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The Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur (Formerly Kanpur University, Kanpur) was established in the year 1966. Prior to the establishment of the University, affiliation of colleges in its vicinity were to the Agra University. In the year 1949, the Radha Krishnan Commission suggested the establishment of a university in Kanpur with the aim of reducing the pressure on Agra University. To fulfil this demand, in the year 1966, the state government established Kanpur University under the Kanpur and Meerut Universities Act 1965 with the moto “Aroh Tamso Jyoti” (Rise from darkness to light). In the preamble it is stated that Kanpur University will initially have an affiliating character but will gradually assume the shape of residential University. The University proudly celebrate its 57th foundation day on February 9 every year.

Kanpur University was initially established in a small house located on Parvati Bagla Road which was eventually shifted to Sarvodaya Nagar, Kanpur. In the year 1971-72, 264 acres of land by the side of GT road at Kalyanpur was purchased with the assistance of the State Government and Kanpur Municipal Corporation. Construction was started in 1970s and the Administrative Block, old Guest House, The Vice Chancellor’s bunglow, the Registrar and Finance Officer’s and Employee residence were constructed in the first phase. Upto 1993-1994, there were 84 affiliate colleges, 11 faculties, 4000 teachers and 80000 students. A progressive increase in the number of affiliated colleges, diversification and number of courses was established. To cater to the development of the affiliated colleges a College Development Council (CDC) was established in the University.

By 1997, CSJM University had developed a rich regularized academic culture, restored sanctity of examinations and established its residential character by starting a number of job oriented and vocational courses (BTech, MBA and Bed). The prestigious University Institute of Engineering and Technology produced its first batch of engineers in the year 2000.

In the year 2004, there were 202 colleges of which 77 were aided and 125 self financing colleges. There were 20 ayurvedic and Unnai colleges affiliated to the University which included 10 Government colleges and 10 private colleges. There were also constituent colleges including GSVM Medical College and Nursing College. There are 952 colleges spread over eleven districts of the UP state were affiliated to CSJM University.

During more than four decades of its existence, the University established itself firmly as a quality teaching and research institution. The Research Degree Committee (RDC) in each subject was established to monitor and promote research in respective subject areas. In 2016, the University established funds for granting aid for research projects submitted by faculty members of the university and affiliate colleges. The University also pioneered the use of E-governance tools for admission and online governance.

In 2017, Chhtrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University affiliated a large number of colleges from seven jurisdictions namely Kanpur, Kanpur Dehat, Rai Bareli, Unnao, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Hardoi, Kannauj, Farrukkhabad, Etawah, Auraiya as colleges of three districts, Fatehpur, Kaushambi and Allahabad were gradually moved to Allahabad State University.

The University has not looked back since then and has become a hall mark of higher education in the State catering to more than 1200000 students pursuing graduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees in all subjects including arts, commerce, science, education, law, agriculture, medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani education, agriculture, engineering and technology, business management, life science, to the students of about seven hundred colleges present in seven districts.

In 2021, organizational restructure was inducted through the inception of a number of Schools such as School of Languages, School of Basic Science, School of Legal Studies, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Agriculture, School of Health Studies, School of Agriculture Science & Technology, Deen Dayal Shodh Kendra, School of Life Sciences & Biotechnology, School of Management Sciences, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Performing Arts.

The University is striving to follow New Education Policy 2020 in an effort to widen the frontiers of knowledge, assisted by rich tradition of literature, art and culture. The student body of this University and affiliated colleges have established a reputation for organizing high level conferences, seminars and symposia. Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj Kanpur has aligned itself to academic excellence and developing an educational system that promotes the spirit of Sustainable Development Goals and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’.

Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University (CSJMU) Kanpur (formerly Kanpur University) is a symbol of eminence and academic excellence, which can be approached and availed by the citizens of Kanpur and neighbouring regions.