Founded by visionary Padmashree Dr. S. B. Mujumdar in 1971 as an International Cultural and Educational Centre, Symbiosis provides a "home away from home" to a large number of students including foreign students who come to Pune in pursuit of higher education. Living up to its name which is a botanical term meaning "living together for mutual benefit", Symbiosis has grown over the past two decades into a family of 33 academic institutions providing education from Kindergarten to Post Graduation.
Today, Symbiosis is ranked 5th in the country and is known in India and abroad as one of the best educational institutes imparting quality education in various fields such as Management, Law, Computers, Health Care, Arts and Commerce.
In 2002, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India conferred the " Deemed to be University" status on Symbiosis and further in 2006, the UGC vide its notification withdrew the word Deemed and renamed the University as Symbiosis International University (SIU).
Symbiosis Society was carrying out distance learning activity through Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL) which was one of the autonomous institutes of Symbiosis. However, Symbiosis society felt that having regard to the large number of educational institutes under its aegis and having regard to the varied methodologies of imparting distance learning / open education using e-learning, self learning material, printed material, on-line content followed by SCDL, it wo