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University of Nairobi

University of Ngui
Motto Unitate et Labore
In Unity and Work
Established 1956 Royal Technical College
1961 Royal College Nairobi
1964 University College Nairobi
1970 University of Nairobi
Type Public
Chancellor Dr. Vijoo Rattansi
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Peter Mulwa Felix Mbithi
Undergraduates 49,488
Postgraduates 12,424
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Campus Urban
Affiliations ACU
A view from the main entrance
A view from the main quadrangle

The University of Nairobi (UoN) is a collegiate research university based in Nairobi. It is one of the largest universities in Kenya. Although its history as an educational institution dates back to 1956, it did not become an independent university until 1970. In this year, the University of East Africa was split into three independent universities: Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Nairobi.

In 2011, the University had 61,912 students, of whom 49,488 were undergraduates and 12,424 postgraduates. The university has launched several policy frameworks and introduced self-funded enrollment (also called 'module 2') to cope with the rising demand for higher education in Kenya.[1]


  • Establishment 1
  • History 2
  • Profile 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • Colleges 5
  • College of Education and External Studies 6
  • Faculties/Schools/Centres/Institutes 7
  • Departments 8
  • Central Administration Units 9
  • Conferences and Journals 10
  • University Of Ngui Factfile 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The inception of the University of Nairobi dates from 1956, with the establishment of the Royal Technical College, which admitted its first group of A-level graduates for technical courses in April the same year. The Royal Technical College was transformed into the second University College in East Africa on 25 June 1961 under the name Royal College Nairobi and was admitted into a special relations with the University of London whereupon it immediately began preparing students in the faculties of Arts, Science and Engineering for award degrees of the University of London. Meanwhile, students in other faculties such as the Faculty of Special Professional Studies (later renamed Faculty of Commerce) and Faculty of Architecture continued to offer diplomas for qualifications of professional bodies/ institutions.

On 20 May 1964, the Royal College Nairobi was renamed University College Nairobi as a constituent college of inter-territorial, Federal University of East Africa, and henceforth the enrolled students were to study for degrees of the University of East Africa and not London as was the case before. In 1970, the University College Nairobi transformed into the first national university in Kenya and was renamed the University of Nairobi. The university top in Kenya's ranking and is known for quality services and education


As an institution of higher learning, the University of Nairobi has contributed greatly to the development of Kenya. The university, in turn, has benefited much from its location, in the country's capital, Nairobi, as well as, from the efforts of the nation's diverse population. Below are some highlights of the University development, as well as, factual information on its setting.

The University of Nairobi owes its origin to several developments in higher education within the country and the region. The idea of an institution for higher learning in Kenya goes back to 1947 when the Kenya Government drew up a plan for the establishment of a technical and commercial institute in Nairobi. By 1949, this plan had grown into a concept aimed at providing higher technical education for the African Great Lakes region. In September 1951, a Royal Charter was issued to the Royal Technical College of East Africa and the foundation stone of the college was laid in April 1952.

During the same period, the Asian Community of East Africa was also planning to build a College for Arts, Science and Commerce as a living memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. To avoid duplication of efforts, Gandhi Memorial Academy Society agreed to merge interests with those of the East African Governments. Thus, the Gandhi Memorial Academy was incorporated into the Royal Technical College of East Africa in April 1954, and the college proceeded to open its doors to the first intake of students in April 1956.

Soon after the arrival of students at the college, the pattern of higher education in the African Great Lakes came under scrutiny. Through the recommendation of a working party formed in 1958, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Sir John Lockwood, the Royal Technical College of East Africa was transformed. On 25 June 1961, the College became the second University College in East Africa, under the name "Royal College Nairobi."

The Royal College Nairobi was renamed "University College, Nairobi" on 20 May 1964. On the attainment of "University College" status, the institution prepared students for bachelor's degrees awarded by the University of London, while also continuing to offer college diploma programmes. The University College Nairobi provided educational opportunities in this capacity until 1966 when it began preparing students exclusively for degrees of the University of East Africa, with the exception of the Department of Domestic Science. With effect from July 1, 1970, the University of East Africa was dissolved and the three African Great Lakes countries set up their national Universities. This development saw the birth of the University of Nairobi set up by an Act of Parliament.

Since 1970, the University of Nairobi has seen many innovations, which have contributed to its development and that of the nation. It has grown from a faculty based university serving a student population of 2,768 to a college focused university serving over 68,000 currently.

In April 2015, ten days after the Garissa University College attack, an explosion of a power transformer outside the student hostel at the University of Nairobi sent pupils panicking in fear of another attack. Some students jumped out of windows, and the ensuing stampede left one person dead. Around 150 pupils sustained minor injuries, and 20 individuals received treatment at the hospital. It was later established that the blast had been caused by an ordinary electrical fault.[2]

Truly, the University's development has been as broad as its current wide scope. These developments have realised a tremendous increase in student intake. From a humble beginning as a technical college to the status of a major international teaching and research institution, the University of Nairobi has produced more trained human resources than any other' institution of higher learning in Kenya, with over 161,000 graduates to its credit.


The University of Nairobi is [3] a body corporate established under the Universities Act 2012 of the Laws of Kenya and the University of Nairobi Charter. It is the pioneer institution of university education in Kenya and the region. The only institution of higher learning in Kenya for a long time, the University of Nairobi responded to the national, regional and Africa's high level manpower training needs by developing and evolving strong, diversified academic programmes and specializations in basic sciences, applied sciences, technology, humanities, social sciences and the arts.

