Stanley Medical College, Chennai

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  • Published 3.11.04
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• WHAT IS IT? A government medical college.

• HOW TO GET IN? For both UG and PG courses, admission is based on the ranking in common entrance test (for all-India quota) and Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Examination (for state quota). Twenty five per cent of seats for all-India quota.

• HOW CHEAP IS IT? For MBBS, the annual tuition fee is Rs 4,000 plus a special fee of Rs 500. For postgraduate courses, the fees range from Rs 19,475 (for PG diploma) to Rs 34,725 (for an MS).

• WHERE IS IT? Stanley Medical College & Hospital, Mint, Chennai 600001, Tamil Nadu. Phone: (044) 25281346-49; Fax: (044) 25288384;


One of the oldest institutions for medical education in the country, Stanley Medical College (SMC) is steeped in a history which goes back to the days of the East India Company.

In 1835, the East India Company set up a medical school in a small building in north Chennai to conduct a two-year ?hospital dressers? course for the ?natives?. Slowly, this school grew in stature and on March 27, 1934, the institution was renamed Stanley Medical School, after the then Governor of Madras Presidency, Sir George Fredrick Stanley. From that year, the course was converted into a five-year programme.

Stanley Medical School was upgraded to a regular medical college on July 2, 1938, and that is when the five-year MBBS course also began. Since then, there has been no turning back for SMC, which is now affiliated to the Chennai-based Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical Sciences University.

?Stanley has not only produced some of India?s finest doctors but also provided yeoman?s service to the sick and injured soldiers of the British Indian Army during World War I,? says the SMC Dean-in-Charge, Dr D.R. Gunasekaran. A monument erected in the memory of these ?brave men from Stanley who laid down their life during the Great War?, has recently been relocated near the Dean?s office.

The SMC campus is a sprawling one with lots of trees and large, airy classrooms. The Old Jail, part of this extended campus, was subsequently demolished to make room for the medical college. SMC now has a 1580-bed hospital and offers a wide range of specialities and super-specialities like general medicine, general surgery, neurology, urology, cardiology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, radiology and so on.

Stanley is particularly famous for three specialities, says Dr R. Surendran, head of the department of surgical gastroenterology. Foremost among them is plastic surgery. It was in this department that Prof. R. Venkataswamy set up the Hand Injury Ward. Many textile mill and printing press workers who had their hands severed or badly injured in accidents while at work found succour in Venkataswamy?s ward. The second is Surendran?s own department, the only one among all medical colleges in the country to have an ISO-9001 recognition. ?We also have a good urology department which averages 50 kidney transplants a year,? he says.

Another unique feature of SMC is that it has two floors devoted entirely to operation theatres which can handle up to 40 surgeries simultaneously.

The college admits up to 150 students every year for the MBBS course. Ragging is strictly prohibited. Students have access to very good laboratory facilities and to a large library with Internet connectivity.

There are two hostels, for boys and girls. The fees are between Rs 1,500 and 1,600 per month, including room rent, food and establishment charges. To enter government service, fresh graduates should apply through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. Opportunities in private, corporate hospitals are put up on the SMC notice board.

SMC, despite the hustle and bustle of north Chennai, looks like a medium-sized village, with a huge playground and facilities for indoor games. Stanleans are particularly good at hockey, basketball and football. They also have a good cricket team. A fine arts club, a debating society and a news bulletin called Stanley Times keep the students busy when they are not wielding the scalpel.

Stanleans are now planning smaller weekend clubs on photography, literary activities and quizzing. The canteen is famous for its South Indian delicacies like idlis, pongal and vada, say SMC old-timers. The students also organise Euphoria, an annual inter-college cultural festival.


Old memories

Prof. R. Venkataswami, eminent plastic surgeon, reflects on his long association with SMC

From playing the role of Tamil nationalist poet, Subrahmanya Bharathi as part of the Stanley Medical College theatre group in 1955 to establishing a world- class centre for hand surgery at his alma mater almost two decades later, it has been a long journey for Prof. Ramaswami Venkataswami. ?The Stanlean spirit infused comradeship with fellow-human beings, something unusual these days,? says Prof. Venkataswami, one of the best known plastic surgeons in India today.

Venkataswami joined SMC in 1951 for his MBBS and followed it with a postgraduation in general surgery. After this, he went to Nagpur Medical College to specialise in plastic surgery.

?Stanley was and is a homely institution where teachers and students mingle freely,? says Venkataswami, who became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. Even in those days, SMC ?was well ahead of other institutions? when it came to academics. He adds, with a touch of pride, that SMC organised the first medical exhibition of independent India in 1952-53.

Venkataswamy recalls the great difficulty he had to face when he set up the hospital?s plastic surgery department. But what started from ?a small corridor, just 30 feet by 9 feet? has now grown into an institute within the hospital itself.