Manonmaniam Sundaranar University was promoted by the Government of Tamil Nadu as a teaching-cum-affiliating university on September 7, 1990 to cater to southern most districts of Tamil Nadu viz., Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, and Kanyakumari. The university is named after the Tamil poet Professor P. Sundaram Pillai (1855-1897), author of the famous verse drama Manonmaniam. The university boasts 66 affiliated colleges, six university colleges and four constituent colleges with 73,000 students on the rolls and 2400 students enrolled at the university campus itself. Among the affiliate colleges, three are over 100 years old viz. St. John’s College, MDT Hindu College and Sarah Tucker College - one of the oldest women’s college in the state. The motto of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is “Reaching the Unreached”.
The university’s main campus at Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli is spread over 520 acres and houses majority of the university’s departments. The Alwarkurichi campus measures 120 acres and houses the Sri Parama Kalyani Centre for Environmental Sciences department and the third campus at Rajakkamangalam which is about 70 acres houses the Centre for Marine Sciences and Technology.
Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is accredited by the NAAC with Grade B and declared as a deemed university by the UGC.