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Choosing the Best College or University in Kenya

Updated on March 12, 2022
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Fredrick is a webmaster and writer with a great passion for the education niche. He loves to write about the university education.

According to reliable data sources, the number of colleges and universities in Kenya quadrupled in the last 10 years. The country had less than 15 public and private universities in 2005, but today, statistics show that there are about 50 universities in the country.

When it comes to colleges, their number is huge. Every corner of a city or urban centre has one.

UoN entrance
UoN entrance | Source

With hundreds of colleges and universities in Kenya, you may find it difficult to choose the right one to do your course. So you need to do a good research before settling on your choice.

You should know that only a few (about a quarter) of these institutions of higher learning are offering quality education. There have been complaints of a good number of them lacking enough learning facilities, tutors & lecturers and other critical resources.

Who would like to go to a campus that has no qualified lecturers or tutors, or one that lacks basic facilities such as libraries, computer centres and laboratories? Definitely no one!

In this article, I am discussing all the categories of courses available in Kenya while pinpointing the best colleges and universities that offer them. Learn about the best private universities in Kenya offering marketable courses such as hospitality & tourism, medicine, IT, commerce and engineering. Learn also about the top registered colleges in kenya, both public and private ones.

In Brief, the Top 10 Public and Private Universities in Kenya

- Public

  • TUM
  • TUK
  • UoE
  • Maseno
  • Egerton
  • Moi
  • KU
  • UoN

- Private

  • Riara
  • KCA
  • PUEA
  • ANU
  • Daystar
  • CUEA
  • USIU
  • MKU
  • KeMU
  • Strathmore

The Secrets of Picking a College (and Getting In!) (Professors' Guide)
The Secrets of Picking a College (and Getting In!) (Professors' Guide)
This has been the most helpful guide when it comes to choosing colleges. I remember studying it carefully to be sure of my choice.

Business Studies

If you can afford to study in a private university, I would not advise you to do a business course in a public university in Kenya.

I have seen a class of more than 1500 being handled by one lecturer, something which is totally unacceptable in learning institutions! You know the consequences for such situations.

The best institutions for these studies remain to be:

  • Strathmore
  • Daystar
  • United States International (USIU)
  • Kenya Methodist (KeMU)
  • Mount Kenya (MKU)
  • Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)

Other universities you can consider include: KCA, Zetech, Africa Nazarene University and Presbyterian University of East Africa.

Popular business programs offered in these institutions include: commerce and its options, business administration or management, economics and business information technology.

There seem to be enough lecturers for business courses in Kenya, so if you find the big public universities being crowded you can always choose the newly-established public university colleges.

Health Sciences

There are about 5 institutions of higher learning that I can advise you to choose for your health-related course. The private universities and colleges do not have a strong ground here.

It is only the University of Nairobi (UoN) and Moi University that offer reliable health studies. They have the resources needed to train students undertaking medical programs.

A medical training institute should be affiliated to a hospital where its students can practise. The two universities are affiliated to Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital respectively.

Other universities that you can consider include: Maseno and Kenyatta University (KU).

For medical diploma and certificate courses, look no further than the Kenya Medical Training Colleges which are run by the government. The private colleges may not be trusted with medical studies.

The common health courses in Kenya include: medicine & surgery, nursing, medical laboratory, biochemistry, human anatomy, medical physiology, medical microbiology, pharmacy, dental surgery and biomedical engineering.

Technical Courses

Like the health field, there are only a handful of universities and colleges that offer quality technical education in Kenya.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT) and UoN are the leading institutions in this field. They have the teaching staff, workshops and laboratories needed to produce all-rounded graduate engineers, architects and other technical professionals.

Other universities that offer technical education include: Moi, Egerton, Maseno, Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology (MMUST), KU and Dedan Kimanthi (DeKUT).

If you want to do a technical diploma or certificate course, I would advise you to go for either Technical University of Kenya (TUK) or Technical University of Mombasa (TUM). The two institutions were originally polytechnics. There are also other good technical colleges spread across the country.

The private institutions do not have laboratories or workshops, which are needed for practical work, so I would not advise you to choose them.

The technical courses offered in Kenya include: engineering (electrical, civil, mechanical, manufacturing, agricultural, environmental, biosystems, structural, production, mechatronics, biomechanical, electronics, telecommunication, aeronautical, petroleum, soil, water & geospatial), architecture and quantity surveying.

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You
College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You
This is another guide I would recommend. It analyzes how study fields have changed recently to help you make the most appropriate choice.

Biological and Physical Sciences

There are many universities and colleges that offer science programs in Kenya, but not all of them maintain the quality and standards needed in this field.

I would advise you to choose the public institutions over the private ones. Kenya has limited science lecturers and tutors, and therefore not all institutions have enough of them to train their students.

In addition to the 7 older campuses, other universities that seem to be good in science courses include:

  • University of Eldoret
  • Multimedia
  • South Eastern Kenya (SEKU)
  • TUK
  • TUM

Science is a broad field. Some popular programs include: geology, meteorology, mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, geosciences (petroleