Periyar Arts College with its rural background is situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal at Devanampattinam village, 200 km south of Chennai on the East Coast Road. The college has been named after Thanthai Peiyar EV Ramasamy, the great rationalist and social reformer.
Periyar Arts College was started in 1964 at Cuddalore. Initially 360 students were admitted in four different branches in the Pre – University course the college functioned in the District Board Buildings. In 1965, the college was upgraded to First Grade College. On 06-09-1964, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Madras, Thiru. M. Bakthavatsalam, inaugurated the college.
The B.Com., course was started in 1973. The B.Sc., degree course in Chemistry and Physics were started in 1979. The B.Sc., degree course in Botany and B.A., degree course in History were started in 1980. The B.Sc., degree course in Zoology was started in 1983. The college was upgraded to Post Graduated College in 1986, with introduction of the M.Com. degree course.
In 1996-97, the B.Sc., degree course in Industrial Chemistry under Vocational Stream was started with the financial assistance from the U.G.C under the scheme of vocationalisation at the first-degree level. In the same year B.Sc., Computer Science was also started.