The history of higher education in this area began almost three centuries ago, i.e. in 1707, when the first institution of higher education was founded in Osijek. It was the Higher Theological School, which was opened in the 1707/1708 academic year as Studium Philosophicum Essekini, and included a three-year course of studies in philosophy.
The significance of the first colleges in Osijek lies in their huge contribution to Croatian language and literature, the spreading of liberal-arts education, and the study of languages and classical literature.
The recent history of higher education in the area began in 1959 when the Zagreb Faculty of Economics, in accordance with the University of Zagreb, founded the Centre for part-time studies in Osijek as a branch of the Zagreb Faculty of Economics. The initiative for the founding of the University of Osijek dates back to 1975. On 26 March 1975, the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) passed the Decision granting consent for the establishing the University of Osijek.