Government College Kottayam is the only government-owned Arts and Science College in Kottayam district. The college is affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam and is included under sections 2(f) and 12B of the University Grants Commission.

The history of the college dates back to the year 1972, when the higher education scenario of Kerala was passing through a radical process of revamping. The demand for a government arts and science college in Kottayam surfaced in the wake of these changes. The Government of Kerala responded favourably to the people’s demand for a government owned college in Kottayam and Government College Kottayam became a reality in August 1972. Sri. C Achuthamenon, then Chief Minister of Kerala formally inaugurated the college in October 1972.

The beginning of the college was humble with three pre-degree batches and three degree courses - B A Politics, B A Economics and B Sc Mathematics - functioning in a building of the nearby Government Polytechnic. The progress of the college afterwards was amazing. In 1974, the college was shifted to its own 15.5 acre campus. New buildings were constructed and new courses started functioning. B Sc Geology was started in 1976 and B Com in 1977. B Sc Physics and B Sc Botany followed in 1981. In 1981, the college introduced MA economics course, thereby elevating the college to the status of a post graduate institution. M Sc Geology followed in 1984. M Sc Physics and B Sc Industrial Chemistry were started in 1998 and B Sc Zoology in 1999.

The college was elevated to the status of a research centre in 2000 when Ph D programme was introduced in the department of Economics. Finally, M Com, M A Political Science and B A English - Language and Literature programmes were started in 2013, reaching the tally of ten undergraduate programmes, five postgraduate programmes and one research department.

Over the years, the infrastructure was developed into about 10000 square feet built-up area with smart class rooms, well equipped laboratories, title-rich library, air-conditioned seminar hall, auditorium, aquarium house, geological museum, modular laboratories, language lab, bioinformatics lab, Sophisticated Analysis and Instrumentation Centre, gymnasium, ladies hostel, cricket net and ground, badminton, volleyball and basketball courts, EDUSAT centre, Community College, canteen etc. Thus, the college has evolved into an excellent educational hub, catering to students of all strata of the society.