History of the University of Akureyri

Rectors of the University of Akureyri

The University of Akureyri (UNAK) was founded in 1987. The first Rector was Haraldur Bessason.

Studies were offered in two Faculties: in Health Sciences and in Industrial Management.

Teaching was conducted in two rooms in the sports arena in Akureyri. Two staff offices were in Þingvallastræti 23. There were four permanent employees and 31 students.

From the beginning, UNAK has rapidly grown. The range of courses has steadily increased. Students and employees have become more numerous. Various partners have emerged and buildings have risen.

Currently, the University offers programmes in the following subjects: social sciences, media studies, nursing, occupational therapy, teacher training (preschool and primary school), biotechnology, law, police science, modern studies, psychology, fishery studies, computer science and business administration.

Furthermore, graduate programmes are offered in the health sciences, social sciences, business administration and resource studies. As of the 2019 spring semester, UNAK became a full-fledged university with programmes at all levels of university studies when it was given permission to offer doctoral studies.


The operations of the University of Akureyri take place in two buildings.

Borgir is a modern research building which was taken into use in the fall of 2004. The building was constructed through private enterprise and its owners are ÍAV Contractors. In addition to UNAK, numerous partner institutions of the University are housed in the building.

Sólborg was built in the years 1967–1984. The University of Akureyri moved all of its operations to the building in 1995. The latest part was taken into use in the fall of 2010. Older buildings have been renewed for the most part.

Before the University moved into Sólborg, a home for mentally challenged people was housed in the building.

Rectors of the University of Akureyri

  • 1987-1994 Haraldur Bessason
  • 1994-2009 Þorsteinn Gunnarsson
  • 2009-2014 Stefán B. Sigurðsson
  • 2014- Eyjólfur Guðmundsson