It was founded in 1904 as a public university in Bloemfontein.
It was founded as English-only and began offering its first classes in Afrikaans in 1911. The school was Afrikaans-only from 1948 until 1993 when it adopted a Parallel Language policy.
X21 Various Vacancies at the University of the Free State
In 2016, English was declared its official language, and in 2021 a multilingual academy was formed, promoting in particular Sesotho, Afrikaans, and isiZulu.
There are faculties of health science, law, education, theology and religion, humanities, economics, and management science available to students.
It is the only robotic telescope of its type in Africa, as well as the largest undergraduate microscope lab in Africa.