Atlantic Union College had its beginnings as South Lancaster Academy, a secondary school begun in 1882. The school very early in its existence felt the need for work to be offered beyond the secondary level.
It became Lancaster Junior College in 1918 and Atlantic Union College in 1922. Its early degrees were B.Th. and B.R.E. degrees, but in 1933 the college was authorized to grant the B.A. degree and in 1954 the B.S. degree.
In 1990 authorization was received to grant the M.Ed. degree.