Founded in the year 1872, Vidyasagar College owes its origin to the Calcutta Training School, founded by Thakurdas Chakraborty in 1859. In the same year, Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the renowned educationist and social reformer, joined the institution as the President of the Managing Committee and in the school was renamed as the Metropolitan Institution in 1864. During the same year, Ishwar Chandra applied to the Calcutta University for their affiliation to the First Arts (FA) course. Unfortunately, the application was turned down, mainly due to the objection raised by Mr J Sutcliffe, the then Principal of Presidency College, who opined that, affiliation of a competitive college run by the Indians may undermine the dignity and importance of Presidency College.
However, the brilliant performance of the students of the school in the Entrance Examination, conducted by the University of Calcutta in 1871, inspired Vidyasagar to venture for exerting renewed efforts for getting affiliation of the University. This time, despite some opposition, the Vice-Chancellor, Edward Clive Bail agreed to the proposal and on 27 January 1871, the Syndicate in its meeting sanctioned the prayer for affiliation and recommended it to the Government. Finally, on 19 February 1871 the Government of India sanctified affiliation of the institution up to the standard of the First Examination in Arts (FA), with effect from the month of January 1872.
The long journey of the college initially started with only 5 departments, which included Sanskrit, English, Philosophy and General History. It was the first private and truly secular college in the Presidency of Bengal, taught and even financed by the Indians. Subsequently, due to the untiring and persistent efforts of Pundit Ishwar Chandra, the College received affiliation of the University for Imparting Education up to Graduation level in 1879 and for BL course in 1882.
Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar passed away in 1891 and the name of the Metropolitan Institute was named after him as Vidyasagar College in 1917. Since then the College entered a phase of rapid growth and it expanded its academic curriculum by introducing a commerce department in 1922 and a morning section for the girls in 1931. The new commerce department, which had its affiliation up to B.Com standard in 1928, has the distinction of being the oldest commerce-teaching department in India. Due to the rapid growth of the commerce section, in terms of faculty and student strength, a separate wing devoted to commerce teaching in evening hours was established in 1951. The evening section and morning section were named as Vidyasagar Metropolitan College and Vidyasagar Morning College respectively. Vidyasagar Metropolitan College, a co-educational institution affiliated to the University of Calcutta, shares a long and illustrious history with two of its sister institutions Vidyasagar College and Vidyasagar College for Women.
In its long journey to spread the light of education among the young adults, the institution had the blessed services of great luminaries of Bengal, which include Rashtraguru Surendranath Banerjea, Desbandhu Cittaranjan Das, Professor Sisir Kumar Bhaduri, Nabin Chandra Vidyaratna and even Rabindranath Tagore in various capacities.
At present, apart from offering Honours and General courses in different subjects in commerce, science and humanities streams, the College has become a study center of Post Graduate courses in Geography, Dietetics and Community Nutrition Management (DCNM) under the Directorate of Distance Education, Vidyasagar University, from the 2014-15 academic sessions. The college also runs certificate courses in computer education for which the curriculum is developed by the faculties in consultation with experts.
Today, the institution has three campuses. While the original or the main campus is located at 39 Sankar Ghose Lane, the second one, the Bidhan Sarani campus is located at 17 Bidhan Sarani and the third one is in Bidhan Nagar at CL Block of Salt Lake.