St. Stephen's College is the most ancient college of Delhi whose foundation was laid as early as February 1, 1881. At first it had the affiliation of Calcutta University and later allied to Punjab University. Ultimately in 1922 with the formation of Delhi University, it became one of its 3 original colleges.
Housed in a tiny house in Katra Khushal Rai, near Kinari Bazar in Chandni Chowk, St. Stephen's College had a humble beginning with only 5 students and 3 teachers. From the years 1891 to 1941, it was put up in the building where the Delhi College of Engineering was formed, near St. James Church inside Kashmere Gate. It was only in 1941 that the college shifted to its current location in the University Enclave. The famous architect Walter George planned the design of most part of the current College buildings, with the exception of a few later additions.
St. Stephens College is a centre of academic excellence with teachers and students belonging to all possible communities, coming from various parts of the country. There are quite a few foreign students and faculty also. It also provides accommodation to about three hundred males and fifty-four female students.
Apart from paying due importance to academics, St Stephen's College also emphasises on the overall personality development and growth of a student. In the campus life, Student Societies and Clubs play a very important role. Societies have been formed for generating interest about a particular subject amongst the students. They also take initiatives to sponsor extra-curricular lectures and discussions. Apart from these extra curricular activities special academic and cultural societies also are present. Debating, dramatics, mountaineering, film and music appreciation, social service, photography, electronics and astronomy are some of the activities that they are involved in. Some of the societies to name them are--
Magazines and journals also give the students scope for inculcating their creative and writing fervour. Stephanian is the official college magazine. The Computer Society also brings out a journal called The Fene'tre. Kooler Talk entertains the students with their entertainment magazine.
Sanmiti is an annual magazine of a different genre which is brought out by the Gandhi Study Circle's annual magazine. It is a forum centered on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, his ideals and principles. Other magazines that are published by St Stephen's College include- PlayOn, an annual magazine of the Music Society; Yearbook, Naturally yours, a magazine bring out by the Wild Life Society; a magazine named HotWired; Oxygen; The Mathematica- annual magazine of the Mathematics Society.
The departments of St. Stephen's College include- Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English, History & Political science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Sanskrit & Hindi, Urdu & Persian, School of Music. A group of efficient and highly qualified teachers contribute to the academic brilliance of the students. Special mentioning may be made of its School of Music that has been formed with the mission of instilling lesson on Western Classical music to its students. The activities of the school culminate in a choral programme around Christmas time.
St. Stephen's College houses a superb library containing more than 90,000 books. The college also has huge playing grounds for practicing out-door games, located outside the Old City Wall between Kashmere Gate and Mori Gate. Inside the college campus one can enjoy playing tennis, basketball and soccer. The Francis Monk Gymnasium, the Junior Common Room and the Ladies Common Room provide facilities for playing games like gymnastics, badminton, squash, table tennis and other indoor games. St. Stephen's College also has a Chapel, where everybody associated with this college can go for reverence and meditation. For the students belonging to the Christian community, special instructions are imparted from the life and teachings of Jesus.
St. Stephen's College offers under graduate courses and postgraduate courses in accordance to the rules and regulations of the Delhi University. The Master of Arts and Master of Science programmes have a duration of 2 years. B.A. Hons/ B.Sc. Hons and B.A Programme / B.Sc. programmes are completed in 3 years time period.
In M.A. level, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Operations Research, Philosophy and Sanskrit are taught. M.Sc is taught in subjects like Chemistry, Mathematics, Operations Research and Physics.
