The University of Benin was founded in 1970. It started as an Institute of Technology and was accorded the status of a full-fledged University by National Universities Commission (NUC) on 1st July, 1971. In his Budget Speech in April 1972, the then Military Governor of Mid-Western State, Col. S. O. Ogbemudia (then also Visitor to the University) formally announced the change of the name of the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin. On 1st April, 1975 the University at the request of the State Government, was taken over by the Federal Government and became a Federal Government and became a Federal University.

Today, the University has continued to grow from strength to strength with a number of Faculties, Departments, Institutes and Units.Following NUC’s directives, the University experimented with the Collegiate System in 1991/92 and 1992/93.

However, in the light of new developments, the University reverted to the Faculty System except for the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Basic Medical Sciences, and Institute of Child Health which reverted back to the Collegiate System in August, 1999, with a Provost as its administrative head. The Faculties as presently constituted are those of Agriculture, Arts, Education, Engineering, Law, Life Science, Pharmacy, Physical Science, Social Science, and the College of Medical Sciences (which has three Schools: Basic Medical Sciences; Dentistry and Medicine; and the Institute of Child Health).

In January 2006, the Federal Government approved the take off of the College of Petroleum and Gas Engineering of the University of Benin at Effurun, near Warri, in Delta State, with the initial population of 100 students in two departments; Petroleum Engineering and Gas Engineering.

The University offers courses at various levels: Postgraduate, Undergraduate, Diploma and Certificate. Presently, the total student enrolment stands at over 40,000 made up of both full-time and part-time students shared among the various Faculties.