The GC University started as a primary school in 1897 in the present building of Govt. College for Women, Karkhana Bazar, Faisalabad. It was promoted to High School and Intermediate College in 1905 and 1924 respectively. It was elevated to the degree level in 1933 and postgraduate disciplines were introduced in 1963. It was granted the status of university in October 2002.
There are at least 43 Nobel laureates associated with GC University. The famous physicist Ernest Rutherford worked here in the early 20th century and suggested the Rutherford Model of atomic structure while at GC University which was then an intermediate college.
Luminaries like Abdul Hameed, W.H.F. Armstrong, Lala Chattan Annand, Hashmat Khan, Taj Khyal, Namdar Khan, Karamat Hussain Jafari, Mukhtar Mahmood Qureshi, Dr. Asif Iqbal Khan and Dr. Arif Zaidi have served this institution.
The government of the Punjab declared Government College, Faisalabad an autonomous institution in 1990. The college was given the status of university on 23 October 2002.
There are more than 45 faculties in GCUF including Electrical Engineering and Pharmacy. The electrical engineering department is affiliated with Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). Pharmacy is affiliated with Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP).