Government Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram, has a long and glorious history. Originally a part of H. H. The Maharaja's College, Thiruvananthapuram, it was separated from the parent institution in 1924 (vide GO. R.O.C. No. 395 of 23 Legis, E dated 9lh May, 1924 issued by the Government of H. H. The Maharaja of Travancore) to house the Arts Departments, and named H. H. The Maharaja's College of Arts. The parent college was named H. H. The Maharaja's College of Science.
When the new college opened on the 4th of July, 1924, the Departments of History, Economics, Sanskrit and Dravidian Languages and English were transferred to it from the parent institution. Honors courses in English, History and Economics were also conducted here at that time. The Department of Philosophy was opened in 1925. Ten years later, in 1935, the college started the Honors Course in Malayalam and the Post-graduate Course in Sanskrit the following year.
With the founding of the University of Travancore in 1937, the two colleges were amalgamated into H.H. the Maharaja's University College, Trivandrum, and the Arts College at Thycaud functioned as a part of the University College. Independence, in 1947, there was an attempt to try out a new system of University Education, and as a part of this experiment, the Arts College was converted into the University Previous School, In 1949, with the introduction of the Intermediate Course, the institution came to be called the University Intermediate College. In 1956, the Intermediate Course was stopped and the institution once again became a college coaching students for the University Previous Examination.
In 1957-58, Pre-professional courses were started in this college, but the Pre-engineering course was stopped a few years later with the introduction of the 5 year integrated course in the Engineering College. The Pre-medical course went on for some more time. In 1964-65, the two-year Pre-degree course was introduced and with the passing of the Kerala University Act, the management of the college was taken over by the Government of Kerala. Later it was upgraded into a First Grade College and named Government Arts College with effect from the 28lh of July, 1971.
Today, the Government Arts College offers degree courses in Economics, Commerce, biotechnology, and Physics. Post-graduate courses in English, Economics, Commerce and Analytical Chemistry. There are around 600 students enrolled in the college and a total of 70 people employed here in teaching as well as in non-teaching positions.
Eminent personalities like Dr. K. R. Narayanan, the former President of India. Dr. P. C. Alexander, the former Governor of Maharashtra, Sri Changampuzha Krishna Pillai, a noted poet of Kerala, Prof. N. Krishna Pillai, the distinguished playwright, Prof. S.Guptan Nair well-known critic in Malayalam, Dr. G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO and Dr. M. S. Valliathan are a few among the former students of this institution.