Education in Nigeria has improved recently because every parent wants their child to attend the best universities in the country. Also, students want to get their degree at the best and most famous universities.
However, there has been an increase in the number of universities in the country lately, but a decline in the quality and standard of education in some of them. So, choosing to obtain your degree at one of the best academic institutions will help you because employees in developing countries, especially in Nigeria, will prefer a student with a degree from any of the most famous or best schools.
In this article, we have done a lot to compile a list of the top universities in the country based on the latest rankings of university rankings such as Times Higher Education World University Ranking, US News & World Report Best Global University Ranking, Academic Ranking of World Universities, World University Rankings and The Reuters Top 100.
Please be informed that Superprof does not rank universities; instead, we rely on the National University Commission (NUC) list, ranked by the most prominent ranking bodies. Take a look at the top higher learning schools in Nigeria below - we've gathered some information that we hope will help you decide where to apply as undergraduates or postgraduates. Also, note that the list below is in no particular order.
University of Ibadan (UI)
Founded in the year 1932, UI is the first university established in Nigeria. Originally affiliated with the University of London College, it achieved complete independence in 1962. It began as a small institution, with only three departments: science, medicine, and the arts, before quickly becoming one of the country's most prestigious higher learning schools.
Today, UI has about thirteen faculties, including Social Sciences, Agriculture and Forestry, Education, Veterinary Medicine, Technology, Law, Public Health, Dentistry, etc. At UI, you can take up an online course or distance learning programme. If you need more info about any of these, you can contact the school via their website or email address, an officer in the school will surely respond to you.
Some of the institution’s alumni have made significant contributions to Nigeria's political, industrial, economic and cultural development. The list includes the writers Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Chinua Achebe, whose novel Things Fall Apart is reputed to be the most read book in contemporary African literature.
Ibadan is an important trading city in southwestern Nigeria, about 70 km from Lagos. It is home to the prestigious university, which was ranked 601 - 800th in the ranking of the World University 2019, 201 - 300th in the ranking of the Impact of the university 2019 and 201 - 300th in the ranking of impact: good health and well-being for people 2019. Obtaining a degree from this school will likely give you an edge on the job front.
Covenant University, Ota
Covenant University is a private Christian academic institution that has been officially operating since 2002 in Ota, Nigeria. The school is determined to remain at the forefront of education based on the enlightenment of the whole person. In addition, the institution is born and encouraged by the vision of forming a new generation of leaders and restoring the dignity of the black race.
The university has four colleges, mainly specialised in education: the Faculty of Trade and Social Sciences; College of Leadership and Development Research; Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science and Technology. Like most private schools in Nigeria, the school fees are quite high and could be unaffordable for the average Nigerian. However, the institution offers scholarships to deserving students. You can find more info about the scholarship programmes on their website or contact the school via email.
Covenant University has rapidly gained popularity over the past 15 years. The Nigerian University Commission named it the best private university in Nigeria in its 2018 ranking and the sixth-best university in general. The university is ranked 601 - 800th in the world university ranking 2019, 301 + in the ranking of the impact of the university 2019, and also 301 + in the ranking of the impact on good health and well-being of people 2019.
University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)
UNN is a federal university in Enugu. It was founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe (Governor-General from 1960 to 1963. Nigeria's first president from 1963 to 1966) in the year 1955 and officially opened in 1960. Thousands of people have built wonderful careers from the skills, knowledge and experience gained while running their degree programmes in this citadel of learning.
The prestigious institution administers 102 academic departments in 15 faculties and offers 82 undergraduate programmes and 211 postgraduate programmes for more than 36,000 students. This is the case on four campuses: Nsukka, Enugu Campus (UNEC); University Hospital of the University of Nigeria (UNTH) in Ituku-Ozalla and the campus of the University of Nigeria Aba (UNAC). There is also a UNN business school.
The Nsukka campus is home to the Agricultural Faculties, Arts, Biological Sciences, Education, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. Enugu, the former College of Arts, Science and Technology of Nigeria (UNEC), includes faculties of business administration, environmental research, law and medical sciences.
The University Hospital (UNTH) hosts the Dental Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology. Finally, the Aba Campus (UNAC) is the site of the Nigerian Language Institute.
UNN alumni include many politicians, such as governors, senators, ministers of the Nigerian government and other African governments, scientists, business people, artists, and actors.
It is ranked 1001+ in the 2019 world university rankings.
University of Lagos (UNILAG)
Founded in 1962, UNILAG has provided quality and research training to people worldwide for more than five decades. It has three campuses in Lagos, the country's commercial capital. The Yaba X-ray School and its medical school in Idi-Araba, Surulere, and the main campus in Akoka (which is primarily surrounded by the panoramic views of Lagos).
