Gulu University was established by Act 7 of 2001 of the Parliament of Uganda. That Act was subsequently amended by Act 3 of 2006. The university admitted its first students and commenced teaching activities in September 2002
As of September 2013 Gulu University has three campuses.
(a) The main campus is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), by road, northeast of the central business district of Gulu, the largest city in Uganda's Northern Region. This location is approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi), by road, north of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. The coordinates of the university's main campus are:02 47 24N, 32 19 01E (Latitude:2.7900; Longitude:32.3170).
(b) The second campus, known as Gulu University Constituent College Lira (GUCCL), is located in the town of Lira, approximately 108 kilometres (67 mi), by road, southeast of Gulu, also in Northern Uganda.
(c) The third campus of Gulu University is located in the town of Kitgum, approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi), by road, northeast of Gulu, close to the international border with the Republic of South Sudan. That campus became operational in 2011.
As of March 2009, Gulu University has 5 Faculties and 2 Institutes: