Founded with the approval of the bill proposed by Trabzon Deputy Mustafa Reşit Tarakçıoğlu and his twenty-eight comrades by the law no. 6594 of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey dated 20 May 1955, KTU is the first university of Turkey established outside Istanbul and Ankara. About 8 years after its foundation, Faculties of Basic Sciences, Civil Engineering and Architecture,Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and Forestry were established through the assignment of staff for the rector’s office and faculties under the law no. 336 dated 19 September 1963. The university commenced its educational activities in the elementary school building of Ataturk Primary School located in the Esentepe neighborhood of Trabzon on 2 December 1963. Later in 1966, it moved to its current campus. Continuing to its development, KTU assigned faculty staff  to the faculties of Earth Sciences and Medicine with the law no. 1659 dated 4 January 1973.

Following the enactment of the Law on Higher Education no. 2547 in 1981, the university accelerated its expansion by opening new faculties and departments. Today, KTU is one of the outstanding universities in Turkey with its 12 faculties, 1 school, 6 graduate schools, 8 vocational schools, and 24 research and application centers as well as 2,077 well-qualified academics and 40,000 students from 81 provinces of Turkey and many different countries.