The Institute was established in 1965 as Tripura Engineering College, with the three traditional branches of civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. It was initially affiliated with Calcutta University and had the same curriculum structure and examination system as Bengal Engineering College (currently IIEST Shibpur).
After the establishment of Tripura University in 1987, the Institute was affiliated with it. Courses toward a degree in computer science and engineering were offered beginning in the 1999 – 2000 session, and three new degrees were offered beginning in the 2005 – 2006 session: Electrical & Electronics, Production and Transportation Engineering. It was felt that these offerings catered to the technical needs of the students in this region.
On 23 February 2006,the Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the state government for conversion of Tripura Engineering College to National Institute of Technology, a fully Central Government funded Institution with Deemed to be University status. It also became a National Centre of Excellence.
The Institute is 4 km off National Highway (NH-44) and about 24 km away from the capital city, Agartala. The nearest rail station is about 2 km away. Several airlines connect Agartala to Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Mumbai directly.
The campus is located at 23°58′N 91°25′E.
The National Institute of Technology Agartala is one of the thirty one national-level Technical Institutes set up by the government of India. The Institute's mission is "to help to improve the economic development of the country particularly the North-East states and also the public systems, through pursuit of excellence in technical education, research, consultancy and training".
The Institute was converted from Tripura Engineering College,a State Engineering College, to a National Institute of Technology in 2006. To better reflect this new status, the total seats were increased from 250 to 420 for the academic session 2007 – 2008 and undergraduate courses were introduced in electrical and electronics engineering, transportation engineering and production engineering. The Civil Engineering Department started a postgraduate programme in structural engineering to fulfill a state requirement. The campus, which had been nonresidential, was made residential for the 2007 – 2008 session with the reopening of two boys hostels and one girls hostel. The institute is built over 335 acres (1.36 km2) of land with modern facilities meeting the overall requirements. The Institute has a 33 kilovolt dedicated power supply through Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited, for uninterrupted power supply in the campus. The campus is totally connected through Wi-Fi with a WiMAX wireless backbone, and all e-journal facilities are available in the digital library of NIT Agartala.
NIT Agartala is ranked 52nd best engineering college of India 2016 and 11th among NITs by National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. It is also ranked 89th best university of India 2016 by National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. This is the first NIT to enter the list of Best Universities of India 2016 by National Institutional Ranking Framework.
This institute offers nine four-year undergraduate programmes in engineering. All undergraduate programmes lead to a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree. Post graduate Master's of Technology (M.Tech) courses in chemical engineering, civil engineering, civil and structural engineering, electrical, electronic and computer engineering, instrumentation, mechanical engineering and production engineering are also offered. From July 2013, dual-degree courses in engineering physics and a five-year integrated course in applied physics, chemistry and mathematics have also been started. NITA is the second NIT in India (after National Institute of Technology Calicut), and sixth among all NITs and IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), to start a programme in engineering physics. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a three-year degree leading to a Master's in Computer Applications (MCA) course. PhD and post-doctorate fellowships are offered by some departments. NIT Agartala also offers a CDAC programme. NIT-Agartala is ranked 11th among 31 NITs.
In 2013, the mechanical and civil engineering branches of the Institute were accredited by the National Board of Accreditation for five years, while the electrical engineering branch was provisionally accredited for two years.
Facilities include a central library and a computer services centre with internet access, as well as the departmental Computer Centres. The Institute provides boarding facilities to the students and the faculty members on the campus. The students also have the option of staying outside the campus and studying as day scholars. Bus service is provided for the day scholars. Currently, the institute has four boys' hostels, one girls' hostel and an additional hostel for freshmen only. A new hostel Rabindranath is under construction. All the hostels are Wi-Fi enabled, have common rooms provided with television for recreation.
There are many other clubs such as the Fine-arts club, Science club, Enlightenment club, Electronics club, Robotics club, Tech-Addicts club, and Photography club.
The Students' Gymkhana was founded in 2011.
The Fifth Dimension is the campus e-magazine and newspaper published by the Tech-Addicts club.
A new boys hostel, Ranindranath tagore hostel is under construction. On completion it would accommodate more than 1500 students
The Institute has all basic infrastructural facilities for conducting the undergraduate courses satisfactorily. It has an adequate number of well qualified and experienced faculty members and technical supporting staff.
It has a well stocked library, computer facilities, workshop and laboratories relevant to the courses of study. The college campus is nearly 462 acres.
The library's lending service is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. It contains a reading room, an indexing and reference section, and a stock room with more than 34,000 books and 200 journals. The library also contains a high-speed copying facility, along with scanning facilities. All e-journal facilities are available in the digital library. Each hostel has a library as well.
The school maintains a central computer laboratory with a centralised server. In addition, there are four departmental modular computer laboratories with a separate broadband connection for every terminal. The computers are connected through the ERNET Internet backbone. The campus has an intranet facility for file sharing and communication, and has campus-wide Wi-Fi.
The Institute runs private bus services from Agartala to the Institute campus and back during working hours. In cases of emergency an adequate number of buses, jeeps and private vehicles are available on NH-44 for traveling from Agartala. It is mandatory for all students travelling from Agartala to Institute Campus to use the private bus facility; however, the requirement may be relaxed in special cases.
The Institute has a large green floodlighted sports field for cricket and football. It also has separate courts for basketball and volleyball. The much awaited Sports Complex was dedicated by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, when he attended the institute's fifth convocation on June 21, 2013.
Visveswaraya NITA Auditorium is on campus for important occasions and cultural functions. It has seating capacity of more than 1,500.
The institute has a 70-room capacity International Guest-House build to modern standards.
NIT Agartala is the first NIT in India to have a Kendriya Vidyalaya.
The Institute has its own e-magazine, The Fifth Dimension, providing news of all activities occurring throughout the campus.
A new auditorium, new library building and a huge sports complex is under construction.
Previously, a four-day annual cultural festival, Moksha, and an annual techno-management festival, Aayam, was hosted by the third year under graduate students. In February 2015, on the occasion of the Institute's golden jubilee, both Moksha and Aayam were combined to form Advaitam , a techno-culture festival.
Various editions of the college fests have witnessed musical performance by Underground Authority, Korral Reef, Divine Connection, Parikrama, Pentagram, Bombay Vikings, Sona Mohapatra, Sunburn Campus, Monali Thakur, Jubin Nautiyal.
The Institute is now known as Knowledge hub, with the introduction of more specialised subjects like hydroinformatics and aeronautics. NIT Agartala has also received awards from the first World Education Congress in the category of engineering colleges, and has been recognised among best Government Engineering Colleges by ABP News National B-School Awards in 2012 and in 2013.