Ravenshaw University came into existence on the 15th day of November, 2006. It was an up-gradation of Ravenshaw College established in 1868, one of the oldest and largest colleges in India which subsequently became an autonomous college with CPE status by UGC and 'A' grade by NAAC. The College with all its glorious academic achievement and ceaseless scholastic pursuits had already created a distinct niche for itself in India and beyond. The history of this great institution is, in a manner of speaking, the history of modern Orissa. It was the cradle of ideas fostering national unity and nationalism, promoting social mobilization and gearing up the freedom struggle.The grand hall of this institution was a theatre of history: on the 1st of April'1936 it was the venue for the declaration of Orissa as a separate province; thereafter it housed the state's first legislative assembly up to and even after Independence till it was shifted to Bhubaneswar, the new capital of the state. During Quit India Movement of 1942 the students of this institution brought down the Union Jack as a mark of nationalistic fervour.
The College originally was affiliated to Calcutta University and thereafter to Patna University in 1917 and was finally affiliated to Utkal University in 1943. The Utkal University began functioning from this campus till it was shifted to its present site at Vani Vihar, Bhubaneswar. This institution is the alma mater of the most distinguished personalities of the state. Not only the Utkal University but also the Orissa State Museum and Madhusudan Law College are the offshoots of this Institution obtaining their independent status at a later stage.
Post-graduate teaching started in 1922 with the opening of M.A. English class. Considering its great heritage, the Institution has been awarded National Honour by the Government of India through the issue of a commemorative stamp in 1978. The library which was named after the Raja Sahib of Kanika is the largest in Orissa. Not only is this Institution an epitome of learning but also a piece of unique Victorian architecture in the country.
The University has 27 departments of which 20 are post-graduate departments. M.Phil. programme is available in 14 departments and all the departments have provision for Ph.D. & D.Litt. programmes. Presently the University runs 23 Post-Graduate courses with research facilities and 27 Undergraduate honours courses.