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The Osmania University, established in 1917, is the seventh oldest in the Country, third oldest in south India and the first to be established in the princely State of Hyderabad. Though the need for the university for the Hyderabad State was felt, both by the intelligentsia and the people for a long time, the initiative came from a civil servant, Sir Akbar Hydari, who was then the Home Secretary to the State Government. Sir Hydari, in a memorandum to the Education Minister in Early 1917, emphasized the need to establish a University of Hyderabad with 'Urdu' as the medium of instruction "as it is the language of the widest currency in India, official language of the State, and it is a language which is understood by a vast majority of the population of the State." He believed that higher education must have its foundations deep in national consciousness.

The propitious moment, however, came a few months later on 26th April, 1917 when a Firman was issued for the establishment of the University. The Firman also detailed the 'Mission' and 'Objectives' of the University.

The University, like any corporate body, is governed by an Act, which stipulates the authorities and functionaries of the University and their roles and responsibilities. Over the years, the University has expanded and its administration has become very complex. External factors like, the constitutional framework, the educational policies of Central and State Governments, the University Grants Commission as well as internal factors influence its working. Briefly, the policy-making bodies of the University and administrative setup comprise a number of institutional structures charged with the governance of the University. The Academic Senate, the Executive Council, the Finance Committee, the Standing Committee, Faculties, Boards of Studies, and Departments are the important institutions of the University which are bestowed with powers of decision-making and implementation.