The North Orissa University (NOU) was established by the Government of Orissa, under the Section 32 of the Odisha University Act, 1989 (Act 5 of 1989), vide notification No. 880 dated 13th July 1998. It was carved out of the Utkal University and became operational since 1999 at Takatpur (98.84 acres) of Baripada in the Mayurbhanj District of Odisha as an affiliating university. The University is recognized by the University Grants Commission under Sections 2(f) and 12(B) of UGC Act,1956 with effect from 15th February 2000 and 21st June 2006, respectively. The territorial jurisdiction of the university extends over Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts of the northern part of Odisha, thickly populated with tribal communities. NOU's jurisdiction covers 103 colleges (Mayurbhanj-65 + Keonjhar-38) including 2 Autonomous Colleges, 2 Law Colleges, 3 Teachers' Education (B.Ed.) Colleges (including one specially for physically challenged) imparting education to a large number of students at the graduate and post-graduate levels. NOU is recognized by Bar Council of India, DEC, IGNOU, NCTE and included in the list of Association of Indian Universities and Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The main University campus at Baripada is named as Sriram Chandra Vihar after Sriram Chandra BhanjaDeo (1871-1912) who was the enlightened Maharaja of Mayurbhanj from 1892 to 1912. He is remembered even now for his able administration. Sriram Chandra Vihar is located at the outskirts of Baripada town and one km away from NH 18. It is 250 km from Kolkata and 260 km from the State capital Bhubaneswar. It is also well-connected to all places of the State. The foundation stone at Baripada was laid by Hon‘ble Sj. Giridhar Gamango, Chief Minister, Odisha on 13th July 1999 and the present campus was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India on 15th May 2003. The 2nd Campus of NOU came to existence at Suleikhamar (in Keonjhar) covering 13.05 acres since 6th November 2015 and became academically functional with effect from 2017-18 academic session.
At present, the University provides Post-Graduate education in eight subjects at Baripada campus and five subjects at Keonjhar campus through respective regular departments. Besides, self-financing courses in 15 subjects are imparted at its Baripada Campus. In addition, the University offers M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in the regular departments. Meanwhile, administrative approval has been obtained for opening eight more new regular courses at its Baripada campus. Four of the regular P.G. Departments have been granted departmental research support from UGC and DST under Special Assistance Programme (SAP) and FIST programmes, respectively. Several individual projects have been funded by UGC, DST, DAE, CSIR, ICSSR and other agencies. The University also offers 17 general and professional courses at different levels through Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education (DDCE) of University. The University has adopted Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) with semester pattern examinations and grade point evaluation system in all courses. The mode of teaching in all courses is English except Language courses.