The University of Nairobi Postgraduate studies started with about 20 students in 1968. This has now grown to a population of more than 17,000 students and over 350 programmes being offered by different departments.


During the period when the University College Nairobi was a constituent College of the then University of East Africa before 1970, the main concern was the production of first degree graduates to meet basic manpower needs for the immediate post-independence period. Postgraduate education was not a priority from an institutional point of view.

Postgraduate education was planned and provided for from 1970 when the University of Nairobi was established as a national institution of higher learning. One of the main reasons for developing postgraduate training then was the need to produce potential university teachers who had always largely come from other countries. While in training, postgraduates provide a stimulus to their teachers due to the demand for advanced supervision of their research and training. They also make a major contribution to the teaching of undergraduates. Finally, the training they get locally provided was of a high standard, and had an advantage over overseas training in its relevance and immediate applicability to the local circumstances.

Postgraduate matters at the University of Nairobi were handled by a Committee of Senate known as the Postgraduate Studies Committee (PSC). At the time the postgraduate student population was not high. In 1970/1971 academic year, there were a total of 174 postgraduate students.


Following the establishment of the University of Nairobi by an act of parliament (University of Nairobi act of 1985), the Senate transformed the PSC to the Board of Postgraduate Studies (BPS) in 1985 under Statute XVI A section 24 which thereafter became Statute XXI following the repealing of the 1985 act in 2012 in line with the Universities Act 2012 (no.42) which was aligned to the constitution of Kenya 2010.

The statutory provision for the Board was that of a Faculty, Institute or School and in that capacity enjoyed all the rights and privileges, immunities and powers of the Statute. Under the stewardship of this Board, graduate programmes grew tremendously in diverse fields, including Medicine, Engineering, Business, Agriculture, Architecture, Biophysical Sciences, Law, Humanities, Information Technology and Education.

The Board of Postgraduate Studies (BPS) mandate was

  1. The coordination of postgraduate syllabuses and regulations
  2. The admission of postgraduate students
  3. The administration of postgraduate scholarships
  4. The administration of postgraduate research grants
  5. The administration and processing of Postgraduate thesis projects or research papers
  6. The proper conduct and supervision of the postgraduate studies and programmes
  7. The general welfare an discipline of postgraduate students



Discussion to establish the University Graduate School (UGS) was mooted in 2010 when the Board members of the Board of Postgraduate Studies (BPS) held a workshop to review its mandate and operations.  The proposed UGS would take over the functions of BPS.

The Graduate School took over the functions of BPS in 2017.The Graduate School has a status of a College within the University of Nairobi and was established in 2015 and operationalized in 2017 to co-ordinate graduate programmes at the University. The establishment of the Graduate School was within the University’s vision of becoming a world class university. World over all world class universities have strong graduate schools which is a hall mark of world classiness. The University of Nairobi postgraduate studies started with about 20 students in 1968. This has now grown to a population of more than 17,000 students which is about 22% of the total student population in the university.

The Graduate School mandate is;

  1. Formulation and regular review of regulations, policies and guidelines for graduate studies to ensure; quality and efficacy in graduate training; harmonious coordination graduate training among the internal and external key role players.
  2. Co-ordination of graduate syllabi and regulations; admission of graduate students; coordination of supervision of graduate programmes; and processing of graduate theses, projects and dissertations.
  3. Sourcing and administration of graduate scholarships and research grants.
  4. Ensuring general welfare and discipline of graduate students.
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