As the first modern university established and one of the two national universities in Vietnam, VNU has undergone various stages of development: the University of Indochina established on 16 May, 1906; Vietnam National University (November, 1945); the University of Hanoi (June, 1956). In December 1993, VNU was reorganized on the basis of amalgamating the University of Hanoi and some other leading universities in Hanoi.
VNU is the largest comprehensive higher education and research center in Vietnam. VNU is entrusted with the task of producing highly qualified human resources and talents for the industrialization and modernization of the country. VNU holds a special position in Vietnam’s higher education system, operating according to a special regulation promulgated by the Prime Minister. VNU reports directly to the Prime Minister and has high autonomy in personnel organization, academic programs, scientific research and technological development, planning and finance, international relations and other fields. VNU is entitled to work directly with ministries, ministerial level organizations, governmental bodies, people’s committees of central cities and provinces on affairs related to VNU. VNU's universities, schools, and institutes maintain their juridical entity status as higher education and scientific research institutions regulated by the Law on Education and the Law on Science-Technology.