NIT Rourkela was established as Regional Engineering College (REC) Rourkela on 15 August 1961 under the then Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik and its foundation stone was laid by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It was granted autonomy and functional independence by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2002 thus becoming one of the National Institutes of Technology. NIT Rourkela is a deemed university, and is governed by its Board of Governors, which is responsible for the overall superintendence, direction and control of its affairs.
Students of NIT Rourkela enjoy a number of facilities. These include various societies for achieving their dreams, boarding and lodging facility for all students, modern gymnasium, swimming pool, All games and sports facilities, career guidance, almost 100 % placements, medical facilities
The Institute has two guest houses within the campus. The guest houses are near the Directors banglow. The one in front of the banglow is South Block and the one behind the banglow is North Guest House. The South Block Guest House has altogether 18 A/c Suites with a telephone and a TV in each room. VIPs, Institute guests and invited guests are usually accommodated here. The North Block Guest House has 15 rooms in total all are Air-conditioned rooms, This provides boarding and lodging facilities for the Institute guests and Visitors, newly appointed faculty, staff members, delegates and participants attending various Conferences, Seminars, Symposia and Workshops. Both the guest houses are operated as a non-profit activity to mainly support the academic and research activity on the campus with a homely atmosphere and ambiance traditionally acclaimed for its environs of hygiene and food of homely relish and richness.