Chittagong College first college in the greater chittagong area, was established as Chittagong Zila School in 1836. Thirty-three years later, it was upgraded to an intermediate college in 1869. Mr. JC Bose was appointed the first principal. Within a year, the college had to close because of financial constraints. It was reopened in 1871 with the help of a grant of Rs 10,000 donated by Roy Bahadur Golakchandra Roy of Dhum of mirsharai upazila.
Initially, the college offered courses of up to FA (First Arts) level. It also provided education in Law for students to enable them to qualify for pleadership examinations. Law education in the college, however, was suspended in 1909. In 1910, university of calcutta registered it as a first grade degree college and allowed it to offer honours courses in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The college suspended its honours programme in 1955 but reintroduced honours courses on English, Bangla, Economics, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in 1960. B Sc courses on Zoology and Botany and BA/BSc course on Statistics were introduced in 1962.
Large-scale development programmes were implemented in the college during the period of the Second Five-Year Plan of Pakistan. These included modernisation of science laboratories, construction of a big administrative building, new students' hostels and separate buildings for Chemistry, Physics and Biology departments, and expansion of the old hostel for students. The college library has a collection of more than 60,000 books. Many learned scholars taught in the college. Noted among them were Surendranath Dasgupta, Janardan Chakravarty, Bhabatosh Dutta, Subodh Sengupta, Jogeshchandra Singha, Mansur Uddin and Motahar Hossain Chowdhury. Among the distinguished alumni of the college are Priyadaranjan Roy, Habibullah Bahar, Ashab Uddin Ahmed and Ahmed Sharif.
Many students and teachers of the college took active part in the war of liberation of Bangladesh. The students of the college also have significant contributions to the various national movements. At present, the college has 17000 students and 134 teachers. It offers Honours and Masters programmes on 17 subjects and 18 subjects respectively viz, Bangla, English, Economics, Political Science, History, Islamic History and Culture, Philosophy, Sociology, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Mathematics, Statistics, Geography, Pali, Sanskrit, Urdu and Psychology. [Sadat Ullah Khan]