Vivekananda College, which was initially known as Barisha College, had its origin in 1950 under the Dispersal Scheme of the State Government to ease pressure for admission of students to the Colleges in the Calcutta Metropolis with the influx of people from the then East Pakistan, the present Bangladesh. It was first housed in Barisha High School and later shifted to its newly built premises close to the school compound in 1953. It was then an Intermediate College.

In June 1956 the College was sponsored by the State Government with its upgrading as a degree College and in the same year it was also brought under the Refugee Education Scheme of the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Government of India, with the State Government retaining control over it. Afterward, it was at this time that the College was christened as Vivekananda College after the sacred name of Swami Vivekananda - the great patriot and social reformer, an eternal embodiment of the soul of India and a great inspiring force behind the making of modern India.

Scarcity of accommodation being acutely fell with the rapid increase in the number of students, it was again shifted in 1959 to its new spacious premises at Thakurpukur with an extensive campus area of about 6.17 acres of land where the present college buildings were constructed with Capital Grants received from the Rehabilitation Ministry, Government of India. The original college building at Barisha made room for its Women Section, which in 1961 became a separate independent college with the name 'Vivekananda College for Women'.

The people of Barisha - Thakurpukur, an area which is associated with the revered memory of Rev. James Long - a pioneering name dedicated to the cause of humanity and spread of education particularly in this Bengalee inhabited locality in the late 19th Century, could thus get their aspirations fulfilled with the establishment of Vivekananda College, another milestone in the direction for advancement of learning.
Vivekananda College has already earned reputation as one of the premier institutions of higher education in the State of West Bengal. Amongst its makers, the foremost name is Late Dr. Sushil Kumar Ray, D. Sc. - its Founder Principal.

With the present roll-strength of about 5000 students, 87 teachers, 67 non-teaching employees, the college is running in two shifts - Day and Morning, both co-educational.

Vivekananda College now has the teaching facilities up to Honours standard in 19 subjects for Under-Graduate Studies in the Faculties of Arts, Science and Commerce under the University of Calcutta. Besides, Statistics and Electronics (General) in the Degree course have been introduced from the year 2002-2003. Still, there is a need of updradation or opening of new subjects in the emerging areas. Therefore, two more new subjects viz.Human Rights (General) & Women Studies (General) have been introduced from the year 2009-10. Geography (general) has been introduced from 2013-14 session.