Stella Maris College is a Catholic institution of higher education for women in Chennai, India. It is an autonomous college affiliated to the University of Madras and is partly residential. The college, which is under the direction of the Society of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, is a minority institution that provides university education in a Christian atmosphere for deserving students, especially those belonging to the Catholic community.The college is under the management of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. It was founded on 15 August 1947 with an enrollment of 32 students in the intermediate class. Stella Maris was granted permanent recognition in 1951. The college has the unique credit of having initiated bachelor’s degrees in Western Music and History of Fine Arts, as well as master’s degrees in Social Work and Indian Music, at the University of Madras.
Additionally, it was the first women’s college in Madras to offer M.A. degree courses in English, Economics, and Fine Arts. In 1960, the college moved from Santhome to a more spacious campus, “The Cloisters”, Cathedral Road, Chennai. The following few decades saw tremendous growth and development in the college with several firsts and distinctions. The college was one of the few chosen to start the pilot project of the National Service Scheme in 1968. A spacious library was erected on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the college in 1972 and occupies a place of pride on the campus as well as in Chennai.
The B.A. Degree programme was introduced in 1963. Today the Department also offers research programmes leading to M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees. Foundation Level courses in English and Soft Skills training to first and second year students of all disciplines are also offered by the Department. At the Undergraduate level the Department offers a variety of courses which range from genre-based to interdisciplinary. Regional literatures with their focus on cultural diversity, linguistic and contextual complexities and identity issues form the core of the Undergraduate programme. In offering students an eclectic mix of subjects and approaches to the study of literatures and ‘englishes’, the Department has ensured the relevance of the discipline in today’s world, while maintaining traditional strengths.