The GS started as the graduate program of the Northern Luzon Teachers College (NLTC) in June 1963, offering a Master of Arts in Education (MAED), major in administration and supervision. It gradually offered other major fields of study such as Health Education, English, Filipino, Guidance and Counseling, Child Study and Development, and Home Economics.

           In June 1976, the NLTC became the Northern Luzon State College (NLSC) under Presidential Decree (PD) 994. It was at that time that the Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA) was opened.

           PD 1279 merged the NLSC with the Mariano Marcos Memorial College of Science and Technology (MMCST) to establish the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). The NLSC campus, then, became MMSU’s College of Education (CE). The same PD transferred the higher education courses of the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trade (INCAT) to the University. Hence, the Master of Arts in Trade and Vocational Education, a degree offering of INCAT was absorbed by the CE and became part of its graduate programs. The existing curricula were enriched, and the Doctor of Education major in Educational Management was offered.

           The GS was finally established in 1981 and has become an autonomous unit of the University. From then on, other graduate programs in the following fields have been introduced such as Agriculture, Agroforestry, Engineering, Nursing, Rural Development, Linguistics, Biology, Mathematics, Education (Social Studies, Language and Literature, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Chemistry, Physics, Science Education, MSEPK, Technical-Vocational Education, Ilocano Studies), Information Technology, Management, and Professional Science Masters.