The Gujarat University was conceived in the nineteen twenties in the minds of public-spirited and learned men like Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Acharya Anandshankar B. Dhruva, Dada Saheb Mavlankar, Kasturbhai Lalbhai and many others. However, the University could come into existence only after the achievement of independence.In 1949, the University was incorporated under the Gujarat University Act of the State Government ‘as a teaching and affiliating University.’ This was done as a measure of decentralisation and reorganization of University education in the then Province of Bombay.
During the course of its life of more than five decades, the University has seen the establishment of seven more Universities which were carved out of the jurisdiction of the Gujarat University, viz., Sardar Patel University, Saurashtra University, Bhavnagar University, South Gujarat University, Gujarat Ayurveda University, Gujarat Agricultural University and North Gujarat University. Even then, the Gujarat University is the largest university in the state catering to the needs of higher education of more than two lakh students scattered over 235 colleges, 15 recognised institutions and 24 approved institutions. There are 34 Post-Graduate University departments and 221 P.G. Centres.
Gujarat University is an affiliating University at the under-graduate level, while it is a teaching one at the post-graduate level. Indeed, the responsibility for post-graduate instruction has been statutorily given to the University, and accordingly it has evolved a plan of co-ordinated instruction under the direct control and supervision of the University so as to ensure efficient and diversified instruction. An important feature of this University is the system of external examinations in the Faculties of Arts and Commerce, both and under-graduate and post-graduate levels. The external examinations were introduced with a view to enabling working students and the others who could not afford the high cost of university education to realize their dream.