The University of Iceland was founded in 1911, uniting three former Icelandic schools of Theology, Medicine and Law. In addition there was a faculty of humanities. During its first year of operation 45 students were enrolled. The first Rector of the university was Bjorn M. Olsen, a professor in the faculty of humanities. The current Rector of the University of Iceland is Dr. Kristin Ingolfsdottir, the first woman to hold this position.
The University was originally housed in the Icelandic Parliament building but in 1940 it moved into the University's main building. The University offers diverse fields of study along with continuing education. In recent years there has been some major restructuring. In 2008 the university was divided into five different schools with 25 faculties. Simultaneously, Iceland University of Education was merged with the University of Iceland to become its School of Education.