It was established to help rural Malays in 1956 as the RIDA (Rural & Industrial Development Authority) Training Centre, and opened with around 50 students. It has since grown into the largest institution of higher education in Malaysia as measured by physical infrastructure, faculty and staff, and student enrollment.

The university comprises one main campus and 34 satellite campuses. It offers over 500 programmes taught in English that range from undergraduate to the postgraduate level. The school is home to some 170,514 full-time and part-time bumiputera and international students. Postgraduate programme is open for international students and bumiputera but not for non-bumiputera.

The university is made up of a number of faculties and academies. It is categorised into three main clusters: business and management, social sciences and humanities, and science and technology.  As of May 2015, 470 programmes offered by UiTM include degrees at doctoral, master, bachelor, diploma, and certificate levels. There are 286 programmes based on science and technology while another 184 programmes are non-science and technology. 

In addition, 94 professional programmes (local and international) are offered by UiTM, including programmes certified by University of London International Programmes, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), the Chartered Institute of Transport (CIT), the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), London College of Printing, and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries of the United Kingdom.

The university is in the top #651 – 700 in the world, 105th among Asian universities in the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking. On Edurank, the school is ranked 8th in Asia and 61st in the world for Landscape Architecture and 15th in the world for Accounting.

According to Wikipedia