Top Ten Best Universities In Kenya 2021

Top Ten Best Universities In Kenya 2021

Universities are institutions of higher learning in which studies for bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate degrees, and academic research is done. A university provides the necessary facilities for teaching and research and is authorized to grant academic degrees.

In Kenya today, there are over 60 universities offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Out of these, 31 are public universities while the rest are private.

An institution is considered a university when it attains the minimum requirements for certification by the Commission for university education and is granted a charter.

A university that is not chartered is therefore not considered as a full university and does not qualify to offer certain academic programs. Kenya has some universities which are not chartered but are issued with an interim letter of operation as they await approval by the Commission.

Here is a list of the Top Ten universities in Kenya.


1. The University of Nairobi. (UON)


University of Nairobi (UON) has maintained its position as the top university in Kenya. In a recent ranking by Webometrics, the University ranked at position 1 in Kenya, Position 13 in Africa, and position 1052 globally.

UON was founded in 1956 during the colonial period by the name Royal Technical College. Since then, the institution has evolved through the years while changing its name. In the year 1964, the college was renamed University College Nairobi when it was acting as a constituent college of the East African University.

In 1970, the East African University was split into three independent universities: Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya. That is how the UON came to be born and was granted full university status as the first public university in Kenya.

The university’s main campus is located in Nairobi City with several other campuses and constituent colleges in different parts of the country.

It is the only university with its main campus located in Nairobi CBD. The institution currently has a student population of 98, 713 with over 1,300 foreign students.

The current University Vice-Chancellor is Prof. Stephen Kiama.

2. Kenyatta University. (KU)


Kenyatta University (KU) is the second-ranked University in Kenya. The University has its main campus located on a 1,000-acre piece of land in Kahawa, Nairobi along Thika Super Highway.

KU was founded in 1970 as a constituent college of the University of Nairobi by the name Kenyatta College. The institution was later granted full university status in 1985, becoming the third public university in Kenya after UoN and Moi university.

Currently, the institution has a student population of over 70,000 students, making it the second-largest university in the student population in the country. In terms of infrastructure, Kenyatta University beats all other universities to emerge at the top in the country.

The most significant infrastructure at KU is the Post-Modern Library, which is the largest university Library in East and Central Africa.

The University also has a Campanile, which is a unique bell tower that acts as the university’s museum, and the first of its kind in Kenya, East, and Central Africa.

The current University Vice-Chancellor is Prof. Paul Wainaina.

3. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. (JKUAT)


The Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT) is a public university that takes the lead as the best Engineering training center in the country. The University has its main campus located in Juja, Kiambu County along the Thika Super Highway, 36 Kilometers east of Nairobi City.

The institution was founded in 1981 as Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology. In 1988, the then-president Moi declared JKUAT as a constituent college of Kenyatta University. JKUAT was granted full university status in 1994.

Currently, the university produces the best graduates in Engineering, Technology, and Agriculture and has been ranked as the most preferred university in Kenya over the last few years.

The current University Vice-Chancellor is Prof. Victoria Ngumi.

4. Strathmore University.


Strathmore University is ranked as the third best university and the best private university in the country. The university’s main campus is located in Madaraka, Nairobi-Kenya.

The institution started as Strathmore college back in 1961 as the first multi-racial, multi-religious advanced-level sixth form college offering science and arts subjects.

The University is a catholic based institution majoring in Business and accounting courses. Currently, it produces half of CPA finalist students in the country.

The current Vice-Chancellor is Prof. John Odhiambo.

5. Moi University.


Moi is a public university is located in Kesses, Uasin Gishu County in the Rift Valley Region of Kenya. It is the second established university in Kenya after the University of Nairobi.

The institution was granted university status in 1984 through an act of parliament from the McKay Commission. The university was formerly ranked as the third best university in Kenya but has since dropped due to various challenges facing it.

The current chancellor of the university is Professor Miriam Were while the vice-chancellor is Professor Isaac Sanga Kosgey.

6. United States International University. (USIU).


The USIU, also known as UAIU Africa is a private university located in Roysambu Constituency, Nairobi- Kenya. The university is chartered by the commission for University Education (CUE) and has been listed among the best private universities in the country.

The University was founded in 1969 as the Nairobi campus of USIU San Diego Main Campus. However, in 1999, the institution disengaged from its mother campus and established itself as an independent university by the name USIU Africa is it is known today.

7. Egerton University.


Egerton University has its main campus located in Njoro, approximately 25 kilometers from Nakuru town. It is an Agricultural based learning institution that was established in 1939 as Egerton Farm School, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in Kenya.

In 1955, its name was changed to Egerton Agricultural college before it was named as a constituent college of the UON in 1979. In 1987, the institution was granted full university status and named a public university.

8. Maseno University.


Maseno University is located in Kisumu, Kenya. It is one of the best public universities in Kenya as of 2021.

It was founded in 1991 as a constituent college of Moi University before it was granted full university status in 2001.

The institution currently has a student population of more than 10,000 students and continues to expand.

It has 12 faculties offering various programs both at the main campus in Kisumu and various satellite campuses across the country.

9. Catholic University of Eastern Africa.


The CUEA is a private university located in Lang’ata, Nairobi- Kenya. It is one of the top private universities in Kenya offering undergraduate and post-graduate programs.

It was founded in 1984 as a graduate school of theology by the name Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa (CHIEA).

The institute was later granted full university status in 1992 and rebranded to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

10. Kenya Methodist University. (KEMU)


The Kenya Methodist University (KEMU) is a chartered private university located in Meru, along Meru-Maua Road, 5 Kilometers from Meru Town.

The university’s establishment idea was hatched in 1987 by Methodist Church stakeholders a dream that came true in 1997 after CUE approved the university establishment.

In 1997, the university was granted a Letter of Interim Authority and in 2006, KEMU became a fully-fledged university after it was granted a Charter by Commission for University Education (CUE).

This list was constructed according to recent university rankings by both Unirank and Webometrics. Private universities are now taking up positions as top-ranking universities not only in Kenya but in Africa and the world.

Therefore, Public universities to put in place more strategies to alleviate their positions if they have to remain at the top.

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