Having been founded in 1627, it is the third oldest gymnasium in Sweden, after the Rudbeckianska gymnasiet in Västerås and Thomasgymnasiet in Strängnäs. Its name comes from its proximity to Linköping Cathedral.
The current building was finalised in 1914 and renovated in 1999. The school is famous for its Assembly Hall, which features wall paintings of Gustav II Adolf, king at the time of the school's foundation, and Aristotle.
Katedralskolan is proud of its traditions but seeks to stay up to date, as reflected in is motto: "tradition and development". Its affinity for tradition is evident in its logo which says Gymnasium Lincopense, the latin name used at the time when Katedralskolan was the only school in Linköping.
In accordance with its commitment to international cooperation, it also maintains exchange programmes with schools in Herborn, Germany, the lycée de l'Elorn, Landerneau, France and Scarborough, England, Linköping's sister city Joensuu, Finland, and Spain.
The school has many societies. Sällskapet för vitterhet och hävd - Eranos (known as VH-E), dedicated to history, literature and philosophy, has been residents to the school since 1795 and counts many famous names amongst its members, such as Jöns Jacob Berzelius, Tage Danielsson and Daniel Landelius - also known as GAGA.
The school enjoys a fierce rivalry with nearby Berzeliusskolan, which ironically is named after Katedralskolan alumnus Jöns Jacob Berzelius. Katedralskolan has a reputation for being posh, while Berzeliuskolan is seen as more scholarly.