The University of Guyana (UG) was opened on the 1st October 1963. UG functioned as an evening institution with only 164 students enrolled for classes in three faculties (Arts, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences). Classes were held between 17:30 and 21:30 hours at the Government Technical Institute and Queens College where laboratory facilities could be shared.
Land was provided by the Booker Group of companies for the campus at Turkeyen. On 24th May the soil was turned by Prime Minister L.F.S Burnham and construction work began on 2nd January, 1968. The first building was declared open on 24th February, 1970. Several new buildings have been made available due to major physical rehabilitation and expansion programmes which have been completed, which allow for additional classroom space amongst other things. Service was made a requirement
A student hall of residence (40 rooms) was funded for construction by the New Building Society. This building was opened on 27th May, 1994 and houses students from the outlying areas of Guyana. The Beharry group of Companies constructed a second Hall of Residence on campus which houses 60 students, while a third Hall of Residence(the Dennis Irvine), was obtained by the University of Goedverwagting to accommodate an additional 46 students.
When UG initiated its operations the annual tuition fee was $100 but this was eradicated in 1974. During the academic year 1994-95 UG introduced a Cost Recovery programme. Students are now required to pay G$127,000 per annum except those pursuing studies in Communication Studies , Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Tourism, where the fees areG$200,000; $500,000; $300,000; $500,000; $251,000 and 153,000 respectively. Non-resident and foreign students pay between US$4000 and US$ 10,000.
In 1975 participation in the national service was made a requirement for persons wishing to pursue studies at the University. But in 1994 approval was given by the cabinet for the abolition of mandatory national service for students at tertiary level education institutions. In 1993-94 academic years the Semester System was introduced in the Faculties of Education and Social Sciences.
Current enrollment at Turkeyen campus is in excess of 5,500 students in the Faculties of Agriculture& Forestry, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology, School of Education and Humanities and the School of Earth& Environmental Science. They are students pursuing more than 60 full time under-graduate programmes in Accountancy, Aeronautical Engineering, Agriculture, Architecture, Chemistry, Communication, Education, Engineering, Environmental Science, Forestry, Law, Medicine, Modern Languages, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work to mention a few. Post-graduate programmes are also available in the Faculties of Health Sciences Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and the School of Education and Humanities.