Government College of Engineering, Salem was started during the Third Five Year plan in the year 1966. The first batch of students was selected for the academic year 1966 - 67 for courses in Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering. The College is a Regional Centre for Anna University for Ph.D., and M.S., programs. The college is the zonal office for the conduct of Anna University Examinations in the 21 colleges belonging to this zone. It is also one of the eleven technical institutions of Tamil Nadu selected for World Bank financial assistance under Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP).
In addition to Bachelor’s degrees, the college also offers Master’s programs in Civil (Structural Engineering), Mechanical (CAD), Mechanical (Thermal Engineering), Electrical & Electronics (Power Electronics & Drives) and Metallurgy (Welding Technology). Part time B.E courses are also offered in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, and Electronics & Communication Engineering.
Residential facilities are provided with six separate blocks for the under graduate, post graduate male students and an exclusive hostel block for girls. An auditorium with a seating capacity of 600 and with facilities like LCD displays and projectors is available. A full time Medical Officer is in charge of the college Dispensary which takes care of the medical needs of the students.
The students are involved in arranging guidance classes for higher secondary and state board students of the very poor rural schools. They also provide some essentials in some homes for infants or small kids. For raising funds for these activities, many cultural programs are held.