Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and provides campus-based as well as online postsecondary education services focused on graduate and undergraduate degree programs in education, liberal arts, business, and healthcare through its seven colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Theology, the College of Doctoral Studies, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Production, the College of Nursing, and the Ken Blanchard College of Business.
The college was founded as a nonprofit institution in 1949. ArizonaSouthern Baptists felt the need to establish a faith-based institution that would allow local Baptists the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor's or Master's degree without going east to one of the Baptist colleges in Texas or Oklahoma. On October 8, 1951, Grand Canyon College relocated to its current location in Phoenix. First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix donated the land necessary for the institution, and several members of that church, led by the Reverend Vaughn Rock and S. F. Hawkins, donated the finances and physical labor needed to bring G.C.C, as it was known, into reality. Grand Canyon College became Grand Canyon University in 1989.
Suffering financial and other difficulties in the early part of the 21st century, the school's trustees authorized its sale in January 2004 to California-based Significant Education, LLC, making it the first for-profit Christian college in the United States.
In 2006, the Grand Canyon University campus received a US$150 million makeover including a brick promenade, an aquatics center, with pool and hot tub, and a café offering an assortment of games and big-screen televisions.
In 2009, Grand Canyon University's campus began work on a $60 million campus expansion project which includes a 500-bed dormitory, a 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) fitness and recreation center, 125-classroom facility, food court and bowling alley, and a 5,000 seat arena. The GCU Arena, which opened on September 2, 2011, is utilized for secular and non-secular concerts, speakers, and events, as well as being home to Grand Canyon University's Men's and Women's basketball teams, and Women's Volleyball games, beginning in the fall of 2013.
Two new residence halls opened in the fall of 2012, Sedona Hall and Camelback Hall, each with 500 beds. Two additional residence halls opened in the fall of 2013, Chaparral Hall and Saguaro Hall. Another apartment-style residence hall is scheduled to open Fall of 2014.
Grand Canyon University was recognized as a top-five online school for entrepreneurs by Fortune.
The Ken Blanchard Executive MBA, a one-year EMBAC taught in part by Ken Blanchard. The focus of the EMBA is Servant Leadership.
The Bachelor of Science (BS) with majors in Accounting, Business Administration, and Marketing.
The Master of Business Administration (MBA), with emphasis available in a number of disciplines including Accounting, Finance, General Management, Health Systems Management, Leadership, Management of Information Systems, Marketing and Six Sigma.
The Arizona State Department of Education has given formal approval of the work done at the University for the certification of elementary and secondary teachers and for the renewal of certificates.
College of Arts and Sciences — The College of Arts and Sciences is the foundational college of Grand Canyon University and contains majors in the sciences and social sciences, media and communications, and the humanities. The College of Arts and Sciences has the largest number of faculty members of any college at the university and provides course offerings ranging from Molecular Genetics to Robert Frost. The College of Arts and Sciences represents what is commonly called the "core education." Core classes are courses that are required for all student degree programs and support GCU's stated mission and vision of student development: "GCU prepares learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders by providing an academically challenging, values-based curriculum from the context of our Christian heritage." 
In addition, the College of Arts and Sciences represents a wide range of bachelor's and graduate programs related to the medical field, including programs to prepare students for medical careers as doctors, physician assistants, pharmacists, athletic trainers and addiction counselors.
College of Education — Teaching future educators has been one of GCU's core competencies since its inception. Educational programs include TESOL, elementary, secondary, special education and educational administration. All education programs at GCU are developed to align with state and national standards and use the Understanding by Design framework to ensure effective learning. Grand Canyon University College of Education ground, traditional graduates have a 99% placement rate.
College of Fine Arts & Production — The artistic hub of Grand Canyon University, the College of Fine Arts & Production offers degree programs in dance, music education, theatre and drama, digital film with an emphasis in production or screen writing. The Ethington Theatre is where the dance and drama productions are held. The Ethington dance ensemble is a part of the dance major and minor program at Grand Canyon University. The dance program and company was first launched in 2010 to allow for a different University level dance education. The main focuses in this program are Ballet, Jazz and Modern. There are many guest artists who come to show styles and stories from all around the world. 
College of Nursing and Health Care Professions — For more than 25 years GCU has offered both ground and online programs. Students who plan to become professional registered nurses (RNs) can enter GCU's nursing program as freshmen to begin the pre-requisites or enter the program later with transfer hours. They will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and be prepared for an exciting nursing career. The College of Nursing has degrees ranging from the Undergraduate RN to BSN program to a Masters in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems 
In 2010, Grand Canyon University opened a satellite campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico for pre-licensure nursing students in partnership with Presbyterian Health System 
Ken Blanchard College of Business — Focused on servant leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit the Ken Blanchard College of Business offers programs for undergraduate and graduate level students in a variety of business disciplines. Such programs include: bachelors in accounting, marketing, business administration, entrepreneurial studies and finance and economics. The College of Business also offers graduate programs including the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA programs.
College of Doctoral Studies - The College of Doctoral Studies offers three distinct doctorate degree programs tailored toward the specific interests of students: the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D).
College of Theology - As a Christian university, GCU encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to their studies and to the workplace. GCU offers several undergraduate and graduate Christian studies degrees meant to equip learners to lead as Christians in their areas of influence, be they secular, religious, professional or personal.