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University College of Science, Technology and Agriculture

University College of Science, Technology and Agriculture
বিজ্ঞান কলেজ
Main entrance to the college
Established27 March 1914; 110 years ago (27 March 1914)
FounderAshutosh Mukherjee
ChancellorGovernor of West Bengal
Vice-ChancellorAsis Kumar Chattopadhyay[1]
92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Rajabazar, Kolkata - 700009, West Bengal Annex : JD-2, Sector-III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata-700106, West Bengal.

35, Ballygunge Circular Road, Ballygunge, Kolkata - 700026, West Bengal
NicknameScience College,
Calcutta College of Science,
University College of Science
AffiliationsUGC, NAAC, AIU, AICTE

The University College of Science, Technology and Agriculture (commonly or formerly known as Rashbehari Siksha Prangan & Taraknath Palit Siksha Prangan or Rajabazar Science College & Ballygunge Science College) are two of five main campuses of the University of Calcutta (CU). The college served as the cradle of Indian Sciences by winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 and many fellowships of the Royal Society London.[3]


C.U. alumni : Seated (L to R): Meghnad Saha, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Jnan Chandra Ghosh. Standing (L to R): Snehamoy Dutt, Satyendranath Bose, Debendra Mohan Bose, NR Sen, Jnanendra Nath Mukherjee, N C Nag
The Calcutta University by Francis Frith

Despite the fact that the Presidency College at Calcutta witnessed great scientific research by Jagadish Chandra Bose and Prafulla Chandra Ray in the last decade of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th century, first organised scientific research at Calcutta University began with the establishment of its University College of Science and Technology in March 1914. A galaxy of Indian scientists joined the Chairs set up with the income of the endowments of nearly thirty seven and half lakhs rupees donated by Sir Taraknath Palit and Sir Rashbehari Ghosh who were associated with the National Education Movement in Bengal since the Indian Universities Act of 1904-5 and the partition of Bengal in 1905.

The first group of faculties included Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Ganesh Prasad, Sisir Kumar Mitra and the legendary 1915 M.Sc. batch comprising Satyendranath Bose, Meghnad Saha, Jnan Chandra Ghosh, Jnanendra Nath Mukherjee among others.[3] The holders of the Chairs often worked under great financial constraints and with whatever apparatus was locally available in Calcutta. Yet their scientific research was soon to put Calcutta University on the map of World Recognition. The science that developed at Calcutta University in colonial India was not a colonial science, as it was hardly supported by any large scale imperial funds and was solely meant for "The promotion and diffusion of scientific and technical education for the cultivation and advancement of science, both pure and applied among Indians".[4]

Science in Calcutta University before 1914

One reason why Calcutta University could not develop a research programme in science earlier than 1914 was partly because of a great handicap inherent in its constitution and partly because of the paucity of funds needed for the development of such an institute at the post-graduation level. Till the end of 19th century Calcutta University remained mainly an examination body fed by a number of affiliated colleges which actually did teaching and which were dispersed from Shimla and Mussorie to Indore and Jaipur, and from Jaffna and Batticaloa to Sylhet and Chittagong. In these colleges there was hardly any provision for teaching of science courses with the exception of three colleges each in Civil Engineering and Medicine, all the 85 colleges in British India by 1882 were teaching courses in liberal arts leading to matriculation, F.A., B.A., Honours and M.A. Career in India was never virtually open to talents, through the principle had been asserted time and again in the Charter Act of 1883 and the Queen's Proclamation of 1858 after the Mutiny to allay fear, suspecion and distrust. In those days agriculture, manufacturing and commerce offered little to no incentives and was almost impossible to initiate without proper skills, capital and equality of terms with which it could compete with the European industry. Such discontenment among the educated unemployed gave rise to militant nationalism threatening the existence of very British Raj in India. Higher education in India was singled out as the root for all evils. So to curb this growing distress, Lord Curzon (then Viceroy of India) passed the Indian University Act in 1904 based on the recommendation of the Indian University Commission in 1902. While the various recommendations of the Commission to enable the Raj to control higher education in India were not strictly relevant here, some at least relating to the creation of new courses in science became important. The commission for the first time suggested the creation of the Faculty of Science and Technology in addition to the faculties of Arts, Law, Medicine and Civil Engineering previously offered by Calcutta University. Thus Bachelor of Science(B.Sc.) and Master of Science(M.Sc.) courses were introduced for first time in India. The commission also recommended the award of Doctor of Science(D.Sc.) degree which is to be given to a M.Sc. after some years spent in original investigations.

When Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee became the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University in 1906, seized the Indian University Act of 1904-5 and converted the university from an examination body to a teaching university which will not only start post graduate degrees in Humnanities, English, Sanskrit, Pali, Arabic, Persian, Mental & Moral Phyilosophy, History, Economics and Mathematics but also establish chairs in some of them with financial support from the government by 1912. But for seven years, Mookerjee struggled hard to establish postgraduate teaching and research in Science and Technology despite his best intentions. The paucity of funds and accommodations were deplorable which meant that even if there were men, there was no accommodation laboratories, workshops, museums, equipments etc. In Presidency College a small room measuring 35'6" by 25'6" was available to be used as a laboratory room, preparation room and as well as a practical room for biology and physiology classes, whereas a large number of B.A. students did not get the opportunity of having a regular course of practical training.[4]

Establishment of the University College of Science and Technology

In these circumstances, Calcutta University was pleasantly surprised to receive the princely gifts of Sir Taraknath Palit, an eminent barrister and advocate of national education during the Anti-Partition movement(1905). In June and October 1912, he donated total assets of fourteen and a half lakh rupees which included his own dwelling house. His donations were made over to the university for the advancement of Science and Technology and were used to maintain the income of endowment of Physics and Chemistry Chair and also to institute scholarships to distinguished graduates of Calcutta University for higher studies. The university had to provide "from its own funds" suitable lecture rooms, libraries, museums, laboratories, workshops and other facilities for teaching and research. As the funds provided by the University was not fully adequate, Mookerjee approached the Government of India for financial support, which was rejected by Henry Sharp who was the joint secretary in department of education. The opposition of Sharp mainly emanated from his dislike of Calcutta University which he considered will become a non-political body with strong prejudice against the white men and the Europeans. He said, "To give this money to this place is to give money to the cause which will embarrass ourselves. The money will go to political ends rather than to truly educational ends."

In August 1913, Sir Rashbehari Ghosh, an eminent jurist and scholar, in a letter to Asutosh Mookerjee placed in the hands of the University "a sum of ten lakh rupees" as per the conditions of his gift, there were to be established four chairs - one each for Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Botany, with special reference to Agriculture, and eight studentships to be awarded to the distinguished graduates of this University "to carry on investigation" under the guidance of a professor. Both Palit and Ghosh wanted promotion and diffusion of scientific and technical education among their countrymen by indigenous agency and with the money now available through their endowments, Mookerjee could now launch his projected dream. Thus four days before the expiry of the fourth term of his Vice-Chancellorship, Mookerjee laid the founding stone of the University College of Science and Technology on 27 March 1914 hoping fervently that "although the College of Science and Technology is an integral part of the University of Calcutta, it will be regarded not as a provincial but as an all-India college of Science and Technology to which students will flock from every corner of the Indian Empire, attracted by the excellence of the instruction imparted and of the facilities provided for research."

The influence of the teachings of Raja Rammohan Roy on the importance of education broadly based on science and technology impressed a group of newly graduated scientists S.N. Bose, Jnan Chandra Ghosh, M.N. Saha, N.R. Sen, P.C. Mahalanobis, S.K. Mitra and Jnanendranath Mukherjee. Sir Asutosh Mukherjee believed in young talents, selected promising young men and appointed them straightaway as lecturers in post graduate classes of newly formed Sc. College and provided them research facilities also. He was the first and perhaps the last to establish a centre of academic studies at the University stage with distinct atmosphere of learning and scholarships and appointed some of the best men available in the country as University Professor or Lecturers.

