Universitas PGRI Semarang didirikan oleh Pengurus Daerah Tingkat I PGRI Provinsi Jawa Tengah melalui Yayasan Pembina Lembaga Pendidikan (YPLP) IKIP PGRI Jawa Tengah dan merupakan perubahan bentuk dari IKIP PGRI Semarang dengan Akademi Teknologi Semarang. Tujuan pendiriannya adalah untuk menyiapkan calon pemimipin yang unggul dan berkarakter kebangsaan sehingga dapat menjadi teladan dalam kehidupan berbangsa dan bernegara dalam mencapai kesejahteraan seluruh masyarakat Indonesia.A� Dalam sejarah perkembangannya, perjalanan Universitas PGRI Semarang dapat dibagi dalam lima periode besar.

The first period was called pioneering phase (1981-1986). This period was marked by the establishment of the Teachers' Training College of Central Java PGRI (STIKIP PGRI) on July 23, 1981 by Executive Board of Central Java Teachers’ Association (PGRI-Semarang)under the leadership of Drs. Is Riwidigdo and other founding fathers such asTaruna, S.H .; Drs. Is Riwidigdo; Drs. Karseno; Drs. Anthony R. Supardi Hadiatmodjo; Drs. Muhammad Oemar; Drs. Thomas Patience Adiutomo; Drs. Nawawi Abdul Latif S.H .; Drs. Soeparjo; Ny. Widayati Sumiyatun Suharto; and Drs. Teddy Iskandi. With the decree of Ministry of Education No. 0395/0/1984, Teachers' Training College of Central Java PGRI (STIKIP PGRI) was upgraded into Semarang Institute of Teachers’ Training PGRI(IKIP PGRI Semarang.

Periode kedua adalah periode pembangunan kelembagaan (1987-1992). Pada periode ini, dibawah kepemimpinan Rektor Taruna, S.H., STKIP PGRI Jawa Tengah berubah nama menjadiA� IKIP PGRI Semarang.

The third period belonged to the human resources development (1993-1997) in which Prof. Drs. Satmoko, the successor of Taruna S.H, had improved the quality of lecturers by promoting them to pursue higher educational degree.Comprehensive human resources upgrading was continued by Prof. Drs. Sugijono, M.Sc. (1997-2001).As the results, IKIP PGRI Semarang officially had green light from the minister of education to establish six more study programs: Indonesia Language Education and Literature (PBSI), English Education (PBI), Mathematics Education, Educational Psychology and Counselling (PPB), Pancasila and Citizenship Education (PPKn ); and Biology Education (Bio). Those study programs are waived later by the National Accreditation Board of Higher Education (BAN PT) with predicate B.

The fourth period is called academic endeavor (2001-2009). Within 28 years dedicating its vision and mission in education, IKIP PGRI Semarang received positive respect from the Indonesia people as seen from the number of students and the applicants in every intake academic year (between 2000-2500 perspective students).It is ranked as the fifth largest private universities in central Java. Under the leadership of Dr. Sulistiyo, M.Pd., IKIP PGRI Semarang, thus, in 2003 responded the need of the kindergarten teachers by offering vocational program called PGTKwhich followed by vocational programs for elementary school teachers or PGSD in 2004.In the year of 2009 both vocational programs were upgraded into bachelor degree with name Early Childhood Education (ECD). Besides, in order to support local government program on Ethno pedagogy, IKIP PGRI Semarang then offeredBachelor in Javanese and Literature Education program.

The fifth period (2009-present) is characterized as character building age when the board and the trustee determine IKIP PGRI Semarang as centre of character education. This commitment was acknowledged by the rector,Dr. Muhdi, S.H., M.Hum,who implemented character education into university subjects such as PGRI code and conduct,Pancasila, Professional Ethics, etc. Accompanying this decision, annually the university provides PGRI Award to the best practice of character education at the school level in central Java province. At each school, character education corner was set up. This period was remarkably noted as the expansion of the university since it took over the Academy of Technology Semarang (ATS) on April 17, 2014asstated on the Ministry of Education Decree Number 143 / P / 2014. Transformation from IKIP PGRI Semarang into University of PGRI Semarang has resulted16 bachelor programs in Education,2master programs, 8 non-education programs,6bachelors in engineering, and 3 vocational programs in Engineering.

Periode kelima (2009-sekarang) merupakan periode yang menekankan pada pendidikan karakter. Pada periode tersebut, IKIP PGRI Semarang di bawah kepemimpinan Rektor Dr. Muhdi, S.H. M.Hum. yang hingga saat ini terus mensosialisasikan metode pembelajaran pendidikan karakter pada anak didik. Berbagai kegiatan untuk mewujudkan terlaksananya pendidikan karakter terus digalakkan pada periode tersebut.Pada periode ini pula bergabung Akademi Teknologi Semarang (ATS) yang berdiri sejak tahun 1979 dalam pengelolaan YPLP PT PGRI Semarang dan selanjutnya pada tanggal 17 April 2014 melalui SK Mendikbud nomor 143/P/2014 ditetapkan penggabungan IKIP PGRI Semarang dengan ATS sebagai Universitas PGRI Semarang dengan 2 (dua) program studi S2, 13 (tiga belas) program studi S1 kependidikan, 7A� (tujuh) program studi S1 teknik, dan 3 (tiga) program studi D3 teknik.