NAIST was founded in 1991 with the establishment of the Graduate School of Information Science and the University Library, followed by the Graduate School of Biological Sciences the next year. The first master's students were admitted in 1993, and doctoral students were first admitted in 1996, which is also the year the Graduate School of Materials Science was established. The establishment of the Venture Business Laboratory and the Intellectual Property Division in 2003 furthered the university's drive to utilize research results to secure patents and licenses, and form new businesses. In 2004, along with all of Japan's national universities, NAIST became an independent university corporation.

Month/Year Events
October 1991 Nara Institute of Science and Technology established
Graduate School of Information Science established
University Library established
April 1992 Graduate School of Biological Sciences established
Information Technology Center established
April 1993 Research and Education Center for Genetic Information
Master's students admitted to the Graduate School of Information Science
April 1994 Master's students admitted to the Graduate School of Biological Sciences
June 1994 Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology established
April 1995 Doctoral students admitted to the Graduate School of Information Science
Health Care Center established
April 1996 Doctoral students admitted to the Graduate School of Biological Sciences
May 1996 Graduate School of Materials Science established
April 1998 Master's students admitted to the Graduate School of Materials Science
Research and Education Center for Materials Science established
April 2000 Doctoral students admitted to the Graduate School of Materials Science
April 2002 Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics of the Graduate School of Information Science established
October 2003 Intellectual Property Division established
April 2004 Nara Institute of Science and Technology National University Corporation established
Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration Group established
September 2009 Gender Equality Promotion Office established
December 2009 Center for International Relations established
July 2010 Information Technology Center closed
Information Initiative Center established
August 2010 Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology closed
Center for Frontier Science and Technology established
April 2011 Department of Information Science, Graduate School of Information Science established
Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Biological Sciences established
April 2013 Career Services Office established
October 2013 Institute of Research Initiatives established
April 2015 Center for Strategy and Planning established
Center for International Relations closed
Institute for Educational Initiatives established
Institute of Research Initiatives closed
Institute for Research Initiatives established