Nantong University was founded in 1912. It originated from the private Nantong Medical Specialized School and Nantong Textile Specialized School founded by Zhang Jian, a famous modern industrialist and educator. In 2004, the former Nantong Medical College, Nantong Institute of Technology and Nantong Normal College merged to form a new Nantong University. In China University Evaluation 2022 of the China Academy of Management Science, Nantong University ranked 106th. In ESI Comprehensive ranking of Chinese universities, it ranked 114th. 

There are 20 schools, one independent college, one affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, School of International  Education, and School  of Continuing Education in the university. There are 3 postdoctoral research stations of basic medicine ,clinical medicine and information and communication engineering, 5 first-level doctoral programs of basic medicine, clinical medicine, information and communication engineering, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Special Medicine, 23 first-level master degree programs, and 19 professional master degree programs. 6 disciplines of Clinical medicine, neuroscience and behavioral science, engineering, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Biology and Biochemistry, and Chemistry entered the top 1% of ESI global ranking of disciplines.

There are 3.435 faculty members in the university currently, including 1,779 with senior and higher titles, and more than 1,610 doctoral and master tutors.  There are 105 undergraduate programs, covering 10 disciplines of literature, science, engineering, medicine, art, economics, law, pedagogy, history and management, etc. There are nearly 40,000 full-time undergraduates, more than 4,350 postgraduates and 1008 overseas students. The average annual employment rate of students keeps above 98%.

The university has a number of high-end research platforms, such as the National-local Joint Engineering Research Center, the Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education, the Key Laboratory of Sinopec, the Provincial Key Laboratory and Engineering Center, the Cooperative Innovation Center of Jiangsu Universities and the Key Research Base of Philosophy and Social Sciences of Provincial Universities. Over the past five years, it has undertaken nearly 600 projects of National Key Research and Development Projects, Project of National Natural Science and Social Science Foundation.

The university has extensively carried out overseas exchanges and cooperation. It has established friendly cooperative relations with 127 universities and research institutes in the countries of United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Australia, Japan, Korea, and Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.