Utkal University is a public institution in Bhubaneswar, Khordha, Odisha. It is the state's oldest university and India's 17th oldest. It is a teaching and research university. The current Vani Vihar campus is situated on a 399.9-acre plot in the center of Bhubaneswar.
The university currently features twenty-seven postgraduate teaching and research departments on campus, including the Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education and the University Law College at Vani Vihar. Apart from ordinary courses, the university's P.G. Council offers twenty-six sponsored courses under its direct academic administration. The university is centrally positioned in the city. The airport is 5 kilometers away, and the train station is 3 kilometers away. To the north is the Sainik School. To the east lies the Mancheswar industrial region.
Following Odisha's secession from Bihar and the founding of the new province of Odisha in April 1936, there was a significant desire among the state's leaders to create a distinct university in Odisha. All colleges were under the administration of Patna University or Andhra University till 1936. On March 2, 1938, the government of Odisha, led by Shri Biswanath Das, created a committee chaired by Pandit Nilakantha Das to investigate the idea of creating a separate university in Odisha. The recommendation of this committee was made public under the premiership of Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, who was a pioneer in the formation of the university. The Utkal University Bill was introduced by Pandit Godavarish Mishra, the then minister of education in the Odisha government, and was enacted by the Odisha Legislative Assembly on June 30, 1943. The Utkal University Act 1943 became effective after getting Governor's approval on August 2, 1943, paving the path for the university's founding on November 27, 1943.
That Act was abolished in 1966, and a new Utkal University Act was written, which took effect on January 1, 1967. Utkal University began operations at Ravenshaw College before establishing its own Vani Vihar campus in Bhubaneswar. Even after Odisha and Bihar were separated in 1936, Ravenshaw College remained connected with Patna University; the affiliation was eventually moved to the newly formed Utkal University in 1943. Ravenshaw College, in reality, was the one that conceived, nurtured, and nourished the new institution. It was housed in Ravenshaw College's current Zoology Department building. For postgraduate instruction, the university provides a variety of departments ranging from Anthropology to Zoology. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India's first President, laid the foundation stone for the current campus on January 1, 1958, and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India's second President, inaugurated it on January 2, 1963.
Evolution of the Undergraduate and & Postgraduate departments
The original Utkal University Act of 1943 did not precisely define the university's territorial jurisdiction. However, an agreement between the rulers of these princely states and the Government of Odisha expanded its jurisdiction to include the princely states of Odisha. The agreement provided for adequate representation of princely states in the university's administrative and academic bodies. In 1947, the Utkal University Act was amended to define the university's territorial authority, which was then expanded to include the entire state of Odisha in 1950.
The Rural Economics and Sociology Research Department was founded in 1956, and Postgraduate studies in Applied Economics began in 1963. The Department of Analytical and Applied Economics was renamed after that. Around the same period, a campaign to establish regional institutions began in several districts of Odisha.
Two other universities were established on the committee's recommendation: one in Sambalpur and the other in Berhampur. As a result, the Utkal University Act 1943 was appropriately changed to reflect the new reality. The two new universities in Sambalpur and Berhampur were established on January 1, 1967, the same day that the new Utkal University Act went into effect. The new legislation revised Utkal University's authority, which formerly embraced the entire state of Odisha. Following the foundation of the two new universities, the state government assumed control of the evening colleges in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, and Berhampur. Burla Engineering College was transferred to Sambalpur University. From 1966-to 69, Utkal University established a few more postgraduate departments at its new Vani Vihar campus, including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Oriya, and English. In 1970, the Department of Sociology and Labour Welfare was established, and in 1974, it was divided into two departments: Sociology and Labour Welfare.
In 1977, the Department of Geology, previously housed in Ravenshaw College, was relocated to Vani Vihar. The Departments of Library and Information Science and the Departments of Political Science and Business Administration were established in 1981 and 1984, respectively, in addition to the 27 normal postgraduate programs. Initially, a computer center was built with various university departments. The University Grants Commission donated IBM-1130 computers in 1970, which were later replaced by the WIPRO LANDMARK system at the cost of Rs. 16 lakh provided later by the University Grants Commission.
The institution introduced the integrated MCA course in 1999, a 5-year post-graduation program following the 12th (10+2) standard. This course was quite popular since students who completed it were placed with multinational corporations.
The M.Sc. in Computer Science program, founded in 2001 and is based on an admission selection test, began in 2001. This course has been a major success with a strong student base, a modern course structure, and a strong placement track record. Prior graduate-level Computer Science degrees were required of all enrolled students.
The M.Sc. in Biotechnology program is sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi, established in 2002. Prof. G. B. N. Chainy, previous Head of Utkal University's Department of Zoology and Biotechnology, created the department. This department provides Ph.D. and M.Sc. programs in a variety of biotechnology subjects. To facilitate the research, most current biochemical and molecular instrumentation equipment are accessible.
The postgraduate department of Zoology is one of the university's oldest departments. The department provides P.G., M.Phil., and Ph.D. courses and a self-financed 2-year M.Sc. in Fisheries. Several prominent zoologists have led the department, and its research is one of the university's major outputs. People have published their findings in well-known journals, including Nature, Comparative Biochemistry, and Physiology. This one has the most foreign publications among all of the university's departments. Prof. GBN Chainy, Prof. SK Dutta, and Prof. SP Bhuyna are among the leading writers.
The campus is located in the center of Bhubaneswar, on Vanivihar NH-16. The major train station in Master Canteen and the bus terminal in Baramunda are about 5 kilometers away. The campus houses all postgraduate departments as well as the law school.
Residential Student Hall
The university provides separate housing for male and female students. Gopabandhu Chatrabas, Madhusudan Chhatrabas, and Fakir Mohan Chhatrabas, Godabarish Chhatrabas, Nilakantha Chhatrabas, and Acharya Harihar Chhatrabas are among the men's dormitories.
Academics and Co-curricular Facility
The university's central library is known as the "Parija Library," after prominent botanical scientist Prana Krushna Parija. The Utkal University Online Education Centre, also known as DDCE UTKAL UNIVERSITY, is well-known in Odisha for providing high-quality distance education. It provides B.A. and M.A. degree programs in disciplines like Odia, Political Science, Hindi, Education, and English.
Ranking and Accreditation
In 2021, the (NIRF) ranked Utkal University as the 87th best university. In the second cycle, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council gave Utkal University an A+ Grade with a CGPA of 3.53 on a scale of 4.
The university now has jurisdiction over 9 districts, viz, Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, and Puri.