Estd. in 1879

Bethune College, a centre for academic excellence and achievement, started its journey in 1879

The Journey


Accredited with A+ in 3rd cycle NAAC

The only Govt. College in West Bengal to be graded A+


NIRF Ranking

Bethune College has been placed in the 74th position in the College Category in NIRF ranking (2022). It is the only Government College from West Bengal to feature among the first hundred colleges in the country.


DBT Star College

Received financial support under the DBT Star College Scheme of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in 2020

The vision of the institution is to mold students into dynamic global citizens who are intellectually stimulated, technologically equipped, socially aware, and sympathetic by providing value-based and quality education. The college aims to impart lifelong learning so that our students become better human beings, retaining a fine sense of balance between traditional values and modern perspectives.
The institution is committed to the cause of empowerment of women from all sectors including those who are socially and economically deprived through access to higher education. The College has always attempted to support and sustain the vision of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune who paved the path of progress for women by liberating them from their shackled existences and by illuminating their future with the help of education. Keeping in mind the changing contours of education in the current era, the institution aims to become a vibrant knowledge center in teaching, research, and extension activities.


The mission of Bethune College is to endow its learners with access to higher education that promotes capacity building and holistic development through a quality teaching-learning process.
The institution aims to create honest citizens who preserve their rich cultural past and are professionally skilled in their own fields.
The College strives to provide comprehensive education, inculcates ethical and moral values, and encourages students to enhance their leadership and entrepreneurial qualities.
The college's mission is dynamic and periodically reviewed to meet the challenges and opportunities of changing times.


"Vidya Vindatey Amritam" - 'knowledge provides immortal bliss'.


Bethune College : The Journey

Bethune College, a centre for academic excellence and achievement, started its journey in 1879. Being the first women's college in India as well as in Asia, Bethune College produced the first two female graduates of the entire British colonial Empire who made their mark, left significant contributions and inspired generations to come. Since its establishment, Bethune College has helped in enlightening women's lives by playing a pivotal role in women's education and emancipation.

The journey of Bethune College began on 16th June, 1879. The Calcutta Gazette published the news of appointment of Baboo Sosi Bhusan Dutt, (Lecturer of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack) on 16th June, 1879 as the First Lecturer of the College Department of Bethune School. Therefore, 16th June, 1879 has been accepted as the foundation day of Bethune College.


John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune

John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune
( 1801-1851 )

The College owes its origin to John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune (1801-1851) who established Calcutta Female School, the first school for girls in Calcutta with the help of Raja Dakshinaranjan Mukhopadhyay, Ramgopal Ghosh, and Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar in 1849, with 21 girls on its roll. J.E.D Bethune arrived in India in 1848, as the Law member of the Governor General's Council and by virtue of his position, Bethune became the President of the Council of Education. He considered education as the only means for the rapid improvement of women and took a keen interest in spreading education of women as well as in eradication of social evils. The school established by Bethune was maintained from the private funds of its founder until his death in August, 1851. The School was shifted to the new building that was completed in September, 1851 and in later days this school came to be known as Bethune School. Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was the first Secretary of Bethune School. Bethune School later in 1878 was reorganised after its amalgamation with Banga Mahila Vidyalaya.


In 1879, Bethune College classes started with one student Kadambini Bose in First Year Arts and very soon Chandramukhi Bose also joined the class in 1881 after completing her First Year Arts from Free Church Normal School. Since 1880, Bethune College was open to the female students of all religious backgrounds.

Both Chandramukhi Bose and Kadambini Ganguly (Bose) were students of Bethune College in 1881 as they were studying for the Degree Examination. Special scholarships of Rupees 25 and Rupees 20 were awarded to them for that purpose. In 1883, both Chandramukhi Bose and Kadambini Ganguly passed in the BA examination from Bethune College and thus they became first female graduates of the Calcutta University as well as the entire British Colonial Empire. Since then Bethune College made a mark in producing notable students.

Bethune College got affiliation from University of Calcutta in 1888 and made rapid progress in the following decades. Students of Bethune College performed well at University examinations from Entrance to BA. They were awarded with gold and silver medals and also scholarships of junior and senior grade. Prize distribution ceremony was observed with great zeal. Renowned personalities visited the College and recorded their appreciations of its teaching- learning process. Meetings and conferences as well as exhibition of handicrafts were held on regular basis. Bethune College thus was turning into a venue for various activities of women.

