Loss of function of the nuclear deubiquitinating enzyme BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) is associated with a wide spectrum of cancers. We report that tamoxifen-induced BAP1 deletion in adult mice resulted in severe thymic atrophy. BAP1 was critical for T cell development at several stages. In the thymus, BAP1 was required for progression through the pre–T cell receptor checkpoint. Peripheral T cells lacking BAP1 demonstrated a defect in homeostatic and antigen-driven expansion. Deletion of BAP1 resulted in suppression of E2F target genes and defects in cell cycle progression, which was dependent on the catalytic activity of BAP1, but did not require its interaction with host cell factor-1 (HCF-1). Loss of BAP1 led to increased monoubiquitination of histone H2A at Lys119 (H2AK119ub) throughout the T cell lineage, in particular in immature thymocytes, but did not alter trimethylation of histone H3 at Lys27 (H3K27me3). Deletion of BAP1 also abrogated B cell development in the bone marrow. Our findings uncover a nonredundant function for BAP1 in maintaining the lymphoid lineage.