The University of Waikato was founded in 1956 after Hamilton residents launched a petition for an institution to serve the needs of the South Auckland region. The local group was led by Douglas Seymour who was a barrister. In 1960, the newly founded Hamilton Teachers’ College opened its doors and merged with the university which was then a branch of Auckland University started a joint campus on farmland of Hillcrest, on the outskirts of the city.
After that university was comprised of School of Humanities and a School of Social Sciences. In the starting of 1969 a School of Science which is now the Faculty of Science and Engineering was formed. After this the creation of Waikato Management School took place in 1972. Computer Science and Computing Services finally became the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences in 1973. The foundation of the School now known as Faculty of Law was done in 1990. Since the beginning of university, it was focused that Maori studies must be a major feature of the new university. This led to the establishment of Centre for Maori Studies and Research in the School of Social Sciences in 1972. In 1999, the original Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences were combined together to form the School, later known as the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In 2014, the university became smoke-free, and made strict rules against smoking on campus and in university-owned vehicles.
The university is known for its excellence in education and research. According to the QS World University Rankings 2018, it is in the top 1.1% of universities in the world. University of Waikato has students from more than 70 nations. 93% of students in the university are highly satisfied with quality of teaching. There are more than over 12,000 students in Waikato University. The university offers cutting-edge services which include the Student Center, Cyber Security Lab and a lab based on Sports Science.
The university has seven research centers dedicated to for conducting researches in fields like environmental science, business and leadership along with professional learning and development. The alliance with over 228 universities around the world is a matter of pride for the university, as it directly benefits the students as he / she get to know more about industry-aligned education. There are more than 2000 student placements across various companies every year. The International Student Services Office in the university offers core facilities that can help with a wide range of issues like academics, career support with health and wellbeing.
The university has more than 60 student clubs where students can take part in several activities like social events alongside their studies.