Arba Minch University

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Arba Minch University
Arba Minch University
Established 1986
Type Government
Students more than 20,000
Location Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Arba Minch University is nestled at the foot of Gamo Gofa Mountain ranges facing huge Abaya Lake; set in idyllic surroundings forms the part of East African Rift Valley. Its historical foundation dates back to late 1980s.

With an objective to address water-related issues, the then Arba Minch Water Technology Institute (AWTI) was established in September 1979 EC (1986). Then, AWTI used to offer short and long-term trainings; conducting research and rendering consultancy services in water sector.

Until 1993, the institute was under Water Resource Commission and then it got transferred to the Ministry of Education. In the wake of nation’s development plan to produce qualified manpower, the aforesaid institute was scaled up to the level of university as Arba Minch University in 2004.

The then Commissioner of WRC, Mr Alem Alazar, articulated the initial purpose of the institute was to train a middle level professionals (diploma-level and BSc degree) to narrow the gap between the professional position and the low-level technicians. Arba Minch Water Technology Institute started its academic functioning in September 1986 by accepting 181 students in two degree, two advanced diploma and two diploma programs.

The main objective of the institute was to produce a skilled and qualified manpower, which is vital for effective utilization and exploitation of water resources of the country for various aspects of development.

Among the many specific objectives, the main objectives were to provide theoretical and practical education designed to produce manpower at various levels, to conduct both basic and applied research to ensure the effective utilization of water resources for the development of the country and to prepare, plan and conduct refresher courses in response to the specific training needs as per the demand by various organizations working in the field of water.

Academic programs of AWTI in the 1980s and early 90’s were as follow:

Certificate programs: Electrical Maintenance Technician course (12 months), Hydro-Meteorological Observers’ course, Water wells drillers course (6 months), Water Works maintenance course (6 months), Water Supply Operators’ course (6 months), Motor Mechanics course (6 months), Community Participation promotion officers training course (6 months), Welders and plumbers training course (3 months), Practical Hydrological training course (2.5 months), Trainers training course (1.5 months).

Diploma Program: (2-year duration): Special drillers course, Meteorological Observers’ course, Assistant Meteorologist course, Soil Laboratory Technology, Hydrology, Water Treatment Technology.

Advance Diploma Program (3-year duration): Irrigation Engineering, Sanitary Engineering, and Hydraulics Engineering. Degree Program (5-year): Irrigation Engineering, Hydraulics Engineering, Sanitary Engineering, In 1988, the first 45 batches of students were graduated from AWTI in diploma courses. In the 1989, 47 of the first batches of advanced diploma were also graduated.

In September 1997, AWTI was restructured as Arba Minch Technology Institute (AMiT) with the establishment of the following three new departments for degree programs i.e. Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. In 2001, Meteorology Dept. was established with the aim of providing diploma and Post-Graduate degrees. Subsequently Computer Science and IT & Architecture were added.

And after 18 years of its establishment and a chequered history, it acquired the status to be up-scaled into full-fledged University. Albeit, the institute to be upgraded as a full-fledged Arba Minch University, will continue to retain its unique set up in Eastern Africa as the centre of excellence for Water Technology.

In 2002, the Institute started PG programs in Hydraulics & Hydropower and Irrigation Engineering and additional programs like Hydrology & Water Resource and Meteorology were also started in 2004-5.

In 2002-3, the School of Graduate Studies came into being. Later it introduced MSc in Electrical Power Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering and Water Supply and Environmental Engineering. Presently university runs 39 undergraduate, 30 graduate and a PHD programs. Since its establishment, it has achieved several milestones. Rooted to its mission, AMU has proved its inclusiveness by creating equal opportunities in the field of higher education to one and all irrespective gender, religion and culture. Similarly, it has spurred the economic growth of the region by churning out innumerable professionals; wedded to nation’s secular fabric, it fosters unprejudiced religious environment, thereby contributing in the overall development of the nation. Comprehensive researches, particularly focusing on the socio-economic problems of the area where the university is situated are being undertaken.

AMU consists of an institute and five colleges which are situated across university’s sprawling five campuses i.e. Main Campus, Abaya, Chamo, Kulfo and Nech Sar.

In 2003, College of Business & Economics came into being; College of Social Science & Humanities in 2008-9 and both are situated at Chamo Campus.

College of Natural Sciences at Abaya Campus was set up in 2004. College of Agriculture and College of Medicine & Health Sciences were established in 2007 & 2008 respectively; are situated at Nech Sar Campus. Recently College of Agriculture has shifted to new Kulfo Campus.

The programmatic status of Institute of Technology & five colleges as follow:

As of now, Institute of Technology runs eight departments i.e. Civil & Urban planning Engineering, Architecture & Urban Planning, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology, Hydraulic Engineering, Water Resources & Irrigation Engineering, Water Supply & Environmental Engineering. College of Natural Sciences has eight departments i.e. Biology, Chemistry, Math, Statistics, Sports Science, Geology, Meteorology & Hydrology and Physics.

College of Agriculture’s five departments are Plant Science, Horticulture, Animal Science, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development & Agriculture Extension. All four departments came into being in 2007 whereas Natural Resource Management was established in 2010.

College of Medicine & Health Sciences has five departments i.e. Public Health, Nursing & Medical Laboratory Sciences came into being in 2008; while Midwifery and School of Medicine were established in 2009. College of Business & Economics has Accounting and Finance, Management, Economics and Tourism Management departments. College of Social Sciences and Humanities owns Ethiopian Language and Literature (Amharic), English Language & Literature (TEFL), Civic and Ethical Studies, Geography and Environmental Studies, Sociology & Social Anthropology, Law, Psychology, History & Heritage Management and Pedagogical unit.

