Annamalai University is one of Asia's largest public residential universities located in Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. The university is spread across 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) in Chidambaram and offers courses of higher education in science, engineering, humanities, agriculture and arts. The university was founded in 1929 by the entrepreneur Annamalai Chettiyar in the aftermath of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms. It was the first private University in India. It was taken over by the Tamil Nadu government in 2013.
The university also provides more than 500 courses through distance education.The Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) of Annamalai University offers education to those people who are unable to attend the campus but who desire to study. It is credited with the largest enrollment in India and is well equipped with computers and other infrastructure, separate teaching faculty and administration, study centers, and computer training centers to serve its students. It was the first institution in India to offer postgraduate degree programmes in Applied Psychology, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Bioinformatics and Law through distance education. The Directorate of Distance Education also offers programmes in Fashion Design, Textile Design, Interior Design, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Retail Management, Twinning, Health Science, a Commonwealth Youth Programme, Yoga, Music, Fire and Safety, Pharmaceutical and Taxation.