Patna University was established in the year 1917 and it functioned as affiliating and examining body for over 30 years. On January 2, 1952 it was converted into a purely teaching -cum-residential University with the territorial jurisdiction over Metropolitan Patna. It is one of the oldest Universities in the Country. In Bihar it is the first, and in the subcontinent, it is the seventh oldest University. The University buildings are located on the bank of River Ganges and in the second Campus i.e. Saidpur Campus.
The Patna University has 31 postgraduate departments in the faculties of Science, Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Commerce, Law and 10 constituent colleges, apart from Patna Medical College and Patna Dental College in the Faculty of Medicine whose management and control are with the State Government. There are 4 Institutes maintained by the University e.g. Institute of Psychological Research & Services, Institute of Public Administration, Institute of Music, and Institute of Library and Information Science. College of Arts & Crafts is fully devoted to the course of fine arts and has been imparting teaching in painting, sculptures etc. A Faculty of Fine Arts has also been started and is located on the campus of College of Arts & Crafts. Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) is a separate unit catering to the needs of large number of students who are unable to get admission as regular students in Colleges or are in service in some institutions.