Bicol University was founded on June 21, 1969 by virtue of Republic Act 5521 and was formally organized on September 22, 1970. It evolved out of six reputable educational institutions integrated to form the first state university in Region V:
- Bicol Teachers College (BTC)with its Laboratory School in Daraga, Albay, now the BU College of Education (BUCE) with its Integrated Laboratory School (ILS)
- Daraga East Central School (DECS)also in Daraga, Albay, initially renamed as Bicol University Pilot Elementary School (BUPES), now integrated with the BUCE-ILS as its Elementary Department
- Albay High Schoolin Legazpi City, now the BUCE-ILS High School Department
- Bicol Regional School for Arts and Trades (BRSAT)in Legazpi City, converted from the Albay Trade School by virtue of Republic Act 1129 on June 16, 1954, now the College of Industrial Technology and the College of Engineering.
- Roxas Memorial Agricultural School (RMAS)in Guinobatan, Albay, which became the College of Agriculture, now renamed as the College of Agriculture and Forestry.
- School of Fisheriesin Tabaco, Albay, turned into the College of Fisheries, now the Bicol University Tabaco Campus.
These public schools and colleges, now part of Bicol University, had served the people of the region for more than half a century prior to their forming Bicol University.
From the early seventies and onwards, the College of Arts and Sciences (BUCAS), Nursing (BUCN), the Institute of Computer Science (BUCSI), Local Government (BUILG), Physical Education, Sports and Recreation (BUIPESR), and Peace and Security Studies (BUIPSS) came one after another, as degree granting colleges and institutes, along with the Regional Science Teaching Center (RSTC).
At the apex of the academic colleges and institutes is the Graduate School (BUGS) that offers advanced degrees at the master’s and doctorate levels in various disciplines and fields of studies.
To bring the academic programs of Bicol University nearer its clientele, its curricular programs were extended to Gubat, Sorsogon and Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The Comprehensive Medium-Term Development Plan conceived during the term of the immediate past President, Dr. Emiliano A. Aberin, came into force providing a framework for all development activities in the University. To fast track development, organizational restructuring as proposed and approved, started to be implemented in 2004. Operationally, the organizational restructuring “includes the merging of related academic programs to provide the required organizational units, which will promote and nurture the development of curricular programs critical to regional and national development…and, adhering to one-faculty, one-fund concept, the organizational structure [also] aims to establish academically strong colleges focused on developing Centers of Excellence in specific disciplines and for specific sectors”.
The year 2004 was a defining moment for Bicol University, having been the year when much of the structural and academic changes had been initiated. The full implementation of the vertical articulation of the course programs in accord with the university’s academic plan contained in the Bicol University Comprehensive Development Plan: 2003-2013 was effected in SY 2004-2005.
The school year 2004-2005 saw the emergence of the College of Science (CS), College of Arts and Letters (CAL), College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP) and the College of Business, Economics and Management (CBEM) mainly as service colleges for general education courses and professional colleges, too. Simultaneously, the same school year saw the full implementation of the decentralization of the graduate programs and the integration of institutes and centers to relevant colleges.
The College of Arts and Letters (CAL) enrolled in June, 2004 the first year students in Bachelor in Communication Arts, a course program offered in the institute of Communication and Cultural Studies (ICCS), with three major fields of specialization. It also enrolled the first year students in Bachelor of Arts in English, a course program previously offered in the Colleg eof Arts and Sciences (CAS)
The College of Science (CS), enrolled the first year students in Bachelor in Computer Science, a course program previously offered in the Institute of Computer Science (ICS); the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, used to be offered in the Regional Science Teaching Center (RSTC) now merged with the Colleg eof Education; and the Bachelor of Science in Biology, previously offered in CAS.
The College of Business, Economics and Management (CBEM) enrolled the first year students of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Bachelor of science in Business Administration (BSBA) – Entrepreneurship, BSBA - Management and Bachelor of Arts in Economics. All these course programs were previously offered in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
The College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP) enrolled the first year students of AB in Political Science, Sociology, Peace and Security Studies and Bachelor of Science in Social Work, all previously with the College of Arts and Sciences.
The graduate programs were also decentralized to these emergent college s, thus the Ph. D. in Filipino; Master in Filipino and Master of Arts in Literature to the College of Arts and Letters (CAL); the Ph. D. in Development Management, Ph. D. in Public Administration, Master in Management, Master in Public Administration, and the Master in Economics to the College of Business, Economics and Management (CBEM); the Ph. D. in Peace and Security Administration and MA in Peace and Security Studies to the College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSS). All other graduate programs were decentralized to the College of Education, College of Industrial Technology, College of Agriculture and Forestry and Tabaco Campus in 2003.
Correspondingly, preparation for the restructuring of the administrative support staff, as “a built-in mechanism for promoting responsible, effective and efficient service” was also started in 2004.