The history of University of Central Punjab can be traced back to 1985, when the Islamic Commerce Educational Society established its first institution in Lahore, the Punjab College of Commerce. This was followed three years later by Punjab Law College. Due to the high demand from the public for quality higher education, these Colleges branched out into various cities in Punjab. In 1991, the Punjab College of Business Administration (PCBA) was established in Lahore, followed by the Punjab Institute of Computer Science (PICS) in 1993. Within five years, both of these institutions emerged as highly specialized educational centers, training individuals as successful professional managers and computer scientists.
By 1996, twelve campuses had been established with more than 18,000 students enrolled at that time across Punjab, and these collectively became known as ‘The Punjab Group of Colleges’. With this rapid expansion and growing reputation for delivering quality education, The Punjab Group of Colleges emerged as the largest higher educational network in the private sector in Pakistan. During this period The Group also founded Muhammad Ali Jinnah University in Karachi, which was granted degree awarding status by the Government of Sindh in July, 1998. MAJU now maintains twin campuses in Karachi and Islamabad, both of which are recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, the apex body for higher education in the country.
The Punjab Group, envisioning Pakistan as a center of education excellence, next petitioned the Government of the Punjab in August, 1996 to establish a University in the province. This dream became a reality in October 1999, when the Government of the Punjab initially issued a No Objection Certificate, and upon fulfilling the prescribed criteria, the charter was awarded in April, 2002, and the University of Central Punjab proudly became the first university in the private sector in Punjab to be awarded degree-granting status by the Punjab Government. With this addition, The Punjab Group had expanded to 51 campuses with an enrolment of around sixty-two thousand students.
Upon its commencement of operations in October 1999, University of Central Punjab offered courses in Management Studies, Information Technology, Commerce and Law through its principal constituent institutions: Punjab College of Business Administration (PCBA), Punjab Institute of Computer Science (PICS), Punjab Colleges of Commerce (PCC), Punjab Law College (PLC) and Punjab College of Information Technology (PCIT), all in Lahore. These Colleges formed the core of the University at the time of its inception; however in 2004, restructuring took place where individual Faculties in each discipline were formed, namely Faculty of Management Studies (formerly PCBA), Faculty of Information Technology (formerly PCIT), Punjab Colleges of Commerce and Punjab College of Law now respectively function under the Faculties of Commerce and Law of the University of Central Punjab, and in 2004, the Faculty of Engineering was introduced. Faculties of Languages & Literature and Arts & Social Sciences are in the organizational phase, and will be housed at the new campus of the University, which is due to be completed by 2008.