It was founded in 1986 under the name University of the South and then covers all academic institutions in the South. It is divided into three universities, including the current University of Sfax, with the creation of the University of Gabes in 2003 and the University of Gafsa in 2004.
The University of Sfax had 43,473 students in 2008–2009. The students were distributed among 21 higher education institutions, five research faculties, three colleges, twelve institutes, and a research center. They are the:
The University of Sfax maintains partnerships with large corporations and academic cooperation in research and exchange programs with foreign universities in several countries like France, Canada, Belgium, Morocco, etc.