The University of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi" in its history has experienced significant changes in the structure, content, organization and direction. Two great periods of its development can be distinguished as following:

• The first period, 1957 - 1990, when it functioned as a High Pedagogical Institute, with a 2-year study programs, later extended to 3 and 4-year study programs.

• The second period, 1991 - onwards, the High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra changed its status to University.

The High Pedagogical Institute1957-1991

On 2 September 1957, the 2-year High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra was opened by the Decision of the Ministers’ Council no.150 dated 18.04.1957. This is considered as the date of establishment one of the most important institutions of Higher Education in our country. Shkodra, the 2500-year-old city, has always been one of the most important centers of Albanian Culture, Art, Education and Science, an environment that favored the quantitative and qualitative development of Higher Education in Shkodra.

In the academic year 1970-1971, the Higher Pedagogical Institute passed from the 2-year study programs to 3-year study programs. This transition marked an updating of the High Pedagogical Institute with all the features and was accompanied by the increase of the number of new teaching programs as well as the qualitative growth of existing ones. The change of the duration of the study programs at High Pedagogical Institute, from 2 to 3 years, increased the interest of full-time studies at this Institute. Beside the newly enrolled students, students who attended 2- year study programs were offered the opportunity to complete their studies in the 3-year system.

The first relations with international partner institutions were of a particular importance for the Institute itself. Thus, in 1971, a group of pedagogues from Prishtina High Pedagogical School followed by another group of pedagogues the Pedagogical Academy of Skopje visited the High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakuqi”. These visited were followed by mutual visits.
During the academic year 1982-1983, The High Pedagogical Institute changed from the 3-year-old system to the 4-year-old. The transition to the 4 - year study program was an important step for the educational and scientific work of this institution. An important aspect during this period was the increase of the number of lecturers who was associated with the increase of the number of the Departments. During these years, the qualification of the academic staff as well as the academic and research work of the pedagogues in the field of Education has significantly contributed to the development of Education in Albania.

High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra by Decision of the Ministers’ Council no. 124, dated 01.04.1989, was named: High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi".

During 1957-1991, the Higher Pedagogical Institute in Shkodra was the main center for Teacher Education for the 8- grade schools, where 9 586 teachers were graduated, i.e, about ¼ of the number of teachers that Albania had in those years.

University of Shkodra 'Luigj Gurakuqi "1991 – onwards

In the 1990s, with the establishment of a democratic and pluralistic system, Higher Education in Shkodra experienced qualitative and quantitative developments. The High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra, by the Decision of the Ministers’ Council no. 167, dated 28.05.1991, changed its status to “University”. The number of students in the existing study programs increased significantly and many new study programs were opened at the University of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi" at that time. The University has a full structure organized in 6 faculties and 21 departments.
After 2000, the University of Shkodra was engaged in policy making in order to reach the objectives set out in the Bologna Declaration, the inclusion in the European Higher Education Area and the promotion of the European Higher Education System.

The qualification of the academic staff of Shkodra University has always been at the center of the scientific work of the Faculties and Departments. During these years, especially after 2012, there has been an increase in the qualification and training of the academic staff, which is reflected in the increased number of the academic titles of the staff. An attention was paid during this time to the integration of young pedagogues and students into the scientific research. Our teachers have successfully participated to many international and national conferences and symposiums.

Throughout these years, the University of Shkodra has established cooperative relations with many universities and Higher Education centers. It has permanent cooperative relations with different Universities from the Balkan, Austria, Italy and America.

Significant developments have been made in the democratization of the university life, especially for the governing bodies and structures of the University. An important factor is the decision of the leaders at all University level to apply the competition on the academic staff, teaching and administrative staff hiring.

Another important step in the democratization of university life is the selection of Students’ Councils of the faculties and institution itself. The growth of the students’ role and placing them at the center of university activity is another important democratization achievement. Students have the right to participate in the University's decision-making processes, express their assessments on the quality of teaching and staff as well as organize themselves in student councils.