North South University (NSU), the first private university in Bangladesh, was established in 1992 by the then Foundation for Promotion of Education and Research (FPER) - a charitable, non-profit, non-commercial and non-political organization. The FPER later was renamed as the NSU Foundation and is presently called the North South Foundation for Education and Research. The Foundation comprises a group of eminent industrialists, prominent patrons of education, notable philanthropists, widely experienced academics and senior civil servants of the country. In the early 1990s, they had a dream to set up a world-class university as a center of excellence in higher education in the private sector. Their dedication, tireless efforts, and hard work paved the way for approval of the establishment of NSU. Since, at that time, there was no relevant law in the country to set up and operate a university in the private sector, they took the entire burden and extended their best efforts in assisting the then government in formulating the relevant law and enacting it. Subsequently, the government, pursuant to the newly enacted law i.e. the Private University Act (PUA)-1992 (now repealed by PUA-2010), approved the establishment of NSU. The University was formally inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh on 10 February 1993 and was started its journey in a very modest way. Later, in 2012, the NSU Foundation, in the light of the PUA 2010 and as instructed by the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission, formed the NSU Trust with the same group of people in the Foundation and vested the entire management and administration of NSU in its Board of Trustees (BOT). The honorable President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the Chancellor of NSU.
The BOT is the apex policy making and approving body of the University. Mr. Azim Uddin Ahmed is the current Chairman of the BOT. He is the Chairman of the Mutual Group of Companies, as well as a Founder Director and Former Chairman of Southeast Bank. Mr. Ahmed is a founding member of the renowned social club of the country, the Gulshan Club, and served as its President for two terms. He received the Royal Diploma from Denmark for his contributions to the Bangladeshi economy and received the President Trophy for Export for two consecutive years. The other members of the BOT are Mr. Benajir Ahmed, Mr. Iftekharul Alam, Dr. Roushon Alam, Mr. Ragib Ali, Mr. M.A. Awal, Mr. Yussuf A. Harun, Mr. M.A. Hashem, Mr. M.A. Kalam, Mr. S.M. Kamaluddin, Mr. M. A. Kashem, Mr. Abul Kashem, Mrs. Yasmin Kamal, Mrs. Rehana Rahman, Mr. A.S.F Rahman, Mr. Mohammed Shajahan, Dr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, and Mr. Nurul H. Khan. All of them are also the members of the NSU Trust. Prof. Atiqul Islam, the Vice Chancellor of NSU, is the Ex-Officio Member of the BOT. The other members of the NSU Trust are Mr. Mahbubar Rahman, Prof. Syed A. Ahad, Mr. Shah Abdul Hannan, and Mrs. Shaista Ahmed.
The Syndicate is the next to the BOT and is headed by the Vice- Chancellor. The Vice- Chancellor is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the University. He is responsible for managing the administrative and academic affairs of the university as per the Private University Act (PUA 2010), and implementing the policy guidelines set by the BOT. The Vice- Chancellor is assisted by a Pro Vice-Chancellor and a Treasurer. All of them are appointed by the Honorable Chancellor on recommendation of the BOT. Prof. Atiqul Islam is the current Vice- Chancellor of NSU.
In general, NSU is modeled on US universities and follows their academic features such as semester systems, credit hours, letter grades etc. When first introduced, its curricula of undergraduate programs such as economics, business, and computer science were largely modeled on the curricula of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and were duly approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh, the highest accrediting authority on higher education of the country. NSU has an International Advisory Board, comprising scholars from all over the world, to counsel and to suggest improvements on academic matters of the university.
The university is delivering a substantial general education curriculum, has a Strategic Plan, and has initiated and implemented student instructional learning assessment for degree programs and courses and is in the process of developing the infrastructure for evaluation of institutional effectiveness for its institutional accreditation.