In connection with the Annual Session of Indian National Congress held in December, 1906 in Calcutta, a huge women's meeting was held in Bethune College where different problems regarding the condition of women in society were discussed.

Till session 1915-16, Bethune College was not affiliated in any Honours subject. Students had to appear as non-collegiate students and then sit for the Honours examinations. But success of Tatini Gupta (Das) in Sanskrit and Sita Chattopadhyay and Sujata Basu in English paved the way for the affiliation of Honours in Bethune College in Sanskrit and English in 1917.

In this session of 1916-17, Bethune College was also affiliated in Mathematics upto the IA (Intermediate) standard. The affiliation received by Bethune College upto 1921-22 were as follows : English, Vernacular Composition, Sanskrit, History, Logic, Botany and Mathematics in Intermediate, English, Philosophy, History, Sanskrit, Vernacular Composition, Economics and Mathematics in BA Pass, and English and Sanskrit in BA Honours.

In the session 1923-24, Philosophy and Mathematics (Mathematics being the First Science Honours Subject) were added to the Honours subjects. In the same session, Bethune College secured affiliation upto I.Sc standard; a laboratory was also equipped for this purpose.

In the session 1923-24, Bethune College had its first Muslim student on its roll as Fazilatunnesa Zoha (after finishing her studies from Eden Female School, Dhaka) joined the College and passed from the college in 1925. She later also became the first Bengali Muslim woman to earn a post graduate degree and to go abroad for higher studies.

In 1935, Bethune College received affiliation to the Honours course in Economics also.

Political currents in colonial India had major repercussions on educational institutions. The political unrest of the late colonial era had its effect on the student strength particularly in the 1930s. During the Civil Disobedience Movement, specially in 1932, student enrolment in Bethune College was highly affected. The rise and fall in student enrolment continued also in the following tumultuous years of the Second World War. During the Second World War, various extra-academic activities of the College were necessarily curtailed. But 1949 onwards, the rolls of Bethune College once again started swelling.

In the following decades, Bethune College continued to disseminate knowledge with much warmth and vigour and the students of the College performed well in both Arts and Science streams.

At present, Bethune College has 17 Under Graduate Departments (except Women's Studies, all are Honours Courses) and 6 Post Graduate Courses. The achievements of our students speak for themselves. Many of our students have topped University examinations; some have been awarded medals and prizes in sports and other competitions. The students are also involved in social activities through National Service Scheme befitting their social responsibilities. The College has reached its high level of excellence due to the dedicated team work of the teaching, administrative and assisting staff members and above all administrative and financial support from the Higher Education Department, Government of West Bengal. Reaccredited by NAAC in 2015 with the 'A' Grade, Bethune College continues its journey as the pioneer institution of women's education, spanning a period of glorious 143 years.


Governing Body of Bethune College, Kolkata

The Governor is pleased to constitute the Governing Body of Bethune College, Kolkata View Notice

# Members of the Governing Body Post
1 President Dr. Shashi Panja, Minister-in Charge,
Department of Women and Child Development and Social welfare, Govt. of West Bengal
2 Member Secretary Dr. Anushila Hazra Bhattacharya - Officer-in-charge
3 Member Executive Engineer, Kolkata Central Division, Kolkata-700013
4 Member
(Vice Chancellor's nominees)
Dr. Suparna Mitra, Maulana Azad College
Dr. Papiya Ghosh,
Bijoy Krishna Girls' College, Howrah
5 Members
(Teachers' Representatives)
Dr. Amita Kar, Associate Professor, Chemistry, Bethune College
Dr. Sudeshna Mitra, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Bethune College
6 Members
(Non-teaching staff)
Sri. Prabir Swain, Accountant, Bethune College
7 Member
(Students' Representative)
8 Member
(Government nominee)
Prof. Siuli Sarkar, Principal Lady Brabourne College
9 Member
(Government nominee)
Dr. Ratnaboli Banerjee, Ex-joint Secretary, UGC, Eastern Region


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Some of our eminent achievers

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Illustrious Alumna

Illustrious Alumna of Bethune College, Kolkata 19th century- 20th century

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