The idea of KUST was first conceived by the on will-meaning leading personality of Kohat, with clear vision and strong will to do something great for the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lt. Gen S. Iftikhar Hussain Shah. What he envisioned was an institution having:
- A dynamic outlook;
- A group of accomplished and forward-looking academic leaders;
- An awe-inspiring landscape; and
- A captivating campus
It was founded with four institutes - Institute of Information Technology, Institute of Management Sciences, Institute of Education and Research and Department of Microbiology. These offered two-year and four-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degrees and two-year Master degrees fields, in 2004. Later on the university was expanded by establishing departments in Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, and Microbiology. These departments offer BS (Hons.), M. Sc., M. Phil. and Ph.D. degree programmes.