The establishment of the Calcutta University College of Science and Technology signals the beginning of outstanding research in some branches of science and applied science, which put India on the map of World Recognnition. A galaxy of Indian Scientists joined the departments set up with the income of edowments donated by Palit and Ghosh and began their work in Science with whatever apparatus available in India and soon made their mark in their chosen fields. Palit Chairs in Physics and Chemistry and Ghosh Chairs in Applied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Botany were soon filled up after the formal establishment of the University College of Science and Technology in March 1914.[4]

Keys to the Start of Outstanding Research in "Non-Colonial" Science in Colonial India

The establishment of Chairs in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Zoology and Botany was the start of outstanding research and teaching by dedicated Indian Scientists. Sir Asutosh Mookerjee who became the first president of the first session of the Indian Science Congress at Calcutta, where nearly a hundred scientists met on 26 January 1914, took great care to identify the right talent for the right post from different parts of India in science as in humanities and was able to attribute to the "University College of Science and Technology" as a true national character. No nation could live solely upon the achievements of its past or upon its borrowing from others, and at the same time hoped to retain its place among the great people of the Earth. Besides advancing the frontiers of knowledge, the work by the Indian Scientists at the University College of Science and Technology not only helped in increasing the wealth of the country but also succeeded in drawing attention of the scientific world. The dedication and devotion with which the Indian Scientists at the University College of Science and Technology began their work to explain the many unknown phenomena can only remind us of the zeal and enthusiasm with which William Jones and his choice band of thirty elite Englishmen in 1783-84 had begun their investigations into "the history and antiquities, arts, sciences and literature of Asia."

Despite the fact that the University College of Science and Technology was a department of Calcutta University set up as a part of the colonial educational despatch of 1854. there had been no substantial financial support from the British Raj to encourage the Indian Scientists in their works presumably under the idea that Indian brains were not suitable for scientific research despite great promise shown by Jagadish Chandra Bose and Prafulla Chandra Ray at the Presidency College years before the foundation of the University College of Science and Technology. Of the total expenditure of rupees 1,813,959 of the University College of Science and Technology between March 1914 and March 1922, the Government of India's contributions from public funds was a meagre rupees 1, 20, 000 only. Yet in spite of these financial contraints and difficulties none of the scientists left for better position in imperial organisations. Instead classic example was provided by Prafulla Chandra Ray who when re-appointed Palit Professor for 5 years after reaching the age of superannuation donated his full monthly salary for the entire period for the special benefit of his department which was "proud to acknowledge him as its leader". During this difficult time, there had been "a steady output of original work rapidly increasing in volume and improving in quality which emanated not from one or two extraordinarily isolated or exceptionally gifted workers blessed with special advantages and facilities, but from a large body of able and devoted scholars". No doubt, the scientists at the University College of Science and Technology sowed the seeds of many a promising project which were to bear fruits in the post-independence years. The University College of Science and Technology was indeed as oasis of scienctific research in India since 1914.[4]

Sir C.V. Raman, A Palit Professor of Sc. College made this revolutionary discovery on the "Scattering of Light" which is known as The Raman Effect. He announced his discovery on February 28, 1928 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, the day widely celebrated as the National Science Day in India. Sir Jnan Chandra Ghosh became the first director of the newly created IIT in 1951 (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur).[5] Sir J.C. Ghosh also was the second person to be associated with Sc. College (after Sir CV Raman) who became the director of IISc (Indian Institute of Science). Prof. A.P.C Ray founded the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Work and he along with prof. Hemendra Kumar Sen established the department of Applied Chemistry in Sc. College in 1920. Prof. S.K. Mitra, the pioneer of Radio Science in India founded the department of Radio Physics and Electronics which Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (then chief minister of Bengal) laid the founding stone of, on April 21, 1949.[6]

Notable scholars associated with Science college include one Nobel Laureate in Physics, two National Award winning "Film Directors", at least twenty-five Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Laureates, six Royal Society of London Fellows and several British Knighthood title holders and Padma Awardees.[citation needed]



Subject rankings
General – international
QS (World) (2021)[7]451-500 (Chemistry)
451-500 (Physics)
Times (World) (2021)[8]601-800 (Engineering)
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2021)[9]11
NIRF (Universities) (2021)[10]4
Outlook India (Universities) (2020)[11]6


Science college campus houses few of country's oldest applied science departments like applied physics, applied chemistry and Institute of Radio-Physics and Electronics. The college is also responsible for introducing degrees like M.Sc. and D.Sc. for first time in India.[4] The Faculty of Engineering and Technology arm of Science college is the second oldest in West Bengal after IIEST Shibpur(Formerly B.E. College affiliated to Calcutta University).

