Wangusa is an ethnic Mumasaaba, born in Bugisu, in eastern Uganda. He studied English at Makerere University where he later served on faculty, and the University of Leeds (UK). He wrote his MA and PhD on British and African poetry, respectively.
Wangusa started working at Makerere University in 1969. He was appointed as Professor in 1981 (the first from his Bugisu. In his acceptance speech 'A Wordless World' he looked at how words were starting to lose meaning and there was a continuous shift from words and speech. Later Wangusa served as Head of Department of Literature and Dean of Faculty of Arts. He was also Minister of Education in the Ugandan Government (1985–86) and Member of Parliament (1989–96). Presently, he serves as Senior Presidential Advisor In Museveni's government. Wangusa played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Languages and Literature at Uganda Christian University, an Anglican University in Mukono.
His collection of poems Salutations: Poems 1965-1975 (1977), reissued with additional poems as A Pattern of Dust: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (1994), reflects his rural origins. The novel Upon This Mountain (1989) tells the story of Mwambu, who is determined to touch heaven, and describes his journey towards adulthood. The novel combines African folklore and proverbs with Christian symbolism. Its main theme is that of growing up in the Ugandan society and what challenges come with growing up in the traditional setting.
- Salutations: Poems 1965-1975 (1977)
- Upon this mountain (1989)
- A Pattern of Dust: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (1994)
- Anthem for Africa (1995)
- Africa's New Brood (2006)
- Centre for Creative Arts Ruler, Poetry Africa Biographies: Back to Poetry Africa 2003, "Timothy Wangusa ( Uganda )"  (retrieved 23-09-2011
- Bonnie Shullenberger, William Shullenberger, "Africa time: two scholars' seasons in Uganda", University Press of America, 1998, p. 128
- Poetry Africa Biographies - page 6 Centre for Creative Arts, Durban, University of Kwazulu Natal