University of Nairobi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
University of Nairobi
Uon emblem.gif
Motto Latin: Unitate et Labore
In Unity and Work
Type Public
Established 1956 Royal Technical College
1961 Royal College Nairobi
1964 University College Nairobi
1970 University of Nairobi
Chancellor Dr. Vijoo Rattansi
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Peter Mulwa Felix Mbithi
Undergraduates 49,488
Postgraduates 12,424
Location Nairobi, Kenya
1°16′47″S 36°49′00″E / 1.27972°S 36.81667°E / -1.27972; 36.81667Coordinates: 1°16′47″S 36°49′00″E / 1.27972°S 36.81667°E / -1.27972; 36.81667
Campus Urban
Affiliations ACU
View from main entrance
View from main quadrangle

The University of Nairobi (UoN)[1] 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.

During the 2011 academic year, the university had 61,912 students, of whom 49,488 were undergraduates and 12,424 postgraduates.[2] The university launched several policy frameworks and introduced self-funded enrolment (also called 'module 2') to cope with the rising demand for higher education in Kenya.[3]


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 by the Scottish mathematician Prof James Morton Hyslop[4] formerly of the University of Witwatersrand under the name Royal College of Nairobi[5] and was admitted into a special relation with the University of London whereupon it 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 college degrees of the University of East Africa and not London as was the case before. In 1970, it transformed into the first national university in Kenya and was renamed the University of Nairobi. The university tops in Kenya's university ranking and is ranked 7th in Africa and 1698 in the world according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.


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 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 1 July 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 grown from a faculty based university serving a student population of 2,768 to a college focused university serving over 68,000 students.[6]


It is [7] a body corporate established under the Universities Act 2012 of the Laws of Kenya and the Charter.

Through module II and III programmes, 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 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 is admitting students to undertake courses in the proposed Koitalel Arap Samoei Universit College for law, business management and education courses that began in January 2015. This is a joint project of the County Government of Nandi and the University of Nairobi


The university underwent a major restructuring in 1983, resulting in decentralisation of the administration, by creation of six colleges headed by principals. The six colleges are:College of Architecture and Engineering, College of Health Sciences, College of Biological and Physical Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences and College of Education and External Studies.




University rankings
Times World[8] 801-1000

In 2017, Times Higher Education ranked the university within the 801-1000 band globally.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]

former minister of labour Uganda

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Latest News | UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI". Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Ngala, John. "The rot that is Nairobi University halls of residence". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). University of Nairobi. 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "Browsing Vice-chancellors by Author "Hyslop, James, Morton"". 
  5. ^ Royal College of Nairobi
  6. ^ "Nairobi University eyes Sh500m fund to sponsor high potential". Daily Nation. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Latest News - UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI". 
  8. ^ a b World University Rankings 2017-2018

External links[edit]