Undip was established in October 15, 1957. The story began around early 1950s, when Central Java community in general and the people of Semarang in particular, required the presence of a state university in the city. The goal is to assist the government in addressing and implementing development in all fields, especially education.

While the number of high school graduates in the northern part of Central Java which pursue higher education at universities was increasing, there was no state university can accommodate the graduates. Recognizing the need for higher education for the province, several people initiated to establish the Foundation of University of Semarang with Notary R.M. Soeprapto No. 59 dated December 4, 1956. This step leaded to the establishment of a university in Semarang named the University of Semarang, which was officially opened on January 9, 1957, the first university president is Mr. Imam Bardjo.

In the third Anniversary of the University of Semarang on January 9, 1960, the President of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno issued a presidential decree to rename University of Semarang as the Universitas Diponegoro (Diponegoro University). The name of ‘Diponegoro’ was taken from the name of national hero, the Prince of Diponegoro who led the War of Java against the Dutch Colonial Government in 1825-1830. Presidential Decree was later confirmed by Government Regulation No. 7 of 1961 and Decree of the Ministry of Education and Culture No. 101 247 / Law dated December 3, 1960.

The decision is retroactive since the date of October 15, 1957 with the provision that date is set as the anniversary Undip given on that date occurred “battle of the five-day” physical revolution in Semarang. UNDIP choses this date to continue the ideals of freedom fight of the independence of the nation. UNDIP is a form of contribution to the nation left by freedom fighters.

The determination Undip anniversary as on October 15, 1957 has been stated for the first time in the report of the Rector on the 13th Dies Natalis .

On its development, this university becomes one of the prominent national universities that is recognized for its reputation on research, teaching, and community services. Currently the university is granted a status of PTNBH (State Universities – Legal Entities) by the government to be more autonomous in governing the institution.