One can pursue B.A. Hons in subjects like Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy and Sanskrit whereas B.Sc. Hons in Mathematics, Chemistry (Integrated), Physics (Integrated) are offered. B.A. Programmme and B.Sc. Programme (Physical Sciences) also are incorporated within the academic curriculum of St. Stephen's college. Incentives are also provided for motivating the students. Each year, St. Stephen's College bestows awards to the meritorious students as well as to those who have excelled in extra curricular activities. Scholarships and various types of financial help are given to the deserving students depending on their merit and requirements. These can be listed below- Mukarji-Ram Behari Prize, Mukarji-Ram Behari Prize, Kumari Rajeshwari Razdan Memorial Prize, Manmohan Lal Shrimali Memorial Prize, Maharaja Lakshman Sen Memorial Prize, Ram Kishore Prize, Dr. P.B. Bhattacharya Memorial Prize, Baboo Mal Mathur Memorial Prize, Muriel Wasi Prize, Mr & Mrs B.D. Gupta Economics Prize, Day Ram Kishore General Proficiency Prize, Rang Lal English Prize, Westcott Memorial History Prize, Rudra Economics Prize, K.C. Nag Economics Prize, Raja Sir Maharaj Singh Philosophy Prize, K.S. Manvendrasinhji of Gondal Philosophy Prize, Mukand Lal Sanskrit Prize, Ram Baksh Sanskrit Prize, I.H. Qureshi Memorial History Prize, Prof. P.L. Bhatnagar Memorial Prize, Rohit Renjen Memorial Prize, Savitri Prasada Memorial Prize, Shrimati Kamala Bajaj Memorial Prize, Sardar Hansa Singh Memorial Chemistry Prize, Arvind Gandotra Memorial Prize, Sardar Sahib Singh Memorial Prize, Shankar Prasad Memorial Gold Medal, Prize for the best student in III-year B.A. Pass, Prize for the best student in III-year B.Sc. General, George K. George Kollamkulam Memorial Prize, B.N. Ray Memorial Philosophy Prize, Usha (India) Ltd. Prizes (4), Rai Sahib Banarsi Das Choudhrie Prize (2), Subhash Dua Memorial Prize, Tushar Nagia Stephanian Prize, Prem Nath Bhalla Memorial Merit Award (2), Asha Chatterjee Prize, Mohan Katyal Memorial Prizes (2), A.C. Bose Urdu Prize, Ranjit Singh Goel Memorial Prizes (5), Ramesh Goel Memorial Prizes (5), Ananta Goel Memorial Prizes, Prof. Bimal Das Jain Memorial Prize, Tushar Nagia Prizes, The Sukhdeo Prasad Award, Pramila Pershad Raghubir Prize, Virendra Kumar Memorial Prize, Department of Mathematics Prize, The Dayamani Award, The Department of English Prize, Allnutt Jyoti Prasad Memorial Essay Prize, III-Year Cambridge Essay Prize, Shri Ram Poplai Essay Prizes (2), Sharp Jai Behari History Essay Prize, Ladli Das Sanskrit Essay Prize, Maulvi Shah Jehan Kishen Chand Memorial Prize, Suniti Bala Nag Memorial Essay Prize, Commonwealth Essay Prize, Nishi Kant Sen Essay Prize, M. M. Bhalla Poetry Prize, The Stephanian Prize, Religious Studies Prize (To be recommended by the Chaplain), Miscellaneous prize, Mukarji Memorial Prizes (3), Rajpal Memorial Prizes (3), Kishen Pershad Memorial Prize, Suresh Lal Bhandari Memorial Prize, David Raja Ram Prize, Shrimati Shib Devi Bhagat Singh Prize, Shri Manohar Singh Prize, L. Bakhtawar Lal Jain Prize, Andrews Memorial Prize, Raghuvansh K. Balbir Prize, Wright Memorial Elocution Prizes (2), Swami Vivekananda's Chicago Lectures Centenary Prize, Shri Hazari Lal Gupta Memorial Prize, Shri Bhikha Mal Memorial Prize, Vinod Dikshit Memorial Award, Trilok Nath Pahwa & Mrs Sushila Rani Pahwa Prizes (2), St. Stephen's College Centenary Medal.
A unique feature can be called for in St. Stephen's College. Interesting to note here is that all the students of the College are identified as Junior Members, while the lecturers are called the Senior Members. With the purpose of maintaining a cosmopolitan outlook and pluralistic culture, students of various socio-economic background have sought admission, thereby exuberating a very special ambience and trend within the college campus. In spite of belonging to different departments, the Junior Members love to be referred as Stephanians since it enhances the value that this college rightly is upholding. The proud alumni of St. Stephens College include distinguished personalities like M.N. Masud, Late Maharaja of Bikaner, Dr. Karni Singh, Randhir Singh, and Ranjit Bhatia, the famous sports men who participated in Olympics; veteran journalists namely B.G.Verghese, Sri Krishna, Vishnu Dutt, C.S.Pandit, Ajit Bhattachajea, Nandan Kagal, Prem Bhatia, Swaminathan Aiyar, Arun Shourie, Dilip Cherian, Prem Shankar Jha and Suman Dubey; litterateurs namely like Gopal Gandhi, Amitav Ghosh, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Nirmal Verma, Shashi Tharoor, Alan Sealy, Anurag Mathur, Mukul Kesavan and Khushwant Singh; Film directors, actors and theatre personae namely Ketan Anand, Kabir Bedi, Siddharth Kak, Shekhar Kapur, Amit Khanna, Rajiv Mehrotra, Joy Michael, Parikshit Sahni, Roshan Seth and Safdar Hashmi, Madhur Jaffrey along with Konkana Sen Sharma.
Other glitterati includes Sucheta Kriplani, Vir Bhadra Singh, Vikram Mahajan, Lalit Sen, Inderjit Gupta, K. Natwar Singh, Digvijay Singh, Rao Birendra Singh, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Arun Singh, Salman Khursheed who are famous politicians who have passed out from St. Stephen's College.