Pakistan is predominantly an agricultural country. However, since its independence in 1947, emphasis has been on irrigated agriculture, while the dryland / arid agriculture remained neglected. With rapid increase in population the irrigated areas failed to provide food requirements and it became imperative to find out ways to make use of the huge part of culturable land in the rainfed region. In the 1970s, the Government of Pakistan constituted a Barani Commission to review and recommend measures for the development of rainfed agriculture and uplift of the poor masses through education, research, and development of technology and manpower.
Pursuant to the recommendations of the Barani Commission, the Government of Punjab established Barani Agricultural College, Rawalpindi which was later upgraded to the level of the University in 1994. The mandate of the University is to produce high-quality agricultural scientists and to form an organized scientific infrastructure for teaching and research for the development of dryland regions of the country, thus minimizing the income gap between the rich and poor and irrigated & arid areas.
Since its inception, UAAR has experienced remarkable growth and is offering undergraduate as well as post graduate degree programs in variety of disciplines. The University includes a Faculty of Crop and Food Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, Range Management and Wildlife, Directorate of Advance Studies and Research, the University Institute of Management Sciences (UIMS), University Institute of Information Technology (UIIT) and Division of Continuing Education, Home Economics and Women Development. The University building contains an auditorium, multi-storied administrative block, a library, a museum, and four multi-stories academic blocks.
Pursuit of excellence on the University campus is a function of competent and dedicated university faculty. The University of Arid Agriculture has, therefore, made constant efforts at staff development with the result that nearly 46% of the faculty possesses Ph.D. degrees, while the others have M.Sc. (Hons) and M.Phil degrees.
Furthermore, UAAR is committed to delivering an outstanding student experience; as well as to enjoy a reputation for excellence in teaching and learning alongside research. Students actively participate in extracurricular and co-curricular life on campus which includes speech events, seminars and activities related to entrepreneurial skill development. Together with a research-informed curriculum, and extracurricular activities UAAR strive to provide a well-diversified environment to students so that they can effectively contribute towards the development of this country.
The University building with its most beautiful architectural design is situated on Murree Road, almost in the center of the twin, cosmopolitan cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital of the country. These cities are beautiful towns located in the foothills with a blend of old and new cultures and constructions. The towns provide pollution free environment, scenic pothowar vegetation and topography of plateau land.
The central location of the university places it in proximity to major institutions of higher learning and research like Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), National Agricultural Research Centre(NARC), National Institute of Health (NIH), Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH), Rawalpindi Medical College, Poultry Research Institute, Fisheries Research and Training Institute and International Institute for Biological Control of the Common Wealth and Agency for Barani Areas Development (ABAD). The location of University also allows the utilization of expertise scattered in the twin cities for providing quality education by teachers/executives in fields of their specialization.
Collaborative research and teaching programs are being developed with these institutions for better teaching and research facilities for the students. The University has signed MoUs with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, Islamabad; Agriculture University of Hebei, China; International Center for Agriculture Research in Dryland Areas (ICARDA), Syria; and Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department to assist each other in teaching, research and extension activities.