Throughout Russian history the Volga region was one of the largest regions of agricultural production. The geographical location of Saratov, the capital of the Volga agricultural region, already at the beginning of XX century led to its intensive development as a center of agricultural science and education.
Higher agricultural courses were opened in Saratov on the 15th of September 1913. The aim of the courses was to prepare qualified, educated agronomists, able to work in specific natural conditions of risky agriculture of the South-Eastern region of Russia.

Province and uyezd authorities, city duma (representative assembly) and city administration were interested in the opening of the Higher agricultural courses in Saratov. The full support of Saratov province society of agriculture in this matter was of great importance. Among its members there were real enthusiastic devotees who made great efforts to open higher agronomic school in Saratov. Its founders are:
- Konstantin Nikolaevich Grimm (1858-1919), at that time the Chairman of the Saratov province district council, heading the society of agriculture and the board of trustees of the Higher agricultural courses;
- Mikhail Mikhailovich Obukhov (1874-1947), economist of the province authorities;
Evgenii Ivanovich Panfilov (1875-1968), province district council agronomist, who had extensive experience of work at Saratov agricultural experimental station;
- Boris Kharlampievich Medvedev (1971-1955), the city agronomist, secretary of the society of agriculture, the editor of the journal "Agricultural Bulletin of the South-East". It was he who was the key person in this "quartet". Boris Kharlampievich played a decisive role in the formation and development of higher agricultural courses and in their reforming into Saratov Agricultural Institute after the October revolution. B.K.Medvedev was the head of the University till 1929.
Professor Alexander Skvortsov (1846-31.12.1913), a famous scientist-economist, became the first director of the Higher agricultural courses.
The first enrolment of students for a four-year training period was 105 people. The social origin of the students was presented by young people coming from families of nobles, large landowners, hereditary honorary citizens, merchants and priests; among them were the children of officials, townspeople, and prosperous peasants.
The course studies started in the premises of the Saratov Sanitary society, and in 1914 they were transferred to a more appropriate building at the corner of the Teatralnaia square and Nikolskaya street leased from a private house-owner. And today "the house of the merchant Vakurov" is one of the buildings of the Saratov State Vavilov Agrarian University.
On the 5th of April 1918 Higher agricultural courses were converted in the Saratov agricultural Institute by the decision of the People's Commissariat for Agriculture and the People's Commissariat for Education of the RSFSR. The doors of the Institute were immediately widely open for the working and peasant youth.
During the first years educational process at the courses and in the institute was carried out by such outstanding scientists as V.D. Zernov, Ia.Ia. Dodonov, V.S. Bogdan, G.K. Meister, N.M. Tulaikov, E.M. Plachek and others.
In 1917-1921 one of the greatest geneticists of the world Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov (1887-1943) led research and teaching activities at the Agronomy faculty of the Institute. Saratov period of N.I. Vavilov was extremely fruitful. Here a young professor developed the doctrine of immunity of plants to infectious diseases. Here in June of 1920 the law of homologous series in hereditary variability was formulated. Leaving Saratov for Petrograd in March 1921, Nikolai Ivanovich left viable scientific school, like-minded colleagues, who had been faithful to his ideas, to his memory. Saratov Agricultural Institute was named after the scientist in 1981.
On the 20th of September 1918, the Institute was attached to the Saratov State University on the rights of the agronomy faculty in connection with the severe conditions of the civil war.
In May 1922, the Agronomy faculty separated from the Saratov State University with the legal status of the independent Institute. The name “Saratov Agricultural Institute” was returned. At this time the famous botanist, professor V.R. Zalensky (1875 -1923) was elected its first director.
During the academic year of 1923 Land Reclamation faculty was opened, specialized departments: silvicultural reclamation and agricultural reclamation were formed at the faculty, soon they were transformed into the reclamation - hydraulic engineering department. Extending the framework of the educational institution has led to the correction of its name, and Saratov Agricultural Institute was renamed into Saratov Institute of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. Over time the social origin of students has radically changed. 66 peasants (from them 7 laborers), 52 workers and 38 employees were enrolled in 1928. During the period from 1917 till 1928, 612 graduates received agricultural education.
In the thirties of the twentieth century a fundamental reorganization of higher education began in the country and in the Volga region as well. Institute of Agriculture and Land Reclamation became the basis for the formation of new agricultural educational institutions. In 1930 the formation of the State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Institute, which existed in Saratov since 1918, was completed. The Institute of mechanization and electrification of agriculture transferred from Moscow to Saratov in 1932 and became the base for agricultural education.
Saratov became a major centre for the training of qualified specialists for the growing needs of such vital areas as the production of quality food products and raw materials for industry.
The development of higher agricultural education has led to the development of major scientific schools, gaining well-earned reputation in the country and abroad. Such scientists as academicians N.M. Tulaikov, G.K. Meister, R.E. David, N.I. Sus, professors N.I. Kuraev, N.A. Borodulina, N.G. Andreev, S.A. Delinikaitis, V.V. Kostrovskii, V.V. Krasnikov, A.M. Kolesov, A.P. Markushin, A.F. Ulianov, A.P. Shekhurdin, N.V. Tsitsin, A.A. Nichiporovich, G.Ia.Liubashin, V.I.Gorbelik and many others left a noticeable trace in the development of Saratov educational institutions of agricultural education.
On the threshold of XXI century integration processes increased in education and science has required changes in the existing concept of the development of agricultural educational institutions. Three higher educational institutions of agricultural profile: Saratov State Agro-engineering University, Saratov State Vavilov Agricultural Academy and Saratov State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology have been reorganized, they were united into Saratov State Agrarian University named after N.I. Vavilov by decision of the government of the Russian Federation of 18 December 1997 "On improving the system of professional education in the Saratov region".
In May of 1998 the Honored worker of agriculture of the Russian Federation, doctor of economic sciences, professor Boris Ziamovich Dvorkin (1939-2003) was elected the first rector of the united University. An active participant in the establishment of the University, he made the University as it is today in many respects.
Currently, Saratov State Vavilov Agrarian University is one of the largest and leading educational and scientific-industrial centers on training of relevant to current requirements specialists for the agricultural industry of the Saratov region, the Volga region and other regions of the Russian Federation. The University by right occupies a leading place in the ranking of the agricultural universities of Russia and continues the glorious traditions of agricultural education in the country. In 2013 the Saratov State Agrarian University celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding.