St. Stephen's College draws its inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and seeks to foster the intellectual, spiritual, moral and aesthetic formation of those who come to it. It is a minority educational institution of the Church of North India (CNI), Delhi Diocese. The essence of the College is encapsulated in its motto: Ad Dei Gloriam, or "to the Glory of God". St. Stephen’s is the oldest college in continuous existence in Delhi. In the beginning it was affiliated to Calcutta University, but it shifted its affiliation, in 1882, to the University of Punjab in Lahore: an examining University established in October 1882 out of the Lahore University College of Calcutta University. Forty years later, in 1922, St. Stephen’s became one of the three original constituent colleges of the University of Delhi, when it was established by an Act of the Legislature.
The College provides ample facilities for development of an integrated personality. It has a fine library containing more than ninety thousand books. The College playing fields for out-door games are situated outside the Old City Wall between Kashmere Gate & Mori Gate while there are facilities for playing tennis, basketball and soccer on the College Campus. The Francis Monk Gymnasium, the Junior Common Room and the Ladies Common Room provide facilities for gymnastics, badminton, squash, table tennis and other indoor games.
The College provides residence on the campus for about 350 students. Residential facilities are available for both men and women, at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The founders envisaged the College as primarily a residential institution, and historically residence has been an integral feature of St. Stephen’s. While the College prides itself on the exceptionally large number of students who are so accommodated, not everyone who wants residence can be offered it.
Apart from the freeships and scholarships based on financial need, there are several scholarships awarded to meritorious students, such as The Sumitomo Scholarships, The Sanwa Bank Scholarships, Vikas Dhaka Scholarship and KPMG Scholarships.