As the Academy has two campuses, one campus is at Walton, which is used exclusively for the Common Training Programme (CTP), which is the flagship programme of the Academy. This Common Training Programme also aims to teach the probationary officers how to conduct themselves as a civil servant. Professional and social ethics, sportsman spirit and dignified behavior are the basic norms expected of a civil servant. As the probationary officers come from different provinces and regions of Pakistan, the CTP provides a golden opportunity to understand the varied cultures of Pakistan and the problems being faced by different regions. This would also help instill in the future officers a sense of national harmony and an esprit de corps.
The Civil Services Academy was established in 1948 for the training of fresh entrants to the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) and was called the Pakistan Administrative Service Academy. Since then, it has undergone many changes in organizational structure and location. With the adoption of the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) Resolution , the Academy was renamed the Civil Service Academy and was shifted from a building on the Race Course Road (the present Circuit House) to the old Residency Estate on the Shahrah-e-Quaid-i-Azam. In addition to CSP probationers, it started imparting training to Pakistan Foreign Service (PFS) probationers in 1963. In 1972, after the creation of Bangladesh and the consequent loss of the Police Academy, the training of new entrants to the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) was also entrusted to the Academy. Probationers belonging to the Information Service of Pakistan (ISP) started coming to the Academy in the same year.
A separate Academy, known as the Finance Services Academy (FSA) was set up by the Government during mid 1950s for the training of Probationers belonging to various Finance Services. This was located at Walton, which was then a sparsely populated rural suburb of Lahore. Probationers belonging to Pakistan Audit & Accounts Service (PA&AS), Pakistan Railways Accounts Service (PRAS), Pakistan Military Accounts Service (PMAS), Pakistan Taxation Service (PTS) and Pakistan Customs and Excise Service (PC&ES) were trained at this Academy.
Probationers of the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) were imparted training at the Secretariat Training Institute, Karachi, while those belonging to other services and posts received only on-the-job training.
After the Administrative Reforms of 1973, it was decided to organize a Common Training Programme (CTP) for all fresh entrants to various Central Superior Services (renamed as Occupational Groups). The Civil Service Academy and the Finance Services Academy were merged for this purpose. The merged institution was renamed the Academy for Administrative Training (AAT). This name was changed to Civil Services Academy by the President of Pakistan during his visit to the Academy on 1st November 1981.