The Sambalpur University Act was passed by the Orissa Legislature on 10th December, 1966 to fulfill long cherished dream of the people of Western Orissa for establishment of a University. The University started functioning from 1st January, 1967 with Prof.Parsuram Mishra as the first Vice-Chancellor. The University was inaugurated on 4th January, 1967 by Hon’ble Chancellor A.N.Khosla. The University started functioning in 1967 in a rented private building at Dhanupali, Sambalpur and in Government building at Ainthapali, Sambalpur from 1968 - 72. In the year 1973 the University was shifted to the present campus named Jyoti Vihar at Burla.
The University at Jyoti Vihar provides Post-Graduate education in Twenty-seven subjects through Twenty Post-Graduate Departments.
The University Post-Graduate Departments offer one-year study Programme for M.Phil Degree, two years study programme for the Degrees of M.A. / M.Sc. / LL.M. / Business Administration / M.Lib & Inf.Science, One-Year P.G. Diploma Course in Computer Science & Application and Diploma Course in Sambalpuri Studies and Three-Year course in M.C.A. and Executive M.B.A.
The P.G.Departments of Chemistry, Life Sciences, History, Economics, Library & Information Sciences and Mathematics have been conferred Autonomous Status by the University. They adopt Semester system based on continuous evaluation. They adopt their own courses of studies.
In the year 2000 the Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education has launched BCA, PGDCA and PGDIT courses.
In the year 2003 the Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education has started floating MCA (Direct and Lateral), DCA Course and
In the year 2006 the D.D.C.E. has started floating MBA (Off Campus) full time courses.