Hasselt University was officially established in 1971 as ‘Limburgs Universitair Centrum’ (LUC), but it was not until 1973 that the university – literally – opened its doors and welcomed its first students. Until 1991 the university was, in fact, an undergraduate level university institution with two faculties: the Faculty of Medicine-Dentistry and the Faculty of Sciences (with study programmes in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Biology).
In 1991 the university expanded the reach of its curriculum by transforming the Limburg Business School (Economische Hogeschool Limburg), an independent university college which was located on the same campus in Diepenbeek, into the Faculty of Applied Economics. At the same time, Hasselt University became entitled to organize postgraduate programmes and award doctoral degrees in its three faculties.
Administrative is staff ± 1,100 (2014) and Students are ± 5,500 (2014). In 2002 Hasselt University, together with Hogeschool PXL established the Limburg Association of Higher Education (AUHL). The AUHL was founded to enhance cooperation between higher education institutions in the region. In the past decade Hasselt University has expanded its curriculum thoroughly. Since September 2004 the university offers a unique programme (bachelor and master) in Transportation Sciences.
A bachelor programme in Law was established in September 2008, in cooperation with Maastricht University and KU Leuven. Three years later a master programme in Law was created. 2012 proved to be a new milestone in the university’s young existence, with the inauguration of the ‘city campus’ in Hasselt. The most important student organisation is the Student Council or StuRa. This body of 14 elected students makes sure the student's rights are respected in every way. The chairman also has a seat in the university's Board of Governors. Over the past four decades, Hasselt University has bestowed 53 honorary degrees. In 2013, Martin Cooper - also known as 'father of the mobile phone' - joined the UHasselt Honorary Doctors. He was nominated by the Student Council.