Lincoln University began life in 1878 as a School of Agriculture. From 1896 to 1961 it served students under the name "Canterbury Agricultural College", and offered qualifications of the University of New Zealand until that institutions demise. From 1961 to 1990, it was known as Lincoln College, a constituent college of the University of Canterbury, until achieving autonomy in 1990 as Lincoln University. It is the oldest agricultural teaching institution in the Southern Hemisphere. It remains the smallest university in New Zealand and one of the 8 government universities. The University is a member of the Euroleague for Life Sciences.
Earthquake damage to Lincoln University, sustained in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake
In March 2009 AgResearch announced that it planned to merge with Lincoln University, an idea that was later scaled back to "sharing of knowledge".
On 18 November 2010, after a period of consultation, it was confirmed that a merger between Lincoln University and Telford Rural Polytechnic would go ahead, with the merger taking effect on 1 January 2011.
On 18 June 2013, a new blue-print for the Selwyn campus was announced  which included the "Lincoln Hub" concept previously announced by the Government on 29 April 2013.
Lincoln University Students Association also referred to as LUSA has been active on campus since 1919. LUSA acts as a representative for students on university policy, as well as providing advocacy services to students and running campus events such as the annual Garden Party and O-Week.
LUSA is central in organising, supporting and funding the clubs on campus. These clubs include but are not limited to Wine Appreciation Club, LSD (Lincoln Snowboarding Department), Alpine Club, LEO (Lincoln Environmental Organisation), Food Appreciation Club, The Lincoln University Campus Choir, Bunch Rides (cycling), Lincoln University Rugby Club, Lincoln Malaysian Students Society (LMSS), International Rugby Club, UniQ (lesbian, gay and transgender students on campus), Boxing Club, Young Farmers Club, and Lincoln Christian Fellowship.
Halls of Residence
Lincoln University has six Halls of Residence, the oldest of which is Hudson Hall, built in 1953. Colombo Hall, Lowrie Hall and Stevens Hall all opened in 1970, with Centennial Hall opening in 1978, Lincoln Universitys centenary year. The newest Hall of Residence is Southland Hall, built in 1993.
Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce: accounting, business management, economics, farm management, finance, marketing and property studies.
Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences: agronomy, plant science, crop physiology, pasture production, animal science, systems biology, computational modelling, food and wine science, entomology; plant pathology and crop protection; ecology, conservation and wildlife management; evolution, molecular genetics and biodiversity.
Faculty of Environment, Society and Design: natural resources and complex systems engineering, environmental design, resource planning, transport studies, landscape architecture, Maori and indigenous planning and development, recreation management, social sciences, tourism, communication and exercise science.
Research at Lincoln
The NZ Tertiary Education Commissions first Performance Based Research Fund ranking exercise in 2003—equivalent to the UKs RAE—ranked the quality of Lincoln Universitys research at sixth place. It also received highest percentage increase in research funding.
For 2016/17 Lincolns ranking is 343, released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. Lincoln also has QS Five Stars rating. Lincoln ranks in the top 100 in the field of agriculture and forestry. Lincoln is ranked in the 401-500 bracket according to the 2016/17 Times Higher Education (THE) world university rankings