The foundation stone of the Muir Central College was laid by Governor-General of India, Lord Northbrook on 9 December 1873. The college was named after Sir William Muir, Lt. Governor of United Province, who was instrumental in its foundation. The building was designed by William Emerson, who also designed Victoria Memorial in Kolkata and Crawford Market in Mumbai in a combination of Indo-Saracenic, Egyptian and Gothic styles. Initially it functioned under the University of Calcutta and later, on 23 September 1887, the University of Allahabad was established, making it the fifth university established in colonial India after Calcutta university, Bombay university, Madras university and Lahore's Punjab university. It began as an affiliating and examining body for graduate and postgraduate degrees with a classical orientation and the responsibility for secondary education as well. Between 1891 and 1922, Government Science College, Jabalpur, the oldest science college of India was affiliated to the university. By 1904 the university established its own teaching departments and instituted doctoral research programs. The University Senate hall was opened by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Hewett, in 1912. 1921, with the promulgation of the 'Allahabad University Act of 1921', the Muir Central College merged with the university, which was reorganised as a unitary teaching and residential university. Over the next few years its affiliated colleges were transferred to Agra University and the task of conducting secondary-level examinations was relocated. In 1951, the university recognised certain local institutions as Associated Colleges authorised to teach undergraduate courses under the faculties of Arts, Commerce, Science, and Law. The university has had on its rolls a host of politicians and statesmen including one president and two vice-presidents of India, two former prime ministers, several union and state ministers, at least four chief justices of the Supreme Court, besides a large number of senior bureaucrats. In view of these achievements, as well as its position among the universities of Uttar Pradesh, the state government accorded it formal recognition in July 1992 as a ‘Premier Institution’. During the university's centenary celebrations in 1987 there were demands from students, faculty and employees for the granting of status as a Central University. The Government of India eventually acceded to this and the university gained both Central status and recognition as an "Institution of National Importance" in May 2005. At that time, the University of Allahabad Act stipulated the constituent colleges of the university to be:
The five faculties of Arts, Commerce, Law, Medicine, and Science,
There was much controversy related to the merger of the Motilal Nehru Medical College with the University. This has been resolved. The HonorableHigh Court of Allahabad passed an order directing that integration of the medical college with the university be completed by 1 October 2006. The affiliation of the S. P. Mukherjee Government Degree College with the University has also been resolved. Now its affiliated to the University. Harish Chandra Research Institute of Mathematics and Mathematical Physics, Allahabad and Kamla Nehru Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Allahabad have sought to revoke their affiliation from the university. The same has been endorsed by the Executive Council of the University.
The campus is spread around the city of Allahabad across the area of Old Katra. It consists of major 5 faculties namely Science, Arts, commerce, law, management Faculties with the arts faculty housing the Administrative Block to Chatham Lines. It has numerous residential hostels for students.
The following colleges are constituent to Allahabad University: