The Sambalpur University Act was passed by the Odisha Legislature on 10th December 1966 to fulfil a long-cherished dream of the people of Western Odisha for the establishment of a University. The University started functioning on 1st January 1967 with Prof. Parsuram Mishra as the first vice-chancellor. The University was inaugurated on 4th January 1967 by Hon’ble Chancellor A. N. Khosla. The University started functioning in 1967 in a rented private building at Dhanupali, Sambalpur and a Government building at Ainthapali, Sambalpur from 1968 - 72. In the year 1973, the University was shifted to the present campus named Jyoti Vihar at Burla.
The territorial jurisdiction of the University covers six districts of the state of Odisha namely Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh, Bargarh, Boudh and Athamallik Sub-Division of Angul District.
The Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education (DDCE) has started in the year 1998 with only on-campus courses in collaboration with P.G. Departments of Sambalpur University.In the year 2000 DDCE has launched BCA, PGDCA and PGDIT courses. In the year 2003 the DDCE has started floating MCA (Direct and Lateral), DCA Course. In the year 2006 the DDCE has started floating MBA (Off Campus) full time courses. DDCE has launched MCA, MBA, BCA, BBA, PGDCA & DCA courses through Off Campus mode, with NICE, as its Service Provider cum Learning Centre.
The Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education (DDCE) renamed as Centre for Distance and Online Education (CDOE) on dated 30.07.2021.
In the fitness of this CDOE initiated Open and Distance Learning (ODL)/ Online Line (OL) mode programme with thirteen affiliated colleges under Sambalpur University to serve as Learner Support Centre (LSC), with a hope to reach out to more and more people and help them in their endeavour to study further and taking education to people at their doorstep by removing all barriers of learning.
CDOE has submitted application to UGC-DEB for recognition of four post graduate programmes (MBA, MCA, MA Education and M.Com) and one under graduate programme (BBA).