Nicholls State University was founded in 1948 as Francis T. Nicholls Junior College of Louisiana State University. In 1956, the Louisiana Legislature separated Francis T. Nicholls Junior College from Louisiana State University and granted it permission to develop a four-year curriculum. By 1956, Francis T. Nicholls Junior College became Francis T. Nicholls State College and granted its first degrees in 1958. Then in 1970 the name changed one last time to Nicholls State University when the institution was granted university status.
The school's mission is to provide the education of a diverse student body in a culturally rich and engaging learning environment through quality teaching, research and service. Nicholls State University offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs from the following colleges and schools:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Business Administration
- College of Education
- College of Nursing and Allied Health
- Chef John Folse Culinary Institute
- University College
- Graduate Studies
Nicholls State University also offers undergraduate and graduate programs that can be completed through its distance learning program. The distance learning program offers accelerated eight-week semesters.