The whistleblower, who leaked documents revealing US and UK mass surveillance tactics, agreed to run after students launched an “Edward Snowden for Rector” campaign.
Reacting to the news the campaign released a statement claiming Mr Snowden’s candidacy “would provide a unique opportunity to show our gratitude to a brave whistleblower”.
They are said to have contacted Mr Snowden, who leaked documents while working as a contractor for the US National Security Agency, to ask him to agree to the candidacy.
Mr Snowden, who currently resides in Russia and is seeking permanent asylum, will compete against Scottish writer Alan Bissett, clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth and world record breaking cyclist Graeme Obree for the role.
The job of the rector is to represent the views and issues of students to senior management and is elected every three years. The current rector is former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.
In December Times Higher Education reported on a petition to nominate Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, which gained almost 500 signatures, but he was not named among the final list of nominees.
Breffini O’Connor, vice-president at the University of Glasgow Students Representative Council, expressed disappointment at the lack of female candidates.
Commenting on Twitter, she said: “Rector nominations have closed and we’ve got 4 candidates… They are all male…. #pity”
Oliver Coombs, vice-president for education on the council, added: “As much as I admire and respect Snowden - it’s vital for students to have a rector who’ll be able to actively participate.”