Approximately 30,000 students attend the university, and Punjab University has a total of 13 faculties within which there are 63 academic departments, research centers, and institutes. Punjab University has ranked first among large-sized multiple faculty universities by the HEC in 2012. There are also two Nobel Laureates among the university's alumni and former staff. Additionally, the university is also a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities of the United Kingdom.
The University of the Punjab was given its initial impetus in 1854 by Wood's despatch. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner was the founder of the university. Contrary to the three previously established universities, which were only examining institutions, the University of the Punjab was both a teaching as well as an examining body right from the beginning.
From its formation in 1882 until 1947, the University of the Punjab served the educational needs of the entire region of pre-independence Punjab and northern India. Mohindra College, Patiala was the first college of higher learning to affiliate with University of Punjab in 1882; followed by St. Stephen's College, Delhi. The independence of Pakistan in 1947 reduced the geographical jurisdiction of the university, as it was split into two separate universities in the respective countries. The Indian portion of the university is referred to as Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. The current Institute of Administrative Sciences was created in 1962.
Many major institutions that were previously affiliated to Punjab University have now become independent universities on their own, such as Government College University, Lahore and Medical and Engineering Colleges.
The University of the Punjab is divided into several campuses across Punjab with one summer campus located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: