The University of Kerala was founded as the University of Travancore in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (now southern part of Kerala and some neighbouring parts of state of Tamilnadu) in 1937. During the 7 decades since the University of Kerala grew and shrunk physically and transformed itself in many ways. It is difficult to summarise what the Kerala University is in a brief space.
The University of Travancore was established in 1937 by a promulgation of the Maharajah of Travancore, Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma who was also the first Chancellor of the University. Sir C. P Ramaswamy Ayyar, the then Diwan (Prime minister) of the State was the first Vice-Chancellor. He was an eminent scholar and an able administrator. It is said the Government made an unsuccessful attempt to invite Albert Einstein to be the first Vice-Chancellor. The University was modelled after the best Universities of the United Kingdom, and even today retains some of these features. The affiliating system of the University however evolved to be different from the college system in British Universities. At present, the University has sixteen faculties and forty one departments of teaching and research in addition to study centres and other departments.
Teaching, Research and Knowledge extension are the mandate of the Departments. They primarily focus on post-graduate (masters) programmes, MPhil programmes (1-year research degree) and doctoral research. In 2007, the University awarded over 100 PhDs. (University’s research activities are also going on in select affiliated colleges and other recognised research centres in and outside the state The University has also a number of study centres in specialised areas such as Nano-technology, Kerala Studies, Bioinformatics, Womens Studies, Learning Difficulties, Sree Narayana Studies, Gandhian Studies etc. The University has over 150 affiliated colleges.