The University of Tampere began in 1925 in Helsinki as an institution generally referred to as a Civic College. The guiding notion was that enlightenment was conducive to peaceful societal development. It was felt that large sectors of the population and especially young people in the rural areas were in need of enhanced popular education.
In the early years of its operations interest in the Civic College focussed increasingly on catering for the educational needs of the municipal administration and press. The major success areas, a qualification in social care and a qualification in librarianship, came into being in the 1940s.
In 1960 the institution moved to Tampere and within years the student intake increased fivefold and the former specialised college expanded into a multi-faculty university. The name was changed to the University of Tampere in 1966.