The Department of Zoology was started in 1927 when the subject was taught to the intermediate students. Rev. Fr. Foreau S. J., was the first Lecturer and Mr. Krishnasamy Iyengar assisted him. B.Sc. Degree course was started in 1957 and was upgraded to M.Sc. in the year 1979. The Department was recognized as a Research Department in 1985 and M.Phil. course is being offered since 1986. In the year 2003 the Department was recognized as DST-FIST sponsored Department. In 2014, the department was recognized and included under Star College Department Scheme offered by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.
The B.Sc. programme of the Department provides a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts of various branches of Zoology like Invertebrata, Chordata, Biochemistry, Biostatistics and Introduction to Computer Science, Physiology, Ecology, Genetics, Aquaculture, Molecular Biology, Immunology and Microbiology, Evolution, Bioinformatics, Environmental Science, Development Biology and Insect Diversity and Pest Management are being offered. Moreover, in collaboration with Department of Chemistry, we offer "Biomolecules" as inter-disciplinary paper and Sericulture and Aquaculture as Certificate Courses. The M.Sc. programme provides in-depth study in Cell and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics and Animal Biotechnology, Techniques in Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Immunology and Microbiology, Evolutionary Biology, Animal Physiology, Developmental Biology, Aquaculture and Insect Pest Management. The curriculum also includes dissertation work. The M.Phil. programme offers specialized courses on Research Methodology, Aquaculture Biotechnology and Applied Entomology and a project work in Basic and Applied aspects in Aquaculture or Entomology.
To promote research activities in our department six research units / centres have been established and successfully run by our faculty members like Dr. Dunston P. Ambrose [Entomology Research Unit (ERU)], Dr. M.A. Haniffa [Centre for Aquaculture Research and Extension (CARE)], Dr.K. Sahayaraj [Crop Protection Research Centre (CPRC)], Dr. M. Narayanan [Aquatic Biodiversity Centre (ABC)], Dr. T.A. Sethuramalingam [Centre for Aquafeed and Nutrition (CAFen)] and Dr. B. Xavier Innocent [Fish Immunology Lab.]. At present these research centres are headed by Dr. K. Sahayaraj (Zoology Research Centre and Crop Protection Research Centre), Dr. J. Ronald (Centre for Aquaculture Research and Extension), Dr. P. Selvaraj (Entomology Research Unit) and Dr. J. Babila Jasmine (Centre for Medical Entomology and Pharmacology).
Our faculty members tapped research grants worth nearly Rs. 10 crores from Regional (MK University, Madurai; TNSCST, Chennai; MEA Trust, Chennai), and National [University Grants Commissions (UGC), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOE), Govt. of India] and also from International (IFS, Sweden) funding agencies.
Dr. Dunston P. Ambrose and Dr. K. Sahayaraj have earned post-doctoral degrees - Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Zoology from Madurai Kamaraj University and University of Madras in 1999 and 2017 respectively. Dr. M.A. Haniffa (CSIR-2008-2013 and UGC-2013-2015) and Dr. Dunston P. Ambrose (CSIR) (2012-2015) have been honoured as Emeritus Professors. Our faculty members have brought out more than 1000 research papers and 15 books during this period and have produced more than 145 Ph.Ds. Research activities of our research centers is a boon to our department and to the college, that brings more laurels and fetches maximum grade points in the NAAC accreditation processes.
At present, the faculty members are concentrating on the basic and the applied aspects of Aquaculture Zoology [Aquatic biodiversity, Marine Biotechnology, and Fish Larviculture], Agriculture Zoology [Pestiferous Insects, Phytopathogens and their management], Medical Entomology [Vector Biology and Management], Insect Immunology, Wild life Biology and Phytochemistry and Pharmacology.