The university was established on the basis of Tbilisi State University. Tbilisi State University had been founded under guidance of Georgian historian Ivane Javakhishvili in 1918. In July 1930, when Georgia had already fallen under Soviet rule, the authorities abolished Tbilisi State University, creating four independent institutions in its place.
On January 8, 1933 Tbilisi State University was re-established and State Pedagogical Institute moved to Kutaisi. Now named Kutaisi University and located in the center of the city, it started functioning from February 13, 1933.
In 1990, the university was transformed into Akaki Tsereteli State University, being named after Georgian poet and national liberation movement figure Akaki Tsereteli. On February 23, 2006, the authorities merged the university with Kutaisi N. Muskhelishvili Polytechnic Institute which was founded on September 1, 1974, enhancing its faculty and curriculum on technical subjects.