Through module II and III programmes, invaluable opportunity has been opened to thousands of Kenyans and foreigners, on a paying basis, who meet university admission requirements, but who have not been able to access university education due to restricted intake into the regular programmes that is determined by limited resource allocation by Government. In this effort, the location of the seven campuses of the University in the capital city and its environs and facilitating easy access, has been an asset that has seen the university increasingly become the busy hub and citadel of academic activity at all times. In addition to the regular and evening and weekend programmes, classes are conducted at the University's Extra Mural Centres located at the country's county headquarters.

The University of Nairobi is currently in admitting students to undertake courses in the proposed Koitalel Arap Samoei University College for law, business management and education courses to begin in January 2015.This is a joint project of the County Government of Nandi and the University of Nairobi.

The University is proud of its distinguished record of achievements in teaching, research, development and consultancy while strategizing for a greater future as the centre of academic, research and professional excellence.[4]

Notable alumni

See also Category:University of Nairobi alumni

For more information, visit the University of Nairobi Alumni Website


In view of the rapid expansion and complexities in administration, the University underwent a major restructuring in 1983 resulting in decentralization of the administration, by creation of six colleges headed by principals. The following are the names and respective locations of the colleges:

  • College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Engineering
  • College of Biological and Physical Sciences
  • College of Education and External Studies
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Embu University College

College of Education and External Studies

  • School of Education
  • School of Continuing and Distance Education
  • Center for Open and Distance Learning (CODL)
  • Kenya Science Campus
  • Mombasa Campus Campus
  • Kisumu Campus


  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies
  • Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Societies
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Physical Sciences
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • Centre For Biotechnology & Bioinformatics
  • School of Computing and Informatics
  • School of Mathematics
  • School of Arts and Design
  • School of Engineering
  • Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology
  • Center of Open and Distance Learning
  • School of Education
  • Kenya Science Campus
  • School of Continuing and Distance Education
  • Education For Change
  • Open,Distance and eLearning Centre
  • Centre for Hiv Prevention And Research
  • School of Dental Sciences
  • Institute of Tropical & Infectious Diseases
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Public Health
  • Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies
  • Institute of Anthropology, Gender & African Studies
  • African Women's Studies Centre
  • Faculty of Arts
  • School of Business
  • School of Economics
  • Institute For Development Studies
  • School of Journalism
  • School of Law
  • Population Studies And Research Institute
  • Mombasa Campus
  • Kisumu Campus
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation
  • Centre for Urban Innovations Centre


  • Agricultural Economics
  • Food Science, Nutrition and Technology
  • Land Resource Management & Agricultural Technology
  • Plant Science and Crop Protection
  • Animal Production
  • Clinical Studies
  • Public Health Pharmacology & Tox.
  • Vet Farm
  • Vet. Anatomy And Physiology
  • Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology & Parasitology
  • Chemistry Department
  • Geology Department
  • Meteorology
  • Physics
  • Civil and Construction Engineering
  • Electrical and Information Engineering
  • Envrironmental and Biosystems Engineering
  • Geospatial and Space Technology
  • Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Real Estate and Construction Management
  • Urban And Regional Planning
  • Physical Education and Sports
  • Education Administration and Planning
  • Education Communication and Technology
  • Educational Foundations
  • Distance Studies
  • Education Studies
  • Extra Mural Studies
  • Conservative and Prosthetic Dentistry
  • Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Medicine/Pathology, Oral/Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Paediatrics/Dentistry and Orthodontics
  • Periodontology/Community and Preventive Dentistry
  • Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics
  • Biochemistry
  • Diagnostic Imaging & Radiation Medicine
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Pathology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Medical Physiology
  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Paedriatics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutics and Pharmacy Practice
  • Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy
  • Arabic
  • Confucius
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Kiswahili
  • Communication Skills and Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Politicalscience
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Korean Studies
  • Department of Information Science
  • Translation
  • Business Administration
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Management Science
  • African Clothing and Footwear Research Network (ACFRN)
  • Commercial Law
  • Private Law
  • Public Law
  • African Women's Studies Centre

Central Administration Units

  • ICT Center
  • DVC AF
  • DVC SA
  • Students Advisor
  • Administration department
  • Academic Division
  • Security
  • Finance
  • Internal Audit
  • Procurement
  • UHS
  • Legal Office
  • Estates
  • SWA
  • Dean of Students - Student Life
  • Transport
  • IPMO
  • Sports
  • CIPL - International Office
  • Planning
  • Construction & Maint.
  • NUP - University Press
  • Quality Assurance
  • Board of Post Graduate Studies
  • Board of Common Undergraduate Courses
  • UoN Library

Conferences and Journals

  • Conference Portal[5]
  • Journal Portal[6]

University Of Ngui Factfile

  • 30 Faculties, Schools, Institutes, Centres
  • Over 300 Programmes
  • 68,000 Students
  • 2,500 Strong Academic Staff
  • 5,400 Administrative and Technical Staff
  • 250 International Links
  • Kshs. 3B Annual Research Kitty


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Deadly stampede at Kenya university after power cable explosion sparks fears of terror attack". AFP. 13 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

  • University of Nairobi official site
  • Information About Kenyan Colleges and Universities
  • Top Colleges and Universities in Kenya
  • [3]
  • [4]
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