The Government of Orissa under the Section 32 of the Orissa University Act, 1989 (Act 5 of 1989), established the North Orissa University and notified vide notification No. 880 dated 13th July 1998. The University is included in the list of Universities maintained under section 2 (f) of the University Grants Commission Act 1956, to impart higher education in the Tribal base area of Northern Orissa. The jurisdiction of the University extends over two districts, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar. There are 80 affiliated colleges, both general and professional, catering to the demand of higher education.
The Honorable Governor of Orissa is the Chancellor of the University . Prof. S. P. Rath as the Vice Chancellor heads the University presently and the Syndicate acts as the highest executive body.