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U.G.C. and Serampore College

University Grants Commission and Serampore College (University)

As University Grants Commission Act of 1956 came into being, the Senate of Serampore College enquired from the Secretary of the University Grants Commission with regards to the continued recognition of Serampore College (University) entitling it to confer degrees in accordance with its present Charter and the Act. In response to this, the University Grants Commission, in 1958, noted that as Serampore College was functioning as a University in the Faculty of Divinity under a Bengal Legislation (Act No. IV of 1918) it was not necessary to deem it to be a University under Section 3 of the U.G.C. Act. The Commission also noted that the Theological degrees granted by Serampore College had not been included among the degrees to be notified by the Commission under Section 22 (3) of the U.G.C. Act and that therefore there would be no bar to the College continuing to award these degrees.

The University Grants Commission also took the view that, as the Serampore College in the Faculty of Theology is functioning under the Act of Bengal Legislature, it is a legally constituted body of University standing entitled to give its own degrees in Theology. Students of Serampore College in the Faculty of Theology are, therefore, entitled to all the privileges of students in any of the other universities and colleges in India.

The Commission also communicated, and certified to the College that the name of Serampore College, Hooghly is included in the list of Colleges maintained under Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956 under the head of Non-Government Colleges teaching up to Bachelor’s Degree.

UGC Letter to Serampore College



UGC Act-1956 (Relevant section)

2 (f)     “University” means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act.

12.B    (Prohibition regarding giving of any grant to a University not declared by the Commission fit to receive such grant)

No grant shall be given by the Central Government, the Commission, or any other organisation receiving any funds from the Central Government, to a University which is established after the commencement of the University Grants Commission (Amendment) Act, 1972, unless the Commission has, after satisfying itself as to such matters as may be prescribed, declared such University to be fit for receiving such grant.]



In addition to the universities mentioned above, mentioned must also be made of two other institutions which have university standing.  Serampore College (near Calcutta), founded in 1818 by European missionaries received in 1827 a Royal Charter from King Frederick VI of Demark (to who Serampore then belonged) and this was confirmed by the British government in 1845.  But the charter was not utilized till 1915 when degrees in Divinity were granted for the first time.  The position now is that in the Faculties of Arts and Science Serampore College is affiliated to Calcutta University, but in the Faculty of Theology the College functions as an independent University.

The Sreemati Nathibai Damoder Thckersey Indian Women’s University (usually known as ‘Women’s University’) was founded in 1916 to provide an education ‘specially suited to the needs and requirements of women’.  The University has now received a charter from the Government of Bombay and awards its own degrees which are different from the degrees of the other universities.

Dr. Marali Manohar Joshi,

Honorable Minister, Human Resource Development, Government of India at UNESCO Conference, Paris, 1998


The UGC Act has a provision which prohibits any institution from awarding degrees unless it is established under an act of Parliament or a State Legislature, or is specially empowered to award degrees through legislation, or is deemed to be a university under the UGC Act. The first institution to be given the status of a university was Serampore College, near Calcutta, in 1829.

The first three universities established in India in 1857 at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were “affiliating universities” following the model of the London University. Later, Allahabad University, which has completed one hundred years, was established as a unitary university. In this dispensation, the universities prescribed the courses of study, held examinations and awarded degrees, while all instruction was imparted by the colleges.


Serampore College, Serampore in West Bengal was established in July 1818 by William Carey, a British Missionary, when Serampore was a part of a Danish colony.  King Frederick VI of Denmark granted a Royal Charter giving Serampore College the status of a University to confer degrees. With the establishment of Calcutta University in 1857 the Arts, Science and commerce stream of the College were affiliated to the Calcutta university.  However the College continues to enjoy the privilege of conferring degrees in theology under the power vested by the Charter and Act of Serampore College. It is a private Grant-in-aid minority College.  The College is recognized by the University Grant Commission under section 2 (f) and 12(b) of the UGC Act, 1956.


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