, technology and medicine.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has conferred 'five star' accreditation to the university and it has been given the status of 'University with Potential for Excellence' by the University Grants Commission.
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 Wood's despatch, 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), Dr. M.G.R. Medical University (1989), Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (1989), Periyar University (1997) and 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.
Between 1926 and 1939, the university published the comprehensive Tamil Lexicon dictionary, which is the first among the dictionaries published in any Indian language.
Address: Chepauk, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600005
Phone: 044 2539 9422