The University of the Philippines at Tacloban was established on 23 May 1973 by the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents to “provide quality education in the Eastern Visayas region and turn out graduates who possess essential attributes for becoming productive and responsible members of the community; undertake… scientific research in public affairs that will help illuminate phenomena [and]… resolv[e] problems and enhanc[e] regional development; and offer technical assistance to… government, business, and the public at-large toward the further improvement of the quality of life in the Eastern Visayas region.” 

The College was originally located on a lot behind the Leyte Provincial Capitol. It started its first semester of operations in June 1973 with 141 students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) and Bachelor of Science in Community Development programs. The Master of Public Administration program was offered beginning the second semester of School Year 1973-1974. 

In 1986, the College, along with UP Iloilo and UP Cebu College, became part of UP Visayas, and its name was changed to UP Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC).

On 27 April 2023, the UP Board of Regents at its 1380th meeting approved the elevation of UP Tacloban College to an autonomous unit under the Office of the UP President. The grant of autonomy aims to enable UP Tacloban to better fulfill its mandate in Eastern Visayas and work towards becoming the next constituent university of the UP System.

At present UP Tacloban has more than 1,400 students enrolled in ten undergraduate degree programs and two Master’s programs offered by four academic divisions.