The establishment of Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 marks one of the most important events in the educational and social history of modern India. Its establishment is considered as the first significant response of the Indian Muslims to the challenges of post 1857 era. It was an important catalyst in a process of social change among Muslims. "An epoch in the social progress of India" - with these words on his lips Lord Lytton laid the foundation stone of the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College on January 8, 1877. Nearly eight years later, when the noted Orientalist Sir Hamilton Gibb looked back at the history of Muslim Transition from the medieval to the modern way of life, he characterized this College as "the first modernist institution in Islam".
The University has the Z.H. College of Engineering and Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Dr.Ziauddin Dental College, Institute of Opthalmology and Food Craft Institute, Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit, Centre of Advance Study in History, Centre of West Asian Studies, Centre of Wildlife, Academic Staff College, Women's College, Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College, University Polytechnic for boys and girls, separately and Computer Centre. The University has a campus spread over 467.6 hectares of land.
It attracts students from all over the world, especially Africa, West Asia and South East Asia. The language taught here includes English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, French, Turkish, German and Russian. The medium of instruction is primarily English