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A Brief History of the Department

Asutosh Mukherjee

Prof. M. N. Goswami, Prof. H. N. Dasgupta and Prof. Sudhir Chandra Neogi were among the faculty of the early years of the Department. Eminent guest lecturers were also there. Some of them were Prof. Hira Lal Roy and Prof. Gopal Chandra Sen of National Council of Education, which is now known as Jadavpur University.
At the begining, the Department was offering a two-year M.Sc. course in Applied Chemistry and the first batch of students passed out in 1922. Later, to accommodate the Govt. of India's new technological education policy, a three-year M.Sc (Tech). course in Applied Chemistry was introduced in the department (along with the departments of Applied Physics and Radio-Physics) in 1951, and first batch of successful candidates came out in 1954. Later, in 1958, three-year duration of study having been kept unaltered, B.Tech. degree after two years of course work and University examination and M.Tech. degree on study in the subsequent l year and examination, both degrees in 'Chemical Engineering & Chemical Technology', were instituted. Needless to mention that this degree created many problems to our pass-outs in regard to employment as well as higher studies (due to its course duration) in many Universities, in India and abroad. There was strong studuents' movement starting 1967, in the department for having a change in the 'name' as well as 'course curriculum', of the degree to 'Chemical Engineering'. Meanwhile, a UGC visiting team came to the University in 1968 and the University had to change the duration of the B.Tech. course to three years. and M.Tech. course to two years thereafter. However, unfortunately the name of the degree was kept as 'Chemical Engineering & Chemical Technology'. The first batch of the new 3-year B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology passed out in the year 1972.

As the name of the degree was kept as 'Chemical Engineering & Chemical Technology', this further led to even stronger students' movement in the Department and the Campus. After a long struggle, in 1978, the University after considering different aspects of the issue, approved the 3-year B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering and 2-year M.Tech. in Chemical Engineering (later to 3- semester or sometimes 4-semester course) courses of studies, with effect from 1977 pass-outs.
Meanwhile, a 3-year B.Tech. course in Plastics & Rubber Technology (Now Polymer Science and Technology) was instituted in 1968 in the Dept. of Applied Chemistry, first batch coming out in 1971.
The Department of Applied Chemistry was subsequently re-organised in 1982 and trifurcated under University Council (presently known as University Syndicate) Resolution in the name of: (1) Chemical Engineering; (2) Plastics & Rubber Technology; and (3) Chemical Technology.

Passing through different stages of metamorphosis, the ‘Applied Chemistry’ Department was divided into three sibling branches. In January 1982, the Department of Chemical Engineering came into existence out of the parent Department of Applied Chemistry with a student intake of 40 in B. Tech Course and 20 in M. Tech in Chemical Engineering courses, respectively.

The department now offers a Four year (8 Semester) B. Tech in Chemical Engineering degree with an intake capacity of 40 students (plus 5% of State other backward classes), and Two Year (4 Semester) M. Tech in Chemical Engineering with 25 intake capacity (of which 5 seats are for Industry Sponsored candidates). A good number (intake capacity varies, depends on UGC guideline) of Doctoral fellows are also engaged in Research activities in the department for their Ph.D. (Tech) in Chemical Engineering degree.
In the B. Tech in Chemical Engineering course, from 2015 onwards, the Department has started to admit 20 students from WBJEE and 20 from B.Sc. (Chemistry Hons.) as lateral entry to the course in the second year.
A chronological detail of Degree structure is given in the Table below.

Courses in Chemical Engineering and the Degrees are recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and approved by University Grants Commission (UGC) and accredited by NAAC. The students after receiving sound training in this department have proved to be equal to the stringent technical manpower requirement of Indian Chemical Industries. Most of them are placed of highly responsible positions including several top-most administrative posts and some of the alumni have distinguished themselves in professional achievements abroad.

Chronological Details on location of the Department and Administration Evolution of Curricula:-


1920–1936 : Co-housed with the Department of Pure Chemistry in Palit Building of the Campus
1936–1981 : Applied Chemistry Department in a separate Building
1982 - till date : Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology, and Polymer Science & Technology in Applied Chemistry Building.

N.B.: First Two Semester (1st and 2nd Semester) classes of the Eight Semester Course are arranged in newly built Technology Campus at Salt Lake of the University.


1920 – 1934 : Teaching in Applied Chemistry under common administration with Pure Chemistry
1934: Separate Board of Studies in Applied Chemistry
1952: Faculty Council of Technology renamed as Faculty Council for Engineering & Technology.

Evolution of Curricula in Chemical Engineering

Degree Introduced Curriculum
M. Sc in Applied Chemistry 1920 - 1950 2 Year Course
M. Sc (Tech) in Applied Chemistry 1951 - 1958 3 Year Course
B. Tech in Chemical Engineering
& Chemical Technology
1959 - 1968 2 Year Course
M. Tech. in Chemical Engineering
& Chemical Technology
1959 - 1971 1 Year Course
B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering
& Chemical Technology
1969 - 1976 3 Year Course
M.Tech. in Chemical Engineering 1972- 1976 2 Year Course
B. Tech in Chemical Engineering 1977 - 2004 3 Year Course
M. Tech. in Chemical Engineering 1977 - 1980 2 Year Course
M. Tech. in Chemical Engineering 1981 - 2001 3 Semester Course
M. Tech. in Chemical Engineering 2002 - 4 Semester Course
B. Tech in Chemical Engineering 2005 - 2015 6 Semester Course
B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering 2016 - 8 Semester Course