Launched first as Beis HaMidrash LeRabanim in 1919 with ten students, Hebrew Theological College/Beis HaMidrash LaTorah was founded in October, 1921, on Chicago’s West Side, and chartered by the State of Illinois as a degree-granting institution of higher education. In 1924, HTC established the Teachers Institute for Women to provide women with opportunities for advanced Jewish studies and to prepare those seeking careers in Jewish education.

From 1922 until 1946, Hebrew Theological College was led by the esteemed Rabbi Saul Silber. One of Rabbi Silber's major goals was the training of Orthodox rabbis to meet the needs of the American Jewish community while, revolutionary for those times, requiring a baccalaureate degree of all students before ordination. The continuing growth of the college and the population shift eventually made it necessary to relocate, and in 1958 HTC moved to its current location in Skokie. The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 1959 and was later renamed by William and LiIlian Kanter. In the 1970s, the School of Advance Hebrew Studies was endowed by Max Bressler. Meanwhile, the Teachers Institute for Women became the Rose Cohen Women’s College, also in 1959.

In the early 1960s, under the direction of President Rabbi Oscar Z. Fasman, HTC formally opened a Yeshiva high school to serve Chicago-area students as well as boys from around the country. The high school was subsequently renamed after Rabbi Fasman in 1981.

In 1976, the women's teacher’s institute was endowed and named the Anne M. Blitstein Teachers Institute for Women.

By the late 1980's, HTC made a concerted commitment to establishing a full range of course offerings leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies for both men and women at their respective campuses. Additional teacher certifications were offered, and additional majors were introduced gradually during the 1990s.

By 1994, with the women's division having grown from a part-time evening program to a full-time all-day seminary/college program, HTC established a second campus in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, including student residence facilities. In Fall 2005, the baccalaureate degree was renamed the Bachelor of Arts Degree.

HTC became accredited by the North Central Association, Higher Learning Commission as a candidate in 1995 and fully accredited in 1997.

In 2015, HTC formally joined the Touro College and University System, connecting its students to a system with 19,000 students spanning 30 undergraduate and graduate schools across four countries. The move also provided funding and institutional support in areas including finance, HR, operations, legal, web development, and marketing.

historic photo of the HTC building