Mahatma Gandhi University, one of the four affiliating Universities in Kerala, is the premier educational institution that strives to fulfill the higher educational needs of the people of Central Kerala. Set over 100-acre Priyadarsini Hills Campus at Athirampuzha, 13 kms off Kottayam, the University also has ten satellite campuses. The University was established on 2nd October 1983 and has jurisdiction over the revenue districts of Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki and parts of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha. The University that conducts a range of programmes at the undergraduate, postgraduate, M Phil and doctoral levels through its 18 University Departments, 1 International Inter University Centre, 6 Inter University Centres, 8 Inter School Centres, 36 Self-Financing Departments, 75 Aided Affiliated Colleges (of which five colleges have become autonomus), 220 Unaided Affiliated Colleges and 273 Recognized Research Centers. It imparts education in the interdisciplinary as well as conventional disciplines of science, social science and humanities besides in the professional disciplines of Engineering, Technology, Legal Studies, Management, Tourism, Disability Studies, Journalism, Pedagogy, Pharmacy and Nursing. The University has also made its educational presence felt through a chain of 122 Off-campus Centres under the School of Distance Education.
From its inception, Mahatma Gandhi University has made immense strides in the fields of inter disciplinary teaching and research. All teaching programmes conducted by the varsity are under the Credit and Semester System (CSS), and are marked by their innovative curricula and their learner-oriented approaches. CSS is a student-friendly system that fosters interactive acquisition of knowledge in a multi-disciplinary context. The students are made familiar with the latest developments in their subjects of study. The University has always promoted the healthy practice of designing and revising its curricula and syllabi through discussions and deliberations in a democratic way among the members of the academic community. The faculty of the University comprises outstanding scholars, many of whom have made original contributions in their respective fields of specialization. The faculty and research scholars of several departments have gained widespread recognition for the commendable quality of their research publications. The research journals published by some of the Schools have garnered international recognition.
The University's adoption of interdisciplinarity as the basic conceptual plank for the organization of individual statutory departments is prompted by the understanding that interdisciplinary knowledge is path-breaking, far reaching and non-linear in its effect, compared to what conventional forms of knowledge are capable of doing within the confines of discrete disciplines. Appreciating the trend of several non-conventional areas of knowledge emerging across physical, natural and social sciences, the University has chosen to organize its academic departments as interdisciplinary schools where multiple disciplines co-exist and interact with one another. The organizational practice of creating institutions of interdisciplinary knowledge itself has been a great learning experience for the academics in Mahatma Gandhi University. The University has initiated the constitution of Centres of Convergence around integrated knowledge areas by way of inter school, Inter University and International Inter University Centres. Knowledge generated beyond disciplines and across interfaces is strikingly fresh, regenerative and convergent.
At present Mahatma Gandhi University offers research programmes in forty disciplines through its own Schools as well as through its approved research centres. The University has close collaboration for academic,research and extension programmes with a number of national agencies and institutions including the UGC, FIST, DRS, ISRO, COSIT, DIT, DST, Nano Mission, CSIR, DAAD, STEC, ICMR, BARC, MOEF, ICCR, ICHR, IED, IIFT, Institute of Chinese Studies and the Sahitya Akademi. The University is also involved in active collaboration with research institutions of international reputation such as the Max Planck Institute of Technology, Germany, Brown University, USA,University of Nantes, France, California Institute of Technology, USA, University of Toronto, Canada, Catholic University, Belgium, Heidelberg University, Germany, and the Institute of Political Studies, Rennes, France, Trent University,Canada, IPF Dresden, Germany, University of Paris and University of Strasbourg.
Some of the members of the faculty have proved to be frontrunners in the development of indigenous technologies and are holders of as many as twenty two patents, including four from the US. A considerable percentage of the alumni of the University are comfortably placed in the country and abroad as academics, scientists and professionals.
A host of innovative scholarships have been introduced for the benefit of the learners titled ASPIRE, INSPIRE,THANMA, ACQUIRE, besides promoting the artistic, literary, cultural, sports, service, differently abled students through appropriate schemes. The scholarships provide opportunities for potential students to pursue short term studies at postgraduate or research level in Institutions of Higher Learning, in areas of their interest. INSPIRE is the flagship programme of Government of India to attract bright minds to basic sciences right from school level to doctoral level. In order to provide opportunities for the students to get deeper insight into their subjects of study Erudite Scholarin-Residence programme was also initiated in which several Nobel Laureates and other academics of comparable eminence are invited for direct interaction with them.
Mahatma Gandhi University's academic growth during the past has been phenomenal in terms of the number of new academic initiatives launched, curricular revisions undertaken, research grants received, research collaborations entered into, extension activities organized, research papers published, national and international seminars hosted, student support programmes conducted, quality enhancement measures initiated, infra structural support generated, resource mobilization, and distinctions and achievements acquired. The University is quite prominently placed on the academic map through academic and research partnering with leading universities and research institutions of repute. In the overall ranking process of the Indian Universities by, Mahatma Gandhi University was ranked thirteenth in India in terms of intellectual productivity by CSIR and nineteenth in terms of h-index of the science faculty by NISTDAS. DST has ranked the University 8th among the 29 Universities under the PURSE programme for funding Science Departments.
To keep abreast with the international trends in higher education, Mahatma Gandhi University has embarked on an ambitious plan to transform the conventional state university into a New Gen varsity within three years. In order to translate the quality policy to excel in all realms of its activities, e-Learning, e-Goveranance, Massive Open Online Courses, On-line examinations, cutting edge learning practices and continuos quality improvement initiatives for the academics, learners, and administrators are on the anvil.
The web-enabled University Library with its large collection of books, journals and e-journals, the online Theses Digital Library that provides open access to its enviable collection of digitized Ph D dissertations, the publishing unit which has brought out hundreds of titles in Malayalam, English and Hindi, the facilities available at the School of Physical Education and Sports Sciences for developing physical culture, the ecologically sensitive extension programmes initiated by the University Departments and the National Service Scheme, the Students' Web Centre that provides round-the-clock web-support to the campus community, the coaching and placement services provided by the Department of Student Services and the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureau, proactive communication system developed by the Information and Public Relations Department and the general administrative support that the academic community receive from the University administration – all these work in tandem with the academic business transacted by the University, making the learning experience a holistic one.