Nigol Aghpalian was born in Tbilisi in 1875. He was educated at the Nersissian School in Tbilisi and the Kevorkian Seminary (Djemaran) in Echmiadzin. At a very young age he devoted himself to teaching. At the same time he contributed with literary criticism to the “Mourj” (“Hammer”) monthly based in Tbilisi. He has also taken courses in universities in Moscow, Paris, and Lozano. From 1909-1912 he was the principal of the Armenian national school in Tehran. As a member of the party, he participated in the ARF General Assemblies. He was a member of the National Council and a member of the organizing committee of the Armenian volunteer troops during World War I. In 1918, after the independence of Armenia, he became a member of the parliament. In 1919 he was appointed minister of education. It is due to his efforts that on January 31, 1920 the State University of Armenia was established in Gyumri.
From 1923 to 1928, he was the principal of the Armenian School in Alexandria. In 1928, he became one of the founders of Hamazkayin Association and subsequently founded the Hamazkayin Djemaran (Lyceum) in Beirut together with Levon Shant.
For the rest of his life Nigol Aghpalian remained a close colleague of Levon Shant. He taught history of Armenian literature and archaic Armenian in Djemaran. At the same time, he contributed to the Armenian press with scholarly articles and literary criticism.
Nigol Aghpalian died in Beirut, on August 15, 1947.