The legacy of the Punjab University of Technology Rasul goes back to the year 1873 and finds its roots in the School of Surveying that was established at the University Oriental College in Lahore. The School of Surveying was one of the first few institutions, established for technical education, in the whole sub-continent after the College of Civil Engineering at Roorkee (Uttarakhand, India) which was established in 1847. The School of Surveying mentored well trained engineering workers for construction of buildings, roads, barrages and irrigation systems in the region.

In 1885 this School of Surveying was moved to the Mayo School of Industrial Arts (now National College of Arts) in Lahore and was later on, in 1906, upgraded to the Government School of Engineering.

In the year 1912, the Government School of Engineering was shifted to its current location at Rasul in district Mandi Bahauddin, near (old) Rasul Barrage, where it has been functioning since then. The first building that housed this School had originally been constructed as barracks for the Indian-prisoners in the British era who were tasked to work on the construction of the old Rasul Barrage and the digging of Upper Jhelum Canal. The remnants of the old Rasul Barrage are still intact and present themselves as a tourist attraction. The School was allocated a vast piece of land, measuring 216 acres (874,121 square meters), in a very well irrigated and well cultivated agricultural landscape a few miles from the river Jhelum and right on the bank of Upper Jhelum Canal.

During the early years after independence, working in close coordination with the Public Works Department (PWD) the Government School of Engineering progressed very well. Numerous new facilities were added to enhance the scale and quality of trainings. More than 5,500 high quality Engineering Technologists were produced during this period who made significant addition to the existing capacity and hugely contributed towards the development of infrastructure across the region.

In 1962, the School was renamed as the Government Polytechnic Institute and continued to offer various training programs; aimed at preparing technical workforce with expertise in all the aspects of Civil Works. During this period the traditional two-years Overseer’s program was upgraded to a three-years Diploma in Civil Technology and an Evening Extension Program (EEP) was launched to offer short-term refresher courses as well as opportunities for upgradation of skills to the in-service workforce who could not attend trainings during the daytime because of their work commitments. State of the art facilities and high-end specialized trainings in Civil Engineering Technology earned this institution an enviable reputation within the country and abroad.

On 10th of October 1974, in line with the Education Policy of 1972, the Institute was upgraded to the status of a college and was given the title Government College of Technology Rasul, more commonly known as GCT Rasul. Besides the existing program, the College, then, launched the two-years Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree programs in Construction Engineering Technology and Public Health Engineering Technology, in affiliation with the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (UET Lahore).

In 1992, the Government of Punjab made an attempt to expand the domain of the College by adding Engineering education to its existing portfolio of Technology education and wanted to rename it as the Government College of Engineering and Technology but due to peculiar political environment this effort could not succeed.

In 1998, an administrative reorganization of the government institutions in Punjab resulted in the transfer of administrative control of the technical and other related educational institutions working under the Education Department of the Government of Punjab to the Industries, Commerce, Investment & Skills Development Department (ICI&SDD).

In 1999, in order to demonstrate its commitment towards preparing productive, demand driven and globally competitive technical workforce, the Government of the Punjab promulgated an Ordinance (Pb. Ord. XLV of 1999) establishing Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority of the Punjab (TEVTA Punjab) and placed all the technical institutions (other than the engineering universities) under the administrative control of this authority. In 2010, this Ordinance was replaced with an Act (Act X of 2010) passed by the Punjab Provincial Assembly.

During the years 2004 and 2005 once again a serious move was initiated at the highest levels of the Government of Punjab to upgrade GCT Rasul to the status of University of Engineering and Technology but the effort failed to bear any fruit.

In the meantime, in 2005, TEVTA Punjab piloted a new short course named Quantity Surveyor, of one-year duration, at GCT Rasul which was adopted by other GCTs later on.

Year 2007 brought additional laurels for GCT Rasul as the college was designated a Centre of Excellence for the trainings in Construction Technologies by National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), an apex federal body for facilitation, regulation and promotion of technical education.

After many failed and inconclusive attempts, finally, on May 16, 2018, the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab passed the Punjab University of Technology Rasul Act 2018 (Act XXIII of 2018) for upgradation of the Government College of Technology Rasul. This Act was assented to by the Governor of the Punjab on May 21, 2018, and was duly published in the Punjab Gazette (Extraordinary) on May 24, 2018.

Thus, the Punjab University of Technology Rasul, despite being a recently established university, traces its roots back to one of the earliest technical institutions of the region and has an enviable past which, not only, sets it apart from many other peer institutions but also positions it well for a new journey to a glorious future.