The Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli was started in October 1981 to fulfill the needs of the people of the Southern region. At first, the College was functioning in a bungalow near Tirunelveli Medical College, since new buildings were under construction. In 1984, the College started to function in the new buildings. The college is affiliated to Anna University.
Initially, the College admitted students for three under-graduate branches: Civil, Electronics and Communication and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering were added later. The post-graduate course of Computer Science and Engineering was introduced in 1994-95. Both full time and part time courses are offered. Each discipline of engineering has its association which organizes seminars and symposia on technical topics. Papers are presented at the meeting by student members, staffs and experts in the respective field.
Students of the college have access to The Educational Multimedia Research Centre of Anna University. It is one of the seventeen media centers established by the University Grants Commission to produce Educational Television (ETV) programs for the college students. Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) coordinates the activities of the media centers.
The Central Library has a huge collection of books and subscribes to many periodicals and journals. The service is fully computerized. Computer terminals are available for searching the library catalogue. Digital library facilities, CD-ROMs, books and audio-visual materials on a variety of study areas are available. The college provides free Internet access for staff and students at the library.