One of the first 16 Universities in India, the University of Kerala was founded as the University of Travancore in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (now southern part of Kerala and some neighbouring parts of state of Tamilnadu) in 1937. During the 7 decades since the University of Kerala grew and shrunk physically and transformed itself in many ways. It is difficult to summarise what the Kerala University is in a brief space.At present, the University has sixteen faculties and forty one departments of teaching and research in addition to study centres and other departments. Teaching, Research and Knowledge extension are the mandate of the Departments. They primarily focus on post-graduate (masters) programmes, MPhil programmes (1-year research degree) and doctoral research. In 2007, the University awarded over 100 PhDs. (University's research activities are also going on in select affiliated colleges and other recognised research centres in and outside the state).
The University follows the Choice based credit and semester system for all post-graduate (masters) programmes and is in the process of introducing this at under-graduate (bachelors) level. Semesters typically fall during the months of Aug-January and February-July.