The College of Engineering, Trivandrum was established in 1939 as the first Engineering College in the then Travancore State. The institution owes its foundation to the bold and inspired vision of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the then Maharaj of Travancore. Initially the College was housed in the former office and bungalow of the Chief Engineer (present PMG Office). Maj T.H Mathewman, a Britisher was the first Principal, Started as constituent College of Travancore University, the College has an initial intake of 21 students each for Degree and Diploma courses in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical branches. With the establishment of the Directorate of Technical Education in the late fifties, the College administration came under the control of the Government of Kerala. The College was shifted to the present sprawling 125 acres in 1960.
Over the years, the intake of students increased and as of now with eight full-fledged departments offering eight undergraduate, 19 postgraduate and doctoral programmes under the University of Kerala, the College has around 3500 students, 285 teaching staff and 290 non-teaching staff. B.Tech, B.Arch, M.Tech, M.Plan, MCA and MBA and evening courses are also offered by the College.
According to a study sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, in the early ninties, College of Engineering, Trivandrum was among the top ten Engineering Colleges in India. Based on an available information, College of Engineering Trivandrum is the 12 the established engineering college in India.