Akita University was established in 1949 by the merger of Akita Normal School (established in 1878), Akita Mining College (established in 1910) and the Akita Youth Normal School (established in 1944).
The university initially offered degrees in Liberal Arts and Sciences and in Mining Engineering. In 1965, a graduate studies program in mining engineering was established. In 1967, Akita University established a Department of Education, followed in 1970 by a Medical School and University Hospital in 1971. A graduate program in medicine was established in 1976, and a graduate program in Education in 1989. A College of Medical Sciences was also established in 1989.