Serampore College

Serampore College is located in Serampore Town, in Hooghly District, West Bengal, India.

The college consists of two entities:

  • The theological faculty
  • A separate college with faculties of arts, science, commerce

The Senate of Serampore College (University) runs the academic administration of all the theological colleges affiliated with it. The council of Serampore College holds a Danish charter and had the power to confer degrees in any subject, which it currently exercises only for conferring theological degrees as recommended by the senate.

Degrees are awarded for arts, science and commerce students of the Serampore College by the University of Calcutta.

For theology, the college is affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University). Several theological colleges and seminaries all over India including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University).

The present principal is Dr. Laltluangliana Khiangte


Serampore College

The college motto is from Proverbs 3:35 in the Vulgate: Gloriam Sapientes Possidebunt, "wise shall possess glory."

Authority to issue degrees and accreditation

Serampore College

King Frederick VI of Denmark originally granted a Royal Charter giving Serampore College the status of a university to confer degrees. With the later establishment of the University of Calcutta in 1857 the arts, science and commerce parts of Serampore College were affiliated to the University of Calcutta. However, Serampore College still today continues to enjoy the privilege of conferring its own degrees in theology under the power vested by the Charter and Act of Serampore College. It is a private Grant-in-aid Minority College. The college is recognized by the University Grants Commission under Section 2(f) and 12(b) of the UGC Act, 1956.


Founding by English missionaries

Serampore College is the oldest university in India to be in continuous operation. It was founded in 1818 by the English missionaries known as the Serampore Trio:

  • William Carey
  • Joshua Marshman
  • William Ward

Their aim was to give an education in arts and sciences to students of every "caste, colour or country" and to train people for ministry in the growing church in India (See: Christianity in India).

From its beginning the college has been ecumenical but this means that it has no automatic basis of support from any one branch of the Christian church. Prior to 1818, the Serampore Trio had worked together in providing education for their own children and the children, including females, of the native Indians.

Original charter from Denmark

Since Serampore was then a Danish colony, King Frederick VI, the King of Denmark, issued Serampore College its Royal Charter of Incorporation on February 23, 1827, in Copenhagen, Denmark (Charter, 1, Charter, 2, Charter, 3). The charter came in response to Joshua Marshman's visit to King Frederick in August 1826; the charter gave Serampore College the privilege of awarding degrees in arts and theology. William Carey, Joshua Marshman and John Clark Marshman (Joshua's son) were designated as members of the first council. At its opening, the Serampore Trio released a prospectus which proposed "A College for the instruction of Asiatic Christian and other Youth in Eastern Literature and European Science." The college was open to all people of any caste or creed, and the founders ensured that no denominational test would apply to faculty members. The charter has also been confirmed by the Bengal Government Act IV of 1918.

The status accorded by the Danish charter has since been reaffirmed for the study of theology and now forms the basis for degrees of all levels conferred by over forty theological colleges throughout India and is administered by the senate. It was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1827 and the Bengal Government Act IV of 1918.

Control passed back to the British

After February 22, 1845 when Denmark sold all of its Indian assets to Britain the management and operation of the college continued without interruption under the direction of a master and council. In 1856 the Baptist Missionary Society in England took over the management of the college and, in 1857, the college became affiliated with the newly established University of Calcutta and became a constituent college of that university. In 1883 the college closed as an arts college and began functioning as a Christian Training Institution and a theological institute for the Baptist churches in Bengal. Affiliating again with the University of Calcutta in 1911, Serampore College, in 1913, was authorised to award the Bachelor of Arts degree. The college faculty was interdenominational.

Twentieth century

On December 4, 1915, the first group of Bachelor of Divinity students graduated:

  • The Reverend I. W. Johory, Professor in the Canadian Mission College, Indore;
  • The Reverend N. G. Kuriakos, a priest in the Orthodox Syrian Church; and
  • Mr. D. M. Devasahayam, London Missionary Society, South India.

Between 1916 and 1927, sixty-nine further students earned their Bachelor of Divinity degrees through Serampore College.

During the centenary year of the college, in 1918, the Bengal Legislative Council passed the Serampore College Act (1918 Act, i, 1918 Act, ii, 1918 Act, iii, 1918 Act, iv) for the purpose of enlarging the college council and forming a new interdenominational senate that would confer theological degrees for all Christian denominations in India. By 1960 twenty other Indian colleges and seminaries affiliated themselves with Serampore.

The name of the college and its founders are honoured today more widely than just within Christian circles â€" the Carey Library at Serampore houses 16,000 rare volumes and is used by scholars from across the world.


On June 7, 1969, the Indian Department of Posts issued a stamp and a first day cover depicting Serampore College.



  • NAC 2004 report on the College and its degree issuing position
  • NAC homepage on accredited Colleges
Further reading
  • John Clark Marshman (1859). "The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward". I & II. 
  • J.T.K.Daniel and Roger E. Hedlund (1993). "Carey's Obligation and India's Renaissance". 
  • Sunil Kumar Chatterjee (2006). "Hannah Marshman - The first woman missionary in India". 
  • Sunil Kumar Chatterjee (2002). "Family Letters of Dr. William Carey". 
  • Sunil Kumar Chatterjee (2005). "William Carey - The Father of Modern Missions in the East" (New Edition). 
  • Sunil Kumar Chatterjee (2004). "William Carey and Serampore" (2nd Edition). 
  • Sunil Kumar Chatterjee (2001). "John Clark Marshman (a trustworthy Friend of India)" (â€" Scholar search) (2nd Edition). 
  • The Council of Serampore College (2006). "The Story of Serampore and its College" (â€" Scholar search) (Fourth Edition). 

External links

  • Information from
  • Serampore College website
  • Friends of Serampore College
  • Lions Club of Serampore Greater

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