In the early 1920s, to serve the downtrodden and to promote Tamil Literature, Rajah Sir S. R. M. Annamalai Chettiar founded Sri Minakshi College, Sri Minakshi Tamil College and Sri Minakshi Sanskrit College in a rural setup at Chidambaram. In 1928, Rajah Sir S. R. M. Annamalai Chettiar agreed with the local Government to handover the above said institution for establishing a University. Thus, on 01.01.1929 Annamalai University was established as per Annamalai University Act 1928 (Tamil Nadu Act 1 of 1929).
The most significant development is the enactment of the Annamalai University Act, 2013 (Tamil Nadu Act 20 of 2013), which has come into force from September 25, 2013, after obtaining the assent of His Excellency, the President of India.
Annamalai University, accredited with ‘A’ Grade by NAAC in 2014, is one of India’s largest public residential universities with 10 Faculties and 49 departments of study. Sprawling over 950 Acres of land, the University does yeoman service in taking education to the doorsteps of the people who are otherwise far from access to centres of higher learning. The University has initiated several innovative teaching programmes over the years and has been a pioneer in distance education.
“The NIRF-2019” by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has ranked the University in the band 101 - 150 in the overall category as well as the University Category. In the Pharmacy Category the ranking is 12th in India. In the Medical Category the ranking is 25th
“The Times Higher Education World University Ranking - 2019” has ranked Annamalai University in 1000+ for Overall category. In the Subject category Ranking, 2019, the University is ranked in the band of 501-600 for Life Sciences and Pre-clinical, clinical & Health Subjects. 800+ in the Physical Sciences subject.
“The QS World University Ranking - 2019” has ranked Annamalai University in the band of 291 - 300 in Asia Ranking, 174 in the BRICS Ranking and 43 in India Ranking.
"The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2018”, on scientific impact of universities and on universities’ involvement in scientific collaboration & scientific performance, has ranked the University at 20th based on the number of publications and 4th based on the proportion of publications that, compared with other publications in the same field and in the same year, belong to the top 10% most frequently cited.
“The MDRA - India Today Ranking” (2018) has ranked Annamalai University 13th among the best Government Universities in India.
“The SCImago Institutional Ranking” (2018) has ranked 7th in Tamil Nadu and 32nd among the top 197 ranked institutions for Higher Education in India.
International Comparative Performance of India's Research Base (2009-14), a report published by Elsevier in April, 2016, prepared in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science, Government of India has rated the University as the top Indian Institute in Pharmacology, 17th among the top 30 Indian Universities in Publications with highest subject area Publication Count in Pharmacology.
As far as the Global Exposure, Indian Science Ascending, a Springer Nature report, done in conjunction with Confederation of Indian Industries, has ranked the University as 11th among the top 20 Indian Institutions in International Collaborations.
The University has participated in the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean Expeditions (SOE) organized by National Centre for Antarctic Ocean Research 2011 - 12 onwards.
Annamalai University has a commendable track record in projects and publications and has been awarded the PURSE Programme by the Department of Science and Technology. Ten departments are supported by UGC-SAP, Ten by DST-FIST and two departments have attained the status of Centre of Advanced Study. Annamalai University has joint research and innovation partnerships with 24 institutions across the USA, Europe, Australia, Japan, and the UK. The list of partners includes prestigious institutes like Karolinska Institute, John Hopkins University, and University of Michigan amongst others.
Two of the most notable international collaborations in which Annamalai University is the Co-ordinating Institute include the Indo- EU FUNCFOOD Project and the 21st Century Indo-US Knowledge Initiative. There are several ongoing research projects with international foundations and industrial players like Bayer, CavinKare, Dow Agrosciences, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, HCL, L&T, Accenture, and Huawei.
To its credit, The University has obtained 15 Patents and has 40 MoUs with research partners like FAO, IRRI & USDA.
The ISR activities of the University include, Hospital on Wheels, Free Medical and Dental Camps in Villages, Lifestyle & Hygiene Awareness, Rural & Urban Health Centres through the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry which is attached with a 1400 bedded hospital. The Faculty of Agriculture carries out extension activities like Agripreneurship Development Programme, Sustainable Livelihood Projects for Tsunami affected people and Training Farmers in Integrated Farming.