The first phase of AOU was launched in October 2002 in three branches: Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan. In 2003, it opened branches in Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Branches were opened in Oman in February 2008 and in Sudan in September 2013.  In May 2015, AOU and the Palestinian Ministry signed an agreement to open a new branch in Palestine. College of Higher Education. However, in Qatar, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education refused to prove the degree of AOU, so the university was not recognized.
Under the partnership agreement with the Open University, UK, AOU offers a range of academic programmes taught in English.