Through the reform of higher education in 1977, both the University College of Sundsvall/Härnösand and the University College of Östersund were founded, as well as ten other new university colleges all over the country.
The reform was based on the recommendations of the 1968 Educational Commission, which was known as U68. The mission of the new university colleges were mainly to provide undergraduate programmes and courses, and therefore, they were not granted any fixed research resources. A change in this position did not occur until the mid-1990s.
The University College of Sundsvall/Härnösand has its historical roots in the classical educations in Härnösand: the teacher seminar and the college of navigation, which did not become part of the university college until 1980. From the beginning, the university college in Sundsvall was aimed towards the competency requirements of the industry, with system engineering, chemistry and materials technology as core areas, complemented by economics and systems science. In the mid-1980s, the journalism programme and communications science were added to the range of courses and programmes, while the nautical education ceased and was replaced by an operation and maintenance engineering programme.
In 1977, the School of Social Studies in Östersund was transferred to the University College of Östersund and two other study programmes were added. Apart from the already established administration and social work programmes, there were initially programmes and courses in systems science and recreation leadership. A couple of years later, tourism and ecotechnology were also added, as well as computer and maintenance engineering programmes.