It is a comprehensive key university formed by a merger with the former South China University of Tropical Agriculture (Chinese: 华南热带农业大学) in August 2007. It is jointly administered by the Ministry of Education and the Hainan Provincial People’s Government. In December 2008, it was approved by the state as a key university under the Double First Class University Plan and former Project 211. It is a Chinese state Double First Class University identified by the Ministry of Education.
Hainan University consists of three campuses, with a total area of 741 acres (3.00 km2):
- Main campus and is located on Haidian Island in Haikou. It has three main gates: The east gate, located on Renmin Dadao, the north gate, located on Wuxi Lu, and the south gate, located on San Xi Lu.
- Located in Chengxi District of Haikou.
- Located in the city of Danzhou.