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A Brief History of the Department

Chemical Engineering Department

The University of Calcutta is the first of its kind in colonial India established on 24 January in the Year 1857. Studies in Arts and Science subjects were the priorities during the very beginning of the University education. Considering the necessity, a separate campus of the University was established by the name of University College of Science and the foundation stone was laid down by the great visionary Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor, on 27th March 1914 at 92, Upper Circular Road (Now Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road). At the begining, the University College of Science at 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata (now renamed as Rashbehari Siksha Prangan) undertook the program of teaching the subjects of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics (Prior to that, the post-graduate classes had been conducted at Presidency College). The newly-established University College of Science was supported in terms of knowledge and financial contributions generously by the great philanthropists and nationalists of that time. The institute, in turn, took a vital role in the spreading of science education and research throughout the subcontinent. Within a time span of 6 years, in 1920, it became the pioneering institute in introducing post-graduate studies in Applied Science. The post graduate studies in Applied Science, in the Department of Chemistry within the Campus, was started in 1920 with a munificent donation received from Sir Rashbehari Ghosh. That was the time when introduction of Applied Science in the curriculum of post graduate studies was started in Indian Universities.


‘Applied Chemistry’was the first Department of Applied Sciences in the University of Calcutta. Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy established Bengal Chemicals with the aim of manufacturing chemicals in India from the inspiration of ‘Swadeshi’ Movement. He has a vision also to apply the knowledge and proficiency of Chemistry in real field. Therefore, Acharya Roy motivated a number of scholars of his time and with the help of Sir Asutosh Mookherjee, established the Department of Applied Chemistry in the then University College of Science Campus at Rajabazar (Now Rashbihari Siksha Prangan), under the University of Calcutta. It was established in the same Year of formation of Applied Science i.e., in 1920 and it was the first of its kind in INDIA.

“Coming by the next boat”– this was the telegram sent by Dr. Hemendra Kumar Sen to Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy in reply of the latter’s letter asking the formers consent of taking the charges of the ‘Applied Chemistry’ Department conceived by Sir Asutosh Mookherjee. At that time, Dr. H. K. Sen was working in Rangoon as a manager of the famous Burma Shell Company drawing a salary of as high as Rs.3000/- per month in 1920. He was motivated by the call of Acharya P. C. Roy, left Rangoon (Burma) and took charge of the newly-born Department in 1920 as its first Ghosh Professor and Head of the Department of Applied Chemistry. He accepted the job of the University and pay respect to his teachers practically without any remuneration (compared to his Oil Company job). With great enthusiasm and unparalleled devotion and conspicuous ability Dr. Sen set himself to the task of building up the Department of Applied Chemistry from a very small beginning.


It was through his initiative that a separate Board of Higher Studies in Applied Chemistry was created in the University after several years. For over fifteen years he served the University in this capacity. Professor (Dr.) Sen delivered lecture on Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, which is being considered as the First Lecture in Unit Operations in this part of the World.


The successor of Dr. H. K. Sen was the eminent scientist and educationist Professor Biresh Chandra Guha. He was appointed in the year 1936 to the Chair of Applied Chemistry and served up to 1943 in the first phase of his tenure. Besides heading the Department of Applied Chemistry, he had invaluable research contribution on Vitamins. After almost a ten years' spell of administrative assignment as Technical Adviser to the Food Department of the Government of India and later on at Damodar Valley Corporation, he returned to the University Professorship in the year 1953. He soon introduced the newer activities in microbiological assays and other techniques like radioactive isotopes and got back into his primary interest in the biosynthesis of ascorbic acid. Due to his untiring efforts, the University of Calcutta agreed to open a two-year Post-graduate course in Biochemistry and a new Department of Biochemistry under the Applied Chemistry wing was established.

Ongoing Under Graduate and Post Graduate Program

Program Level of Study Cut-of Mark at entry level Intake Capacity
B.Tech (4 Year)
(8 Semester)
Under Graduate Variable
(In Order of Merit + Test)
40 Plus special
reservation for OBC
M.Tech (2-year)
(4 Semester)
Post Graduate Variable
(In Order of Merit + Test)
25 (including
5 Sponsored Quota)
Ph.D. (Tech) Doctoral Through Entrance Test As per UGC Norms