The departments are as follows:

  • Radio Physics & Electronics (Electronics and Communication Engineering)
  • Applied Physics (Electrical Engineering, Instrumentation Engineering and Department of Applied Optics and Photonics)
  • Faculty of Agriculture, comprising six departments
  • Applied Optics and Photonics (Optics and Opto Electronics Engineering)-----a derivative of Department of Applied Physics .
  • Pure Mathematics
  • Applied Chemistry (Polymer Science & Technology, Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Marine Science
  • Zoology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Electronic Science
  • Psychology & Applied Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Geology
  • Neuroscience
  • Genetics
  • Environmental Science
  • Botany
  • Statistics
  • Biophysics, Molecular Biology & Bioinformatics.

From 2015 onwards, the department of CSE (Computer Science and Engineering), A.K. Chowdhury School of IT (Information Technology) and OOE (Optics and Opto Electronics Engineering) has been shifted to the annex at Technology Campus in Salt Lake, (Address : JD-2, Sector-III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata-700106).

Degrees being offered are:


The University College of Science and Technology has 172 principal investigators and around 1,500 research students.[13] On average, 250 PhDs are awarded every year and around 750 research papers were published in 2011. Fifteen national and international patents have been filed so far by science and technology departments of chemical engineering, polymer science, radio-physics and electronics, applied physics, physiology, biotechnology and biochemistry. The proportion of teaching activity and research at the university is “50:50”. The University has signed high number of MoU with different institutes across the globe.

The university is currently linked with over 50 institutions of higher learning across the globe and the UK-India Education Research Initiative awarded £30,000 to CU's department of radio physics and the University of Sheffield for collaborative research on photonics and biomedical applications. The track record of Calcutta University science graduates at all-India competitive exams such as UGC-CSIR NET (Centre for Science and Industrial Research National Eligibility Test) and Jest (Joint Entrance Screening Test) for admission to premier research institutes in India has also been commendable. And CU alumni are at the helm in several Indian research organisations.[13]

The Technology Faculty of this University is supported by TEQIP Phase 3 project of MHRD and has been working as the mentoring institute for Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Sarang, Odisha and Jorhat Engineering College, Assam. The University also received fund of INR 5 Crore from Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for Infrastructure development. After successful completion the university received another fund of INR 50 Crore from RUSA 2.0 for project (INR 35 Crore) and Manpower & Entrepreneurship Development for project (INR 15 Crore). Different department of the University have received many funds from India and abroad for conducting research, manpower development etc. The university has many collaborations with industrial bodies for conducting joint research.

Based on research publication output in SCOPUS International Data for a period of 10-years University of Calcutta/ Rajabazar Sc. College along with CRNN(Centre for Research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) has been granted funds by several government agencies under R&D Infrastructure Division of Ministry of Science and Technology like DST-PURSE (Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence) and FIST (Fund for Improvement of Science and Technology)[14]

Notable alumni

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Notable faculty


  1. ^ "Bengal appoints CU pro-vice chancellor Asis Chattopadhyay as interim VC". The Financial Express 12:28:52 pm. 21 October 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  2. ^ "campus-area". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b "About UCSTA College Website". UCSTA. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e [bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. "Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics | (IRPE)". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  7. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Top 1000 World University Rankings 2021". Times Higher Education. 2020.
  9. ^ "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2021 (Overall)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Education. 9 September 2021.
  10. ^ "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2021 (Universities)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Education. 9 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Top 75 Universities In India In 2020". Outlook India. 8 October 2020. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Rajabazar_Science_College_campus". Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  13. ^ a b "The Science Factory". 30 October 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence(PURSE) | Department Of Science & Technology". 9 October 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Department of Applied Mathematics". Archived from the original on 7 April 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2020.

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University College of Science, Technology and Agriculture
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