The Oriental Faculty of Comparative Philology with special reference to Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit was organized in the University under the headship of Dr.Mark Collins in 1914. The department was reorganized during 1927-30, to include Dravidian and Islamic Languages. The Sanskrit unit since then made huge strides in research and publishing in various aspects of Sanskrit Studies and in Sanskrit Catalogus Catalogorum. Now, the Department of Sanskrit offers Masters, M.Phil and Ph.D. Programmes.
The Madras University started the Department of Hindi in April 1952 to make comparative studies between Hindi and other Indian languages. The Department of Hindi offers Masters, M.Phil and Ph.D.Programmes.
Arabic, Persian and Urdu department was started during the reorganization of the oriental faculty during 1930. The aim of Arabic, Persian and Urdu department was to redeem from obscurity the early literary works of outstanding merit in these languages. The Department now offers Masters, M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes in Arabic and Urdu languages.