The Indian Universities Act of 1904 was instrumental in enabling the University of Mumbai, as well as its sister universities in Calcutta and Madras to change their character from affiliating universities, to those that also engaged in teaching and research. However, the first teaching department of the University came into existence only in 1919. The reason for the delay in implementation of the recommendations of the Act of 1904 was the shortage of funds foe such educational activities. The first department of the University was The School of Economics and Sociology which was established in 1919, soon after the end of the First World War It was only in 1956 that this composite unit was broken up into independent departments – the Department of Economics, Sociology, Politics and Statistics. When the university celebrated its centenary, there were only five University Departments, to the four department noted above, was added the Department of Chemical Technology.
The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Business Management though had been established in 1955. The Department of Law and Applied Psychology came into being in 1959. The Department of Mathematics in 1963. This was followed by a number of Language Department – English 1962, Sanskrit in 1963, Foreign Language in 1964 (Since broken up into individual units) and Linguistics in 1964. 1965 saw the establishment of the Department of Library Science. The Department of Chemistry was set up in 1966, which was followed by the Department of Botany, while the Department of Life Science was established only in 1975. The Department of Geography had been established earlier in 1969. Some more language department came into existence in 1969-70 and included Marathi, Gujrati and Hindi. The Department of Music was born in 1968 and the Department of History in 1970. The Department of Education and the Gurudev Tagore chair in Comparative Literature were established in 1974. The Departments of Kannada, Sindhi, Urdu, East African Studies Centre and the Soviet studies centre (now knows as the Eurasian Studies Centre) and the Department of Computer Science were next in line and were established in the Fifth Plan Period. To these departments have been added many more, including the Institute of Distance Education and more recently the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Contemporary study and Research.