The history of Bishop Heber College can be traced back to the earlier days during the formation of Heber Memorial School. It became a high school in 1864 and started conducting Matriculation Examination for the pupils. In 1873 the school received the status of a Second Grade College and then in 1882 it was ranked 1st Grade. The institution was renamed SPG College. In fact it was the first college to be formed in Tiruchirappalli. In 1925, Honours courses in History and Mathematics were initiated. During the 1920s it was lovingly called Bishop Heber College. Bishop Heber College feted its Diamond Jubilee year celebration in presence of the Honourable Governor of Madras. Then in 1934 Bishop Heber College came to a close when it was merged with Madras Christian College as per recommendation of Lindsay Commission on Christian Higher Education. The Bishop Heber College became Madras Christian College, Tambaram.
Tiruchirappalli people were highly displeased with the idea of shutdown of the college. After much painstaking efforts, the Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Doraisawmy, the consecrated Bishop of Tiruchirappalli - Thanjavur, revived the college on 24th June 1966. From that year till 1968, Bishop Heber Hall functioned in the old building at Teppakulam. Only Pre-University level classes were held. In July 1968 Bishop Heber Hall College was upgraded to a standard Degree college, offering 3-year Degree Courses on subjects like History, Economics and Mathematics.
1968 to 1972, Pre-University level classes were held at Teppakulam, while Degree classes are held at Puthur. The College grew both in strength and popularity, thereby attracting students from Tamil Nadu. The institution's popularity and academic excellence, attracted students not only from various places of Tamil Nadu but from all over the country also. In the meantime, the College secured financial help from the 'Protestant Central Agency for Co-operation in Development, Bonn, Germany', for constructing permanent buildings for the college. Thus in 1972, four new buildings were unfolded. Later few more buildings were also built, which added to the glory of the college. Today Bishop Heber College has a stunning campus with beautiful gardens all around. The College runs the accredited Study Centres of Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.
Bishop Heber College now offers 11 undergraduate, 14 postgraduate and 2 Post-Graduate Diploma courses. Moreover research programmes like M.Phil and Ph.D also are offered. The College started its Evening Section from 1985. Departments of Bishop Heber College are namely-- Tamil, English, History, Economics, Commerce, Social Work, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Library & Inf. Sc., Computer Science, Environmental Science, Management Studies, Biotechnology, Physical Education, Actuarial Science, Bioinformatics. In the day session undergraduate courses include-- B.A. in History, B.A. in Economics, B.A. in English Literature, B.Com, B.Sc. in Mathematics, B.Sc. in Physics, B.Sc. in Chemistry, B.Sc. in Botany, B.Sc. in Zoology, B.Sc. in Computer Science, M.A. in English Language and Literature, M.A in. Tamil, Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), M.Sc. in Applicable Mathematics and Computer Science, M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, M.Sc. in Chemistry, Master of Library & Information Science (M.L.I.S.). The Evening Section of the College offers undergraduate courses in-- B.Com, B.Sc. in Computer Science, B.Sc. in Chemistry, B.Sc. in Mathematics, B.Sc. in Physics, Bachelor of Computer Applications (B.C.A.), Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A), M.C.A. (Master of Computer Applications), M.Sc. in Information Technology, M.Sc. in Computer Science, M.Sc. in Physics, M.Sc. in Bio-Technology, M.Sc. in Actuarial Science, M.B.A., M.Phil. in Mathematics, M.Phil. in Library Science. Diploma Courses include-- PGDCSA (Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science Applications), PGDAS (Post Graduate Diploma in Actuarial Science) PGDC ( Post Graduate Diploma in Counseling), PGDBI (Post Graduate Diploma in Bio Informatics), DBT (Diploma in Bioanalysis Techniques). Research programmes comprise- M.Phil with specialisations in Tamil, English. Social Work is also offered. Ph.D is offered with subjects like Tamil, English, Social Work, Mathematics, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Botany.
The Bishop Heber College library is well stocked with a huge collection of 85,611 books, 267 journals, 10 Dailies (Newspapers), 4034 Hardback Volumes of Journals. Apart from these, the library also stocks audio cassettes, video cassettes, maps, charts, DVDS, CD ROMs, Floppy discs. It is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 08 a.m. to 08 p.m. On Saturdays it is opened from 09 a.m. to 01 p.m.
Apart from academic excellence special attention is paid on nurturing co- curricular activities. Towards achieving that goal, various associations are formed and students are invited to take part in them. Some of the college's associations are- Tamil Peravai, English Association, Computer Science Association, Library Science Association, Mathematics Association, History Association, Economics Association, Commerce Association, Social Work Association, Physics Association, Chemistry Association, Botany Association, Zoology Association, Environmental Sciences Association, Actuarial Science Association, Business Management Association, Biotechnology Association, Rotaract Club, Leo Club, Nature Club, Christian Endeavour Society, Fine Arts Association, Quiz Club, DOE Club, Youth Red Cross, Sadhana (for Girls only), Junior Jaycees, Entrepreneur Development Cell and Good Samaritan Programme.
Interestingly no student union functions within Bishop Heber College. Every day a brief session of Christian worship is organised at 1.40 p.m in the conference room. Christian students attend the prayer session; however others are also welcome. No corporate worship or religious ceremony / celebration / procession is organised. Religious and moral instructional classes are also held. Every student of first year Degree class will have to undergo the Physical Training course prescribed by the College. Audiovisual Education Programme is also organised. Screening films of educational value is an integral part of this programme. Other facilities provided by the authorities of the college includes photocopy services both for students and staff members, a colour television for showing all U.G.C. Programmes on Higher Education on working days, extensive parking lots.