Students’ Enrolment: In 1986-87, it had only 176 (171 male, 6 female) students, in 1987-88 184 (174 male, 10 female), 1988–89, 234 (223 male, 11 female), 1989–90, 1179 (178 male, 1 female) students, in 1990-91, 176 (170 male, 6 female), 1991–92, 150 (143 male, 7 female), 1992–93, 141 (134 male, 7 female), 1993–94, 136 (134 male, 2 female), 1994–95, 140 (137 male, 3 female) students.

In this academic year 2005-2006 EC, AMU has in all 16548 regular (male 11983, female 4565) students from across the nation. College-wise figures are given below:

  • IoT is hosting overall 9394 students (male 7382, female 2012).
  • College of Natural Sciences has total 1751 students (male 1117, female 634).
  • College of Agriculture is accommodating 730 students (male 487, female 243).
  • College of Medicine & Health Sciences is having 1198 students (male 891, female 307).
  • College of Business & Economics has 2389 students (male 1395, female 894).
  • College of Social Sciences & Humanities is hosting 1086 (611 male, 475 female) students.
  • PG Students: AMU is hosting 494 (male 461, female 33) students.
  • Weekend and summer PG students: 373 (male 351, female 22).
  • Continuing & Distance Education (evening & weekend): 2049 (male 1383, female 666).
  • Summer category: 3166 (male 2634, female 532) students
  • Distance section: 699 (male 479, female 220) students are acquiring education.

The university which has come of age is heading towards its mission with sustained overall growth in terms of dispensation of quality in education and amazing rise in students’ enrolment. The ever-increasing services in AMU are being carried out by its well-trained and committed administrative and support 3520 staff members across the campuses.

The synchronized teaching-learning process in AMU is being carried out by its huge posse of local instructors 1450 and 96 expatriates staff (86 Indians, 7 Filipinos, I German, I British and 1 Italian).

If the comparative figures of 1986 in terms of students - 1673 graduates (male 1626, 47 female), and after 18 years (2013–14), it’s 23,329 students, registering ten-fold rise in students’ enrolment speaks volumes about university’s steady progress.


Skyline of Arba Minch University's campus

College and institutes[edit]


The University consists of the following academic units:[1]

  • Institute of Technology [IoT]
    • Architecture and Urban Planning
    • Hydraulics & Water Resource Engineering
    • Water Supply & Environmental Engineering
    • Water Resource & Irrigation Engineering
    • Civil and Urban Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Information technology
    • BSc in Production & Metal Engineering
    • MSc in Engineering Materials
  • College of Natural Sciences
    • Biology (including M.Sc.)
    • Chemistry (including M.Sc.)
    • Geology
    • Mathematics (including M.Sc.)
    • Meteorology and Hydrology (including M.Sc.)
    • Physics
    • Statistics
    • Sport Science
    • MSc in Wildlife Management
    • MSc in Material Science & Engineering
  • College of Business and Economics
    • Accounting And Finance
    • Economics (including M.A.)
    • Tourism Management
    • Management
    • MA in Development Economics
    • MSc in Agricultural Economics
  • College of Medicine and Health Sciences
    • Medicine
    • Public Health (including M.Sc.)
    • Nursing
    • Medical Lab Sciences
    • Midwifery
    • School of Medicine
    • BSc in Radiology
    • BSc in Anesthesia
  • College of Social Science and Humanities
    • History & Heritage Management
    • sociology and social Anthropology
    • English language and Literature (TEFL)
    • Ethiopian Languages and Literature [ Amharic ]
    • Law
    • Geography and Environmental studies (including M.Sc.)
    • Civics and Ethical Studies
    • Psychology
    • Pedagogical Unit
    • PG in Social Anthropology
    • UG in Development Studies
  • College of Agricultural Sciences
    • Plant Science
    • Animal & Range Science
    • Rural Development and Agricultural Extension
    • Horticulture
    • Natural Resource Management
    • MSc in Agronomy
    • MSc in Sugarcane Production Technology


Arba Minch University aspires to be a leading university in Ethiopia, a centre of excellence in the field of water resources in Africa and competitive in the world by 2020.


Arba Minch University has a mission of offering relevant and quality education and training; conducting demand driven research and rendering accessible community services.


  • Ensure the quality and expansion of education and training
  • Advance research and consultancy works in various fields
  • Improve services to the community
  • Develop a conducive environment for learning and teaching
  • Increase the revenue, minimize the costs


  • Prepare knowledgeable, skilled and mature graduates in numbers with demand-based proportional balance of fields and disciplines so

that the country shall become internationally competitive

  • Promote and enhance research focusing on technology transfer consistent with the country's priority needs
  • Expand higher education services that are free from any discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sex, politics and other similar grounds
  • Ensure that education and research promote freedom of expression based on reason and rational discourse
  • Design and provide community and consultancy services that shall cater to the developmental needs of the country
  • Ensure institutional autonomy with accountability
  • Ensure the participation of key stakeholders in the governance of institutions
  • Ensure the participation of all those concerned bodies in administration decision making, create and promote participation culture
  • Promote and uphold justice, fairness, and rule of law in institutional life
  • Promote democratic culture and uphold multicultural community life


As part of Arba Minch University's expansion, several construction projects have recently been completed on campus, and many more are in the process of being completed. The construction is designed by world top engineers who they took second degree from Arba Minch university.

Student life and residences[edit]

At Arba Minch University there are a number of services providing for the needs of students. Currently all students in the regular program are accommodated on campus. Expansion of dormitories has been carried out recently. Students actively participate in departmental and inter-collegian sports tournaments. The university provides various indoor and outdoor sports facilities.