With an eventful, glorious history of 154 years, the Government College University (GCU) has a distinct place in Pakistan’s higher education sector. The institute was founded in 1864 as Government College Lahore – an affiliate college of Calcutta University – and was placed under the leadership of Dr GW Leitner, a professor at King's College London.
In 1882, it became affiliated with the University of the Punjab, and has since produced tens of thousands of scholars who have gone on to serve the country in fields too diverse to put into writing. Given its exemplary record and unique place in the annals of Pakistani history, GC was given the status of a university in 2002 and renamed GC University Lahore. The university is now a fully independent degree-awarding institution of higher learning and operates a campus in Faisalabad as well.
The university has been the alma mater to many notable alumni, including the likes of Har Gobind Khorana, Dr Abdus Salam, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Ishfaq Ahmad, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Patras Bukhari. GCU secured the second place in the medium category university rankings by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) in 2013 and has the highest graduation rate in the country, with an average of 95.5% annually.
The GCU’s motto reads ‘Courage to Know’ and the university offers a diverse range of degrees in disciplines like science and technology, arts and social sciences, languages, Islamic and oriental learning, and engineering.
Located in the downtown Lahore, GCU’s ancient Gothic architecture blends seamlessly with more modern parts of the city. Being situated along the commercial heart of the city that is The Mall, it is conveniently accessible to learners within Pakistan and abroad.
It lies quite close to the iconic Anarkali Bazaar, the Walled City, and Neela Gumbad market; is right opposite the historic Nasir Bagh and only a few minutes’ walk from the shrine of Data Ganj Baksh. The campus is spread across 56 acres and consists of the Main Building that is marked by an impressive tower, the Main Hall, New Postgraduate Block, New Chemistry Block and New Science Block.
The academic departments of the GCU offer a wide variety of subjects and flexible study hours that cater to the needs and interests of the students at intermediate, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. GCU consists of four faculties: Science and Technology, Arts and Social Sciences, Languages, Islamic and Oriental Learning, and Engineering. The academic disciplines offered, among others, include botany, economics, Islamic studies and literature, electrical engineering, physics and business administration etc. The University has five institutes, namely Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS), Centre for Advanced Studies in Physics (CASP), Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (IIB), Sustainable Development Study Centre (SDSC) and Centre of Excellence of China Studies that continually remain engaged in research and advance studies in their crucial domains such as sustainable livelihoods, environmental management and mathematical advancement.
Degrees and Faculty
A total of 10,662 students are enrolled in GCU in various degree programmes at the intermediate, bachelors, masters and postgraduate levels. From the year 2018, GCU will also start offering a PhD degree in botany, biotechnology, chemistry, clinical psychology, economics, English, environmental science, history, mathematics, Persian, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, statistics, Urdu and zoology. GCU has grown into one of the largest universities in Lahore with a faculty strength of 376 members. Among these, 103 faculty members have PhDs.
GCU also has a number of collaborations and linkages with national and international universities, industry and civil society organisations. The varsity has signed various MoUs that have led to the building of a strong relationship between the academia and industry. Besides, the GCU has collaborations with a number of international universities that include, among others, Huanghuai University, China, Graduate School of Language and Culture, School of Foreign Studies, Osaka University, Japan, Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA), Government of the Punjab, Lahore, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran, Gediz University, Izmir, Republic of Turkey and Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen, Germany.
Fee Structure/Scholarships and Financial Aid:
Students from all backgrounds are part of the GCU clan and financial limitation is usually not a roadblock for students aspiring to study at the varsity. A number of initiatives like flexible fee/installment structure, numerous scholarships and financial aid facilities help hundreds of students each year in continuing with their studies at GCU.
Currently, the annual fee of FA/FSc/ICom ranges between Rs 81,000 to Rupees 97,000 per year. Similarly, the fee for programmers offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels ranges between a minimum Rs 52,000 a year and a maximum Rs 218,000 a year for the MBA programme.
However, the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) in collaboration with HEC provides various scholarships to students: Students can vie for various scholarships, including HEC scholarships for students of Balochistan and FATA, GCU EFT scholarships, Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) scholarships, various scholarships at intermediate and undergraduate levels, Pakistan Engineering Congress scholarship, Killa Gift Scholarship, Internal Merit District Scholarship, Pakistan Baitul Mal and Hijri/Quaid-e-Azam Scholarship. The government of Pakistan also provides financial assistance to those foreign students who wish to study in the country and require financial assistance, under a regular programme.
At GCU, all departments are equipped with requisite facilities to achieve excellence in teaching and research. State-of-the-art science and computer labs, a huge library, high-speed Internet, theatres and sports facilities make curricular and extra-curricular activities at GCU a breeze. Besides, the university also has a Student Service Centre, Centre for Special Students (CSS), Health Care Services, cafeterias, various student societies, bookstore, Faiz Ahmed Faiz Seminar Hall, Career Resource Library and a day-care Centre that cater to needs of all and sundry.
Hostel and Transport
The university strives hard to provide quality accommodation facilities to students. There are four hostels for males and one for female students. lqbal Hostel and Quaid-e-Azam Hostel have the capacity to accommodate 200 Intermediate students. The GCU New Hostel has 400 students whereas the Girls’ Hostel has 50 female students. Lodging and messing facilities can also be found in newly established GCU Faculty Mess.
On the transportation front, students can commute comfortably through GCU’s transport buses that ply specific routes on a yearly payment basis. As the vehicles are limited, passes are issued on a “first come first served basis” by the GCU Transport Office. On the plus side, GCU is situated in a busy part of the city that can be accessed through public transport from almost any corner of the city.
So there you have it. A brief yet apt guide to the centre of excellence that is GCU. Let us know with a comment if you think we missed a point or two, or if you would like some more information about GCU.