On nearly the same moment as the opening of STT Bandung (Sekolah Tinggi Teknik/Higher School of Engineering) in Yogyakarta, a Private Higher Education School was created in Yogyakarta, which was called Balai Perguruan Tinggi Swasta/Private Higher Education Hall (BPT) Gadjah Mada. The school officially opened in March 1946 and was located at the Sitihinggil and the Pagelaran of the Yogyakarta Kraton. These two locations were used under the support and permission of His Highness Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX. Unfortunately on 19 December 1948, when the Dutch military attacked Yogyakarta which at that time was the capital city of the Indonesian Republic, both STT and BPT Swasta Gadjah Mada were forced to close. Exactly one year after it was closed, on 19 December 1949, STT was re-opened with a new status: as a faculty within the University of Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta.
Gadjah Mada University was created by the merger of the BPT and STT, and its official establishment date was 19 December 1949. At that time the Indonesian Republic capital was moved to Jakarta which created a shortage of teaching staff at the Engineering Faculty. This shortage forced the closure of two programs, Mechanical and Electical Engineering programs, which left only two programs in operation, Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering. Foreign donors in the years 1955 to 1966 helped the Faculty very much, especially from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) which started in 1957. With the help of UCLA which included teaching assistance, books, and scholarships for teaching staff which was organized in 4 periods until 1964, the faculty was able to open a new program, Architectural Engineering (1962 – present).
To further improve the teaching and study activities, since the 1970s the Architecture program had two division, a Design Center and a Research Center. Activities under these centers had a characterisitic of togetherness since they require cooperation from many different fields, hence these activities were done within teams/groups. This further lifted the spirits of the members and future members of the two centres to continue their studies in their own specialized fields to be able complete each other.
The teaching activities are done within a study program, and in the beginning only consisted of one study program, which is a Bachelor Degree in Architecture (Sarjana/S1). Currently, in 2009 there are 8 study programs. These study programs were created in corellation to the internal potentials in the department and external expectations. The seven other study programs are Masters in Architecture (1991), Bachelor Degree Extension (1993), Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (1994), Masters in Urban Design (1997), Doctoral program in Architecture (1999), Masters in Tourism Architecture (2002), and Bachelor Degree in Urban and Regional Planning (2003).
With these developments, the department currently in 2009 has three Bachelor degree programs, two of them are regular study programs (Architecture, and Urban and Rural Planning) and one swadaya/extension program (Architecture) that accepts Diploma graduates (D3 level) to advance their studies to Bachelor degree.