The Pedagogical Institute, which later provided the basis for the Daghestan University, was founded in 1931 and had three Departments: social sciences and literature, chemistry and biology, physics and engineering, which enrolled 75 students. The first Rector of the Institute was D. G. Shanavazov. In 1957 the Institute assumed its present status and name.
The University academic staff included well-known scientists and scholars: T. D. Zaitsev, Yu. N. Shovkrinsky, S. M. Omarov, Ye. Ya. Krishtopa, M. S. Bezhayev, A. Ya. Babayev, R. M. Magomedov.
The Rectors were G. A. Taimurazov, M. P. Kropotov, A. G. Aliyev, A. A. Abilov, A. M. Magomedov, M. M. Merzametov. At present the University is headed by O. A. Omarov.
The University comprises 12 faculties: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics and Management, Finances and Economics, Law, Philology, Daghestan Philology, Romance and Germanic Philology, Preparatory Training, Pre-University Training, which enroll 6700 students (3200 full-time and 2500 part-time and extra-mural). The University structure includes 2 research institutes (biology; nationality and cultural problems), 2 museums, a sports complex, a sports camp, a health care centre, a publishing department.
603 teachers and lecturers work at the University, among them — 1 Academician, 2 Associate Academicians, 68 Professors, Doctors of Sciences and 306 Associate Professors, Candidates of Sciences.
Students are trained in 23 specialities: pedagogics; economics; engineering; law and international economic relations; oriental studies; journalism; library science and bibliography and others. 105 postgraduates receive instruction at the University.
The University's research programme corresponds to the specialists' training orientation. The University established an association of higher educational institutions and research institutes of Daghestan. Since 1991, the University has participated in producing small serial high technology devices.
The University has agreements on scientific cooperation with the Prishtina University (Yugoslavia), the Asyut University (Egypt), the University of Latakiya (Syria).