With a history traced back to 1984,the university developed from three institutions:Shanghai Administrative Institute of Politics and Law,Shanghai Judicial College,Shanghai University Law school.The university initiated its undergraduate programs in 1993,and master's degree programs in 1998.In September 2004,Shanghai Municipal Government approved the establishment of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law and gave it the status of an independent university.In November 2014,Shanghai Municipal Education Commission became the university's supervising authority,and the university has since been operated by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Justice.

SHUPL now has more than 11000 students and 1000 staff.According to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, SHUPL ranks 4th among the universities of political science and law in China.According to the “2022 ARWU Ranking of the Best Disciplines in China",the discipline of Law of SHUPL ranks the 18th in China(top 9%).