Institution Profile

Institution Profile

CMS College, Kottayam

ounded way back in 1817 by the
Christian Missionary Society of England, CMS College, Kottayam, (Kerala) enjoys a stellar reputation for its high-quality education portfolio across the disciplines of arts, commerce and science. One of the oldest institutions of higher education in peninsular India, this college which occupies showpiece status in India’s most literate state, is well-reputed for its strong emphasis on innovation, research and development. CMS was recently acknowledged as a ‘college with potential for excellence’ by UGC (University Grants Commission) and received the B++ (very good) rating of NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council). Formerly affiliated to Madras University, the college is now affiliated with Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

Spread across 32.5 acres in the heart of Kottayam town (pop. 60,725), 72 km from Kochi, CMS was one of the first institutions of tertiary education in India to admit women students in 1938. The college which began its innings with 40 students and four faculty members, now boasts over 5,000 men and women students — 3,000 in undergraduate and 2,000 in postgrad programmes — instructed by over 90 faculty. Over the years its alumni have distinguished themselves in government, business, medicine, journalism and other fields of endeavour. The roll call of CMS alumni includes Dr. K.R. Narayanan, former President of India; K.P.S. Menon, former ambassador to USSR; Sardar K.M. Panicker, former ambassador to China; Dr. E.C.G Sudharshan, world renowned physicist and two-time Nobel Prize nominee; Dr. Jacob Chandy, a well-known neurosurgeon; Justice K.T. Thomas, former Supreme Court judge; K.M. Mathew, chief editor of Malayalam Manorama and Oommen Chandy, former chief minister of Kerala.

"CMS College has a rich history of academic innovation, and over the past 191 years our illustrious alumni have richly contributed to the socio-economic development of the country. We were one of the first colleges in south India to admit women students, offer postgraduate programmes and encourage research and development. Currently, the college has 60 research scholars and six research centres in physics, chemistry, botany, biotechnology, zoology and English. The CMS management is committed to building upon the rich legacy and excellent education standards maintained by this institution for almost two centuries," says Korulla Issac, principal of the college. A commerce postgraduate of CMS, Isaac signed up as a lecturer in the college in 1976 and was appointed principal in 2003.

Promoted by the Church Missionary Society of England, which at the request of Col. John Munro, the British resident and dewan of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore, sent missionaries "to fight prevailing situations of ignorance and superstition," The College, Cotym was started in 1817 "to be a centre of light and a blessing to many". The Rev. Benjamin Bailey was appointed founder principal and is credited with publishing the first Malayalam-English and English-Malayalam dictionaries. He also installed the first modern printing press (on the college campus) in Kerala. Until 1855, CMS provided free education to all enrolled students and thereafter it charged a monthly fee of Re. 1. From 1855 onwards, CMS began to receive aid and salary grants from the Kerala government. Currently the college’s modest tuition fees range between Rs.1,782-16,000 per year.

The sprawling CMS campus boasts low-rise red tiled buildings interspersed with gardens and verdant lawns. The 14 academic departments are housed in separate blocks and about 8 acres of land is maintained as virgin forest to host a variety of plant and animal life. The campus offers well-furnished classrooms, four IT-enabled seminar halls, an educational technology facility centre, science laboratories, a printing press, internet browsing centre, a butterfly and herbal garden and an energy park. The library is well-stocked, and houses 76,000 volumes and 78 journal subscriptions besides providing access to digital resources. Sports facilities include separate playgrounds for cricket, football, soft ball and basketball. On campus housing comprises a women’s hostel offering 200 well-furnished rooms and a men’s hostel with 100 rooms.

Enabling infrastructure apart, CMS conducts coaching classes for students writing public entrance exams such as UGC-NET and GATE. Remedial coaching and a course in spoken English and interview skills are also offered. Moreover several campus clubs such as the fine arts, nature, entrepreneurship development, tourism, and quiz clubs conduct events round the year, and help students develop public speaking and communication skills.

According to Issac, in 2005-06 over 70 CMS graduates were recruited by blue-chip corporates such as Wipro, Infosys, Google and Bajaj Allianz, while 27 top scored in competitive exams such as GATE and UGC-NET. Not content to rest on its laurels and rich history, this 191-year-old college has drawn up ambitious plans for the future. "The next ten years leading up to our bicentenary year in 2017 have been christened our ‘dream decade’. During this period we will work towards improving teaching-learning standards so that all 47 undergraduate and postgrad programmes are ISO certified. We are also negotiating with several well-known American universities for student exchange programmes. Other plans include construction of a memorial education block to commemorate our alumnus and former President of India K.R. Narayanan, and to develop a bio village to foster environment-friendly and sustainable agriculture sciences," says Issac.

Almost two centuries later, CMS has miles to go and many voluntary promises to keep.

Admission and fees

CMS College, Kottayam (estb.1817) is a state government aided institution which offers bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the arts, science and commerce disciplines.

Undergrad programmes. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, family and community science, biotechnology, English literature, Malayalam, economics, history and B.Com (Tuition fees (per year): Rs.1,782-16,000)

Postgrad programmes.
Mathematics, physics, applied physics, chemistry, analytical chemistry, applied chemistry, botany, biotechnology, zoology, food service management and dietetics, English language and literature, sociology, history, and M.Com (Rs.2,412-60,000)

Others. The George Sudarshan Centre for Computer Science offers five degree programmes — BCA, M.Sc, MCA, MBA and MBA (IT) — in association with the Sikkim Manipal University.

For further information
contact the Principal, CMS College, Kottayam 686 001, Kerala. Tel: 0481 2566002; Fax: 0481 2565002; e-mail:; website:

Sanjay Pandey (Kottayam)

Brown University, USA

he seventh oldest university in America, Brown University (estb. 1764) is a member of the elite Ivy League club of higher education institutions and offers a highly- rated undergraduate curriculum, and flexible and innovative programmes in graduate and medical education. With approximately 5,900 students enrolled in its undergraduate college, 1,500 in the graduate school and 340 in the medical school, Brown’s three schools offer nearly 100 programmes of study. Currently the university employs 628 faculty, the largest number in its history, boasting an enviable teacher-student ratio of 1:9. Sited in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown subscribes to a collaborative university-college model in which faculty are as committed to undergraduate/graduate teaching as they are to research. In the U.S. News & World Report 2008 ranking of America’s Best Colleges, Brown is ranked 14th overall and the seventh most selective college countrywide.

Promoted over two centuries ago, Brown was established as the Baptist response to Congregationalist Yale and Harvard, Presbyterian Princeton, and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia. Originally promoted in 1764 as the College of Rhode Island in Warren, the school admitted its first students in 1765. Five years later in 1770 it moved to its present location on College Hill, overlooking the city of Providence. In 1804, in acknowledgement of a $5,000 donation from Nicholas Brown, the College of Rhode Island was renamed Brown University.

Brown is best known in the US and internationally for its dynamic undergraduate curriculum developed through student- faculty collaboration and implemented in 1969. More than 2,000 undergraduate courses support over 100 concentrations, or majors, many of them interdisciplinary, as well as a wide variety of independent studies. At the heart of the undergrad curriculum are three basic principles: "that students are active participants in learning; that acquiring analytical and critical skills is as important as mastering factual knowledge; and that learning requires opportunities for experimen-tation and cross-disciplinary synthesis".

Providence. Known as America’s ‘Renaissance City’, Providence is a centre of arts, culture and education. The second-largest city in New England, Providence (pop.1.6 million) is located at the head of Narragansett Bay, with the Providence River running into the bay after traversing the city centre. The Waterplace Park amphitheatre and riverwalks line the river’s banks. Brown U is sited on Providence’s College Hill, surrounded by dozens of historic homes and landmarks. Also sited on the hill is vibrant Thayer Street, where students and residents have access to ample shopping, dining and entertainment. As the capital of Rhode Island, Providence also hosts an energetic political scene.

Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Providence is home to several cultural and education institutions, including the Rhode Island School of Design and the Tony-award winning Trinity Repertory Company. The climate is humid continental, with hot summers, cold winters, and high humidity year-round.

Campus facilities. Brown is the largest institutional landowner in Providence, with properties on the East Side and in the Jewelry District. Brown’s main campus, where the university was originally founded, is located atop College Hill, on the East Side, across the Providence River. The main campus comprises 238 buildings spread over 143 acres. A salient feature of this campus is that many of the academic departments reside in quaint Victorian-era houses that the university has acquired over the years from the surrounding neighbourhood. Adjacent to Brown’s main campus is the Rhode Island School of Design. The university’s Pembroke College campus comprises classrooms, dormitories, the Alumnae Hall, a restaurant and a dining hall. The third East Campus was originally the site of Bryant College and currently hosts 26 buildings.

An invaluable resource to students and faculty, Brown’s six libraries offer more than 6 million items, including bound volumes, periodicals, maps, sheet music, and manuscripts, with enhancements of more than 100,000 each year. In addition, the libraries provide access to a wide range of digital and internet resouces. The university’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology houses more than 100,000 artefacts from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Brown U students have the opportunity to participate in more than 300 organisations and in 37 varsity athletic teams and enjoy superb on-campus sports facilities.

Admission. Brown University is very selective in its admission process. For the class of 2010, of the 18,000 plus students who applied, only 1,450 have been admitted. The minimum eligibility criterion for admission into Brown’s undergrad programmes is a first division in Plus Two. Moreover Brown requires every applicant to submit results of the SAT Reasoning Test and any two SAT Subject Tests (except for the SAT Writing Test), or the ACT taken with the Writing Test option. The Board of Admission also requires international students to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as evidence of English proficiency. All these tests should be completed by January of a student’s final year in higher secondary school.

The fully completed application form must include secondary school transcripts, school principal/teacher references, a personal essay and proof of extra-curricular participation and achievement. The deadline for freshman applications is January 1, 2009 for admission into the academic term beginning September 2009. Students with a first class bachelor’s degree must apply directly to Brown’s Graduate School.

For further information contact Admission Office, Brown University, Box 1876, 45 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02912, USA. Ph: 401 863-2378; Fax: 401 863-9300. E-mail:; Website:

Accommodation. All first-year students must live on-campus with a roommate in the first year in one of the university’s halls of residence. These co-ed units vary in size and house 30-50 students. Each unit forms a residential community and has one upper class resident counsellor for every 10-15 students, as well as one minority peer and women’s peer counsellor.

Degree programmes. Brown’s three schools (the Undergraduate College, Graduate School and Medical School) offer nearly 100 programmes of study. The Medical School’s programme in liberal medical education for 60 freshmen students combines undergraduate and medical studies in an eight-year continuum. (see box)

Scholastic options at Brown

The Undergraduate College, Graduate School and Medical School offer over 100 programs of study. Among them:

Humanities. American seminar; ancient studies; classics; contemplative studies initiative; Egyptology; English; ethnic studies; French studies; German studies; Hispanic studies; history of art and architecture; Italian studies; etc

Social Sciences. Africana studies; American civilization; anthropology; development studies; East Asian studies; economics; education; environmental studies; gender and sexuality studies; history; Latin American studies, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women; etc

Physical Sciences. Center for advanced materials research; applied mathematics; chemistry; computer science; Lefschetz Center for Dynamical Systems; condensed matter theory group; EARTH lab; etc

Life and Medical Sciences. Alcohol and addiction studies; bioimaging facility; biology; biomedical engineering; biomedical ethics; brain and neural systems; computation and mathematics of mind; computational molecular biology; dermatology; diagnostic imaging; ecology and evolutionary biology; etc

Public Health Centers. Behavioral and preventive medicine, Brown University AIDS Program; Institute for Community Health Promotion; etc

Tuition Fee (annual): $35,584

Living expenses (annual): $13,076

Summiya Yasmeen