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Kocaeli University was founded in 1992 with the law numbered 3837.

Before the 17 August 1999 Earthquake, Kocaeli University continued its education and training activities at 9 faculties, 3 institutes, and 12 vocational training schools on its campuses with a total area of 650.000 m2 and in 15 different districts with its 20.000 students and 1.150 academic staff. Our university lost approximately 75% of its physical assets during the 17 August Earthquake, which was seen as the disaster of the century. Despite this great loss, Kocaeli University started 1999-2000 academic year only one month later than the scheduled time and continued its education and training activities in the tents, prefabricated buildings and quickly-repaired buildings for a while

Meanwhile, a search was carried out for a new campus site and in October 2000 the foundations of the new campus were laid on an area which was located 10 kilometers away from Izmit on the Former Road to Istanbul in the district called üçtepeler, and the area, which covers 6500 decares, was named 'Umuttepe'. During the construction period, the Rectorate building started to provide service in September 2004, then in the following months Faculty of Science and Arts, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Faculty of Communication, Faculty of Technical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Research and Application Hospital started to render service on the new campus. During the last three years School of Health, Faculties of Education and Law, Institute of Social Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Institute of Natural Sciences, library, student dormitories and cafeterias, a medico-social building, a kindergarten, School of Physical Education and Sports and an Olympic Sports Hall, an Olympic Swimming Pool were put into operation on Umuttepe Campus.

As of June 2011, Kocaeli University has 1955 academic staff including 181 professors, 160 associate professors, 440 assistant professors, 283 senior lecturers, 178 lecturers, 675 research assistants and 38 specialists, and 1028 administrative staff who work for 11 faculties, 7 schools, 1 state conservatory, 20 vocational training schools, 3 institutes, 12 Research Centres and 9 Research Units. As of June 2010, 60.243 students continue their education and training at our university.