Known for its academic excellence, Calcutta Civil Engineering College as the Bengal Engineering College was called, began its journey from 24th November 1856 with only ten students and few staffs. However, in 1920, the name was changed to B.E.College Shibpur. In 1921, the word Shibpur was removed and it got its name Bengal Engineering College. From 1865 to 1879 the College served as the Civil Engineering Department of Presidency College, Kolkata. In 1880 the college shifted its base permanently to the sprawling campus at Bishop's College, Howrah. Starting from May 1857 to 1879, it was college under the University of Calcutta. In 1992, the college was elevated to the status of a Deemed University. On 1st October 2004, Bengal Engineering College achieved the status of a full-fledged University. On 13th July 2005 A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as the Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur (BESUS) formally inaugurated it.
Along with seven other institutes, the Central Government decided to elevate the status of Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur to that of an IIT. However, it was later decided to give it the status of Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST). It is a distinction, which is shared by some renowned institutes like IIT's, IISc, and ISI.
Located on the western bank of the Hooghly River in Howrah the University is six kilometers away from the Howrah Railway Station. The University is spread over an area of nearly 49 hectares and is next to the Botanical Garden of India.
The University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses in nine engineering disciplines and four non-engineering disciplines. The Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) is an eight-semester course while the B.Arch course is a ten-semester course. Courses are offered in Architecture, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Tele Communication Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Mining Engineering. The University offers postgraduate degree in eight disciplines, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Metallurgy, Mining, Electronics and Tele-Communication, Computer Science and Technology, Engineering Mechanics and Mining. It also offers a postgraduate degree course in Master of Town and Regional Planning. In addition to this, the University also offers several part-time courses.
Sprawling over a lush green campus, there is a four storied central academic building, an eight-storied extension building, a workshop complex, a three-storied building for material science, two canteens and a university auditorium. The campus life in the University revolves around forums, clubs, canteens and various cultural activities. REBECA, which stands for Reunion of BE College Annuals is the annual fest of the University. The cultural club of the University is called FOBECS, which stands for Forum Of BE College Students. The club publishes a monthly magazine called Unmesh.
Every year students from this renowned institute is placed in management and technocracy sector in India and abroad.