The college was established on 10th of June ,1891 by the ruler of the earstwhile INDORE (HOLKAR) dynasty Maharaja SHIVAJI RAO HOLKAR in the memory of his father MAHARAJA TUKOJI RAO HOLKAR to meet the requirement of education in this central provinces. As no building was available , initially the classes were started in MAHARAJA SHIVAJI RAO school for some years. A new building was constructed in 1894 in Navlakha area beautifully situated and full of countless trees. In the beginning Subjects Taught were English Literature, Sanskrit, Persian, Logic, History, Political Economy, Maths & Science. Oxford University graduate and Bar-at-law . Mr. E.C. Cholmondeley became the first reqular Principal of this College B.Sc. Classes were stated his times. The college was affiliated to the University of Calcutta till 1904 and then to the Univ. Of Allahabad. 1926 to 1940 a.d. was the golden period for the development of the college. Dr. Prafulla Chandra Bose was the principal. During this period post graduate classes in many subjects were started along with some new subjects at degree level. The college made prestigious records at the national level in sports & cultural activities, besides academic achievements. In the sixties Arts, Commerce, Science and Law faculties were taught in the college. Due to its large number of students, the college was bifurcated in two units in 1961. The old building continued its science faculty with quality teaching and research work, ever since its inception, the college has earned prestige in the fields of education, sports, cultural and social activities and became a source of inspiration. Parasently , the College is affiliated to Devi Ahilya University of Indore. The state govt. Declared it as a Model College in 1985-86. It was given a status of an Autonomous College in 1988 by D.A. University with the consent of the state govt. And U.G.C.., New Delhi. In 1994-95 it was declared as a centre of excellence by the sate govt. With the grant of U.G.C.., employment oriented courses like Seed Technology and Fisheries were started in the same year. As Per Autonomous scheme rules for admission, planning of syllabus, process of evaluation and implentation were framed. Autonomy is an educational concept. The basic objective was to inspire students & teachers forwards excellence, creative and innovative ideas, to meet the local needs and to evolve a process of continual evaluation and to record the achievements of the students. It is evident that the students are expected to give their best performance by way of regularity and hard work in their studies. The College has a long and rich tradition of research. In the early years. Prof. Athwale, Prof. Gokhale, Prof. S.N. Dhar Etc. earned a name in fundamental and research works. Dr. S.S. Deshpande earned a reputation in research at home and abroad. This legacy was contained by his worthy disciples. Quality research work was also done in Physics, Maths, Botany & Zoology Subjects. Now also the college is known as a prime centre of research. The college is couned among the few renowned institutions for its rich library of rare books and journals and devoted teachers. Besides fundamental science subjects, research work in inter Science Subjects like Bio-physics & Geophysics is also under taken.
It has been the birthplace for many scholars and experts who have distinguished themselves in the fields of Mathematics and Science. The College boasts strong Chemistry and Physics departments. The institute receives funds from the state but is autonomous with regards to administration and conduct of examinations. Admission is restricted to students domicile to Madhya Pradesh. Well known for academic standards, it was recently termed "model" and a "Center for Excellence". The primary emphasis of the college remains undergraduate training till date.
Holkar College has a competitive and strictly enforced admission process. As a result, usually students with first class grades get admission in various departments of the college. The college has strong faculty and advanced learning procedures and as a result, the graduates from the college are considered to be specialists in their branch of Science.