The University of Northern Philippines was created through the enactment of Republic Act No. 4449, approved on 19 June 1965, the Act converted the Ilocos Sur School of Arts and Trades, in the municipality of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur.

The University of Northern Philippines shall primarily give technical and professional training, advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences and arts, besides providing for the promotion of scientific and technical researches. This UNP mandate was expanded in 1998 to include relevant extension services and quality production towards empowerment of graduates for sustainable development.

RA 4449