H.H The Rajah's college (Autonomous) has an ennobled history behind it. The origin of this college can be traced to the formation of a free English School that was started by the Maharaja of Pudukkottai in 1857. The college was incepted in 1880, when the first batch of students of the school appeared in Matriculation Examination under the University of Madras in the same year. Later in 1891 it started offering courses at intermediate level and also from 1920, a handful of vocational courses also was started. In 1946 undergraduate courses in subjects like Economics, Mathematics, and History started its journey. Thus the College achieved the status of a first grade College. With the merging of the princely state into the Indian Union in 1948, H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) became a government institution under the management of Director of Public Instruction, Madras. B.Com Courses were commenced from 1949. June 1957 is a landmark in the history of H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous), since the University Grants Commission (UGC) acknowledged the institution under section 2(f) and 12(b) of the UGC Act. Undergraduate courses like B.Sc in subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Botany were started in the subsequent years, in order to meet demands of students interested to study science. The college earned the reputation of a postgraduate institute with the beginning of courses like M.Com. Postgraduate courses like M.A in History was started in 1981, while M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics began in 1982. Then again in 1982, when Bharathidasan University was established, H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) received affiliation from it. The College had achieved the status of a research institute in the period during 1989-90, with the starting of M.Phil courses in subjects like Commerce and History. M.A. in Economics was started in 1990. It is one of the two Governmental courses that offer B.Sc. in subjects like Physical Education, Health Education and Sports. It was started in 1990. Ph.D. in history on part time basis was also started in the same year. Much to the satisfaction of students, a B.Sc. course in Computer Science began in 1996.
In 2001 a self funded course, a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Application (P.G.D.C.A) was started under the orders of the then Tamil Nadu state government. Due to its affiliation to Bharathidasan University, the institution received affiliation in 2003, in self-funded courses in subjects' like- Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Computer Application (B.C.A), M.A in Tamil, M.A in English and M.Sc in Computer Science. In 2004 affiliation was granted by the University to start 3 self-funded postgraduate courses in science subjects, like- M.Sc. in Botany; M.Sc. in Chemistry; M.Sc. in Physics; B.Sc. Zoology, a self financed undergraduate course and Certificate course in Yoga, another self-financing course. Presently all the aforesaid self-financing courses are incorporated within the regular curriculum.
In this way, from a humble start in 1880-81 with one eighteen students, H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) has developed moderately into a complete postgraduate and research institute with thirty programmes in twelve departments, with a total student strength of 2500, 112 teachers and 53 administrative staff. Thirty programmes, including thirteen undergraduate courses, ten postgraduate programmes, three M.Phil programmes, two Ph.D programmes, 1 Diploma and 1 Certificate programme.
The College has a tranquil and vast campus of thirty-three acres with excellent infrastructure, including thirteen blocks, from which 5 blocks have been incorporated during the last 5 years. In addition there are thirty-eight classrooms and 9 laboratories that suffices the educational requirements of the students. There are twenty spacious staff rooms in the old blocks.
A wide expanding playground, with total area of twenty acres, has facilities for Basketball, Volleyball, Ball badminton, Khabadi, Cricket, a 400- meter track and an excellent Pavilion. Special mention can be of the Department of Physical Education, with a good quality Gymnasium. This enables the college to have an excellent record in sports. H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) houses an auditorium, canteen and also a co-operative Store for students.
H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) has an asset in the form of a well-equipped library. The library is quite old and has been built by the former Maharaja of Pudukkottai. It has a well stock of books, both in languages like Tamil and English. Many endangered titles are present in the Central Library. Every department houses their own exclusive library. 1998 is an important year in the history of H.H The rajah's college (Autonomous) since it was during that time that the autonomous status was conferred on the college.
In the following year of its attainment of autonomous status, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore accredited the College with 3 star grades. In 2006 NAAC again made a reassessment and accredited B+ status upon the college. Afterwards changes in the selection of optional or elective subjects and also in appraisal and operation were brought out. During the 2005 academic year, the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) was incorporated. In this format thirteen papers with inter or multidisciplinary elements were planned according to the career prospects and value based knowledge of the students. As compulsory and standard courses, the Computer Literacy Programme (CLP) and Environmental Studies were introduced. H.H the rajah's college (Autonomous) also is amongst those non-professional colleges that the Government has selected for installing 'Educational Satellite', which facilitates students by imparting lessons via video conferencing. Also as per the tenth plan of University Grants Commission (UGC), a NET- Center has been installed. It enables postgraduate students as well as the staffs to gather study materials via internet.
Apart from academic excellence, initiatives are taken for nurturing the culture of extra curricular activities amongst the students. Under the sponsorship of social welfare organisations, famous institutions like Rotaract Club, Youth Red Cross, Red Ribbon Club, NCC, NSS and couple of NGOs also conduct social programmes on a regular basis on various subjects, ranging from health to eradication of evils of society like illiteracy etc.
H.H the rajah's college (Autonomous) also has built a centre for organising special coaching classes for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and other competitive examinations for students. Its placement cell also is engaged in providing placement for the students in and around Pudukkottai.
Eminent personalities like Sathiamoorthy, the famous freedom fighter, Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first Indian woman doctor and Akilan, the well-known novelist of Tamil language, also are the proud alumni of H.H the rajah's college (Autonomous). The old college students have established themselves as shining software professionals, engineers, doctors, lawyers and civil servants. Even many of the previous students have taken up jobs in the college in later years.