The university was established in 1970 by the government of Pakistan by the Jahangirnagar Muslim University Ordinance, 1970. During the first two years, it operated as a project. Its first Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mafiz Uddin Ahmad (Ph.D in Chemistry, University of Illinois, Chicago) took up office on September 24, 1970. The first group of students, a total of 150, was enrolled in four departments: Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics. Its formal inauguration was delayed until January 12, 1971, when the university was launched by Rear Admiral S. M. Ahsan, the Chancellor.