Schools Kenya

University of Nairobi

The University of Nairobi seeks to represent the aspirations of the Kenyan people and the global community through the development, preservation, integration, transmission, and use of knowledge while offering top-notch higher education and training.

About the University of Nairobi

The University of Nairobi is a collegial research institution with its headquarters in Nairobi (uonbi or UoN; Swahili: Chuo Kikuu cha Nairobi). It is Kenya’s biggest university. Although it has been a place of learning since 1956, it wasn’t until 1970 that it was established as an autonomous university. In that year, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya were formed from the University of East Africa.

The institution has 49,047 students enrolled for the 2023 academic year, of which 35,897 were undergraduates and 11,003 were postgraduates. To meet the growing demand for higher education in Kenya, the institution adopted self-funded enrolment (commonly known as “module 2”) and several regulatory frameworks. The Royal Technical College, which established the University of Nairobi, opened its doors in 1956 and in April of that same year welcomed its first class of A-level graduates for technical courses.

The Scottish mathematician Professor James Morton Hyslop, formerly of the University of Witwatersrand, changed the Royal Technical College into the second university college in East Africa on June 25, 1961, giving it the name Royal College of Nairobi. It began preparing students in the colleges of Arts, Science, and Engineering for the University of London award degrees when it joined the university’s “schemes of special relations.” Students from other faculties continued to offer certificates for professional bodies’ and institutions’ qualifications, including the Faculty of Special Professional Studies (later renamed Faculty of Commerce) and the Faculty of Architecture.

As a constituent college of the Federal University of East Africa, the Royal College of Nairobi has renamed University College Nairobi on May 20, 1964. During this time, instead of studying for degrees from the University of London, enrolled students studied for degrees from the University of East Africa. It changed its name to the University of Nairobi in 1970 and became Kenya’s first national university. The university is ranked first among universities in Kenya. According to Webometrics Ranking of Global Universities, it is placed in 1698 worldwide and 7th in Africa.

In 1947, the Kenyan government devised a plan for the construction of a technical and commercial institute in Nairobi, which was the origin of the concept of a higher education institution in that country. This idea had developed into a concept by 1949 intending to give Kenya greater technical education. The Royal Technical College, Nairobi received a royal charter in September 1951, and the college’s cornerstone was set in April 1952.

The Asian Community of Kenya was also preparing to construct a college for arts, sciences, and commerce at the same time as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Memorial Academy Society collaborated with Kenyan governments to minimize duplication of effort. As a result, in April 1954, the Gandhi Memorial Academy was absorbed into the Royal Technical College, Nairobi, and in April 1956, the college welcomed its first group of students.

A few times after the first group of students arrived at the college, Kenya’s higher education system came under investigation. The Royal Technical College in Nairobi was changed as a result of the advice of a working party established in 1958 and led by Sir John Lockwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. Under the name “Royal College Nairobi,” the college opened its doors on June 25, 1961, becoming the second university college in East Africa.

On May 20th, 1964, the Royal College of Nairobi adopted the name “University College, Nairobi.” After the institution gained “University College” status, it continued to offer college diploma programs while simultaneously preparing students for bachelor’s degrees from the University of London. Except for the Department of Domestic Science, the University College of Nairobi offered educational possibilities in this capacity up until 1966, when it started educating students only for degrees from the University of East Africa.

The University of East Africa was abolished with effect from July 1, 1970, and Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda each had their national universities. As a result of this evolution, the University of Nairobi has been established thanks to a parliamentary act.

Since 1970, the university has evolved from a faculty-based institution with 2,768 students to a college-focused institution with over 68,000 students.

It was formed as a corporation following the Universities Act of 2012 and the Charter. Through the module II and III programs, thousands of Kenyans and foreigners, particularly those from Sudan, who meet the requirements for admission to universities but have not been able to enroll in regular programs due to the government’s limited resource allocation have now been allowed to do so on a paying basis. Classes are held at the University’s Extra-Mural Centers, which are located at the country’s county offices, in addition to the normal, evening, and weekend programs.

In January 2015, the university began admitting students to enroll in the projected Koitalel Arap Samoei University College for studies in law, business management, and education. The University of Nairobi and the County Government of Nandi have collaborated on this initiative.

In 1983, the university underwent a significant restructuring that resulted in the decentralization of the administration through the establishment of six colleges led by principals. The university was further reformed in 2021, gradually eliminating the colleges in favor of faculties led by Executive Deans. The university was placed in the 801–1000 range globally by Times Higher Education in 2017.

Faculty and Departments At the University of Nairobi

Faculty of Agriculture

  • Agricultural Economics
  • Food Science, Nutrition & Technology
  • Land Resource Management & Agricultural Technology
  • Plant Science & Crop Protection

Faculty of Art and Social Sciences

  • Linguistics and Languages
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Library and Information Science
  • History and Archeology 
  • Economics and Development Studies
  • Sociology, Social Work, and African Women Studies
  • Political Science and Public Administration
  • Anthropology, Gender, and African Studies
  • Journalism & Mass Communication
  • Diplomacy and International Studies
  • Literature
  • Kiswahili
  • Geography, Population, and Environmental Studies
  • Psychology

Faculty of Built Environment and Design

  • Art and Design
  • Architecture
  • Real Estate, Construction Management & Quantity Surveying
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Faculty of Business & Management Sciences

  • Business Administration
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Management Science and Project Planning

Faculty of Education

  • Educational Management, Policy, and Curriculum Studies
  • Educational Communication and Pedagogical Studies
  • Physical Education and Sport
  • Educational Foundations
  • Educational and Distance Studies

Faculty of Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil and Construction Engineering 
  • Electrical and Information Engineering
  • Environmental and Biosystems Engineering
  • Geospatial and Space Technology

Faculty of Health Sciences

  • Dental Sciences
  • Nursing Sciences
  • Public and Global Health
  • Surgery
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology 
  • Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics 
  • Pediatrics and Child Health 
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology 
  • Ophthalmology
  • Human Pathology
  • Psychiatry
  • Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Medicine
  • Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Pharmacy

Faculty of Science and Technology

  • Chemistry
  • Computing and Informatics
  • Mathematics
  • Physics 
  • Biology
  • Earth and Climate Sciences
  • Biochemistry

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

  • Public Health, Pharmacology, and Toxicology
  • Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology
  • Animal Production 
  • Clinical Studies
  • Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology, and Parasitology

Frequently Asked Questions about the University of Nairobi

How many Students Does the University of Nairobi admit per year?

Answer: The University of Nairobi reported having around 49,047 enrolled students as of 2023.

Is the University of Nairobi a Federal or State School? 

Answer: It is a public university.

What is the cut-off mark for the University of Nairobi?

Answer: Check the school’s website to find out.

What is the University of Nairobi’s Official Website?


Is the University of Nairobi a good school?

Answer: Yes. The University is one of the top public universities in Nairobi, Kenya. It is also ranked #794 in Best Global Universities.

Are there hostels at the University of Nairobi?

Answer: Yes! Hostels on and off campuses both offer lodging and residential amenities. For consideration, international students must apply to the Management Halls through their individual Dean of Faculty at least six months in advance.

When is the Admission Form coming out for the University of Nairobi?

Answer: Refer to the University’s website to find out.

Who founded the University of Nairobi?

Answer: The University was established by an Act of Parliament.

What are the requirements for the University of Nairobi?

Answer: Admission Requirement:

  • KCSE mean grade C.
  • KCSE mean grade C- or equivalent plus a Certificate.
  • O’ level certification with a division III or higher minimum.
  • a degree with at least two supplementary passes at the A’ level, or something comparable.

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