PSU was established in March 1999 as a tertiary college, Garowe School of Management (GSM) offering six months diploma courses in Management, Accountancy, English and Computer studies.
Sixty female students graduated in June 2000 and were subsequently absorbed into the labor market.
In addition to the diploma course, GSM also offered short vocational training courses, trainings, seminars and workshops. Some of these short courses included the UNOPS- One month training course for Puntland DRDD (Directorate of Reintegration, Demining and Demobilization).
On May 1st 2001, GSM was transformed into Community College under the name Puntland Community College (PCC) to offer a two year diploma course in Office procedures and Accountancy.
Ninety students (50% male and 50% female) were admitted, with sixty-five (31 boys and 34 girls) graduating on 16th September 2003. PCC also continued offering short courses initiated by the GSM. The included the In-service training course to Puntland Government employees sponsored by UNDP & PDRC.
The current PSU campus was constructed in July 2001 with funds generated from Somali Diaspora (USA), and Diakonia – Sweden, through a fund raising campaign.
On 1st July 2004, UNDP in liaison with the PCC administration contracted the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi, Kenya to prepare a Higher Education Curriculum to be offered in four year Bachelor degree courses.
A team of educational experts from USIU visited PCC Garowe, conducted research and formulated the 2004-2009 PSU Strategic plan. This strategic plan endeavored to establish a fully-fledged university offering two year Associate degree and four year Bachelor degree courses in Business Administration, Public Administration and Information Technology. With these developments, PCC was renamed Puntland State University (PSU).
From 2nd to 18th October, 2004, fresh admissions for the University study were conducted. PSU had a two-tier fresh registration process with the main fresh students coming from Puntland secondary schools directly admitted to degree programs. Students from the Informal Education systems and poor performing students from high schools were enrolled on a One year Pre-University Certificate program which prepared them for University Education.
The university currently offers the following faculties:
1. Business Administration.
2. Public Administration
5. Development Studies
6. English and Arabic languages
PSU is offering Diploma and Certificate courses in Journalism through Distance Online Learning from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (USA) in liaison with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in which 24 of local journalists are receiving knowledge to work as professionals in community journalism.
PSU is a member of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the African Universities network under the umbrella of African Virtual University (AVU).
Towards this end, PSU runs a well equipped Online Distance e-Learning Center and is now offering Online Distance e-Learning courses. The pioneering courses under program include the aforementioned Indiana University of Pennsylvania Journalism courses and the UNDP sponsored Associated Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) course.
The rapid growth of PSU to its present status is attributed to the support of all stakeholders who have tirelessly strived to see it become a living reality. The faculty staff, drawn from many nationalities have done excellent job in educating the ‘whole’. The Somali Diaspora, UNDP, Diakonia and other donors have provided not only the much needed financial aid but also technical advice for the running of the institution.
PSU is the most preferred destination for short-term certificate programs in Computer literacy, Basic business management and entrepreneurship skills, Governance and Democracy, Financial planning and Management, Vocational Training, and English Language Proficiency to mention but a few.
The institution is also an ideal for capacity building programs centre as seen by the preference of such bodies as, the Government of Puntland, International Community and Local NGOs (Care International, Save the Children, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNESCO, OCHA, DPRD, HADMA, UNCHR and UNICEF) and the private sector for holding meetings, seminars and workshops there.