The University of the West Indies was founded in 1948 at Mona, Jamaica as a College in special relationship with the University of London, to serve the British territories in the Caribbean area. It achieved full University status by Royal Charter in 1962, thereby becoming a degree-granting institution in its own right.
A second campus of the University was established in 1960 when the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) at St. Augustine, Trinidad was incorporated into the University College. On August 25, 1959, a Plan of Operation was signed which provided for a United Nations Special Fund allocation and a Government counterpart contribution for the establishment of a Faculty of Engineering. The then Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University College, Nobel Laureate Sir Arthur Lewis had the overall responsibility of securing funding for the financing of the Engineering buildings and for expediting the final decision to locate the Faculty of Engineering at St. Augustine.
The initial layout comprised five (5) blocks with a total of 5,400 square metres of floor space of which the laboratories occupied 3,030 square metres.
Construction commenced in 1961 and was completed by the end of 1962. During the 1961/62 Academic Year (the first year of teaching), the Faculty was housed in temporary accommodation on the campus. The formal opening of the new buildings of the Faculty took place on February 1, 1963.
Initially, undergraduate and graduate research degrees were offered in the main branches of Engineering - Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical. The Faculty steadily grew over the years with a major expansion of both physical infrastructure and academic programmes in the 1980s with additional disciplines at the BSc level and several specialist MSc degrees. Floor space now occupies close to 53,181 square metres of classrooms, laboratories and offices, with expansion continuing almost on a yearly basis.
The semester system was introduced on a phased basis in 1990 at the undergraduate level, followed by the MSc programmes at a later date.
From a modest beginning of 28 students in the Academic Year 1961/62, the Faculty has produced, up to Semester 2 of the 2011/2012 Academic Year, 7565 graduates in the fields of Chemical (1144), Civil (1498), Civil with Environmental (84), Electrical and Computer (1796), Agricultural (79), Geomatics101), Industrial (399), Land Management (Valuation) (16), Mechanical (1889), Mechanical with Biosystems (36), Petroleum (48), Petroleum Geoscience (123) and Surveying and Land Information (357).