The academic institution offers more than 86 undergraduate programmes and 140 postgraduate programmes in twelve faculties and five institutes, namely: Faculties of Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Administrative Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Dental science, education, engineering, environmental sciences, law, pharmacy, and social sciences, Distance Learning Institute, Confucius Institute, Marine Research Institute, Institute for Continuing Education and Institute for African and Diaspora Studies.
Prominent UNILAG alumni include:
- His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice President of Nigeria
- His Excellency Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, former Governor of Lagos
- Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology
- Omowunmi Sadiq, chemist and inventor, Binghamton University, USA
- Wale Adenuga, publisher and producer
- Wole Olanipekun, SAN, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association Dr Matilda Kerry-Osasuwa, Founder of the George Kerry Life Foundation
- Kunle Adeyemi, Director of NLÉ, Architecture, Design and Urbanism Company, Amsterdam
- Tony Oniemahi Elumelu, economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist
- John Momoh, Chairman, Channels TV Group
- Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, CNN Heroes Top 10 Award for 2018
- Oreifeoluwa Osanyinjobi, Country Manager, Superprof NG.
Ahmad Bello University (ABU), Zaria
Also founded in 1962, ABU is a public, non-profit higher learning institution located within the urban region of the large city of Zaria (population 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 inhabitants), Kaduna. Officially accredited and recognised by the National Commission of Universities, Nigeria, ABU is a large and mixed academic institution (enrollment range in the whole unit: 25,000 to 29,999 students).
The school offers courses and programmes that lead to officially recognised higher education diplomas, such as bachelor's degrees (certificates, diplomas, associate or undergraduate), masters and doctoral degrees in various fields of study.
This 56-year-old higher learning institution has an electoral admission policy based on entrance exams, college history and student grades. The admission rate varies from 90% to 100%, making this learning institution in Nigeria a less selective one.
University of Ilorin (UNILORIN)
UNILORIN is one of the best universities in Nigeria. The school is known to have registered its first series of 200 students on October 23, 1976, and academic work began on October 25, 1976.
UNILORIN currently has 15 faculties, including:
- Environmental sciences,
- Life sciences,
- Management Sciences,
- Physical sciences,
- Social Sciences,
- Communication and information sciences,
- Engineering and technology,
- Pharmaceutical sciences,
- Veterinary medicine and law;
- College of Health Sciences (with two faculties - basic medical and clinical sciences)
- Institute of Education and Unilorin Sugar Research Institute); and
- Postgraduate school.
In 2014, UNILORIN became the first university in Nigeria to be among the top 20 universities in Africa. It was ranked 20th in Africa and 1824th globally. In the same year, the school began growing a 10,000-hectare oil palm, which was a source of foreign currency upon completion.
University of Benin (UNIBEN)
UNIBEN was established in 1970 as a school to reduce illiteracy in the nation. First, it was an institute of technology before it received university status by the National University Commission (NUC) in 1971.
The University of Benin has faculties and departments that offer graduate and post-graduate certificates courses. Popularly known as UNIBEN, the University of Benin is one of the best-ranked institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.
It is known that UNIBEN appointed the first female Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria. This happened when Grace Allele-Williams was appointed from 1985 to 1991. The total number of students currently enrolled at the university is more than 40,000, including full-time and part-time students.
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
Formerly called the University of Ife, Obafemi Awolowo University was established in 1962. The university is one of the largest in Nigeria in terms of land area. It has an area of 11,862 hectares. Because of this area, the university has a central campus, a residential area for students, housing for staff, and a teaching and research farm.
OAU is another leading school that is ranked among the best academic institutions in Africa. The university is located in Osun state and is one of the most sought after schools in the country’s southwestern part. It welcomes a lot of applicants every year. Accredited by NUC, this school has several faculties and departments for various courses listed by JAMB for Nigerian students. In addition, they offer several programmes for both undergraduates and postgraduates.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the schools mentioned in this article are very competitive. Therefore, entry into them requires a lot of hard work on the part of students. At the end of the day, you will realize the hard work is really worth it because obtaining a degree from any of them may be advantageous in front of a potential employer. Some of these institutions operate with international standards and will help you boost your career in any field of your choice.
Also, it is important to note that before you can gain entry into any of these schools, you must meet certain requirements or qualifications. Some application requirements are unique and subject to the management of the school. However, certain requirements such as a minimum of five credit in English, maths, and any other subjects are common to most universities in Nigeria.