Yunnan University was founded in 1922, when it was Private Donglu University. In 1934, it was renamed as Provincial Yunnan University and in 1938 renamed as National Yunnan University. It is one of the earliest comprehensive universities in Southwest China. In 1946, Yunnan University was listed by Concise Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the 15 world's famous universities in China. In 1996, it was among the first universities to win the membership of Project 211. In 2001, it was listed as one of the higher education institutions to be intensively supported in China's development of its western region. In 2012, it became a participant of the Central-western Chinese Universities Capacity-building Project, and a participant in the Central-western Chinese Universities Comprehensive Capacity Promotion Project. In 2017, Yunnan University has been selected as one of the 42 universities which will participate in the country's construction plan of World-Class Universities.