Bifröst University was founded in Reykjavík in 1918 on the model of Ruskin College, Oxford, under the name Samvinnuskólinn or the Cooperative College. Its role then, as now, was to educate leaders for business and society.
The school was moved to Bifröst in Borgarfjörður in 1955.
Bifröst has been accredited by Iceland's Ministry of Education as a university since 1988. Originally a business school, Bifröst began to offer degrees in law in 2002, in social science in 2005, and is planning further expansion. Reflecting these changes, its name was changed to Bifröst University in 2006.
Bifröst is a private, self-governing, non-profit institution which receives around 40% of its income from the Icelandic state, 40% from tuition fees and 20% from other sources.
The Bifröst campus is 110 km from the centre of Reykjavík, roughly 90 minutes' driving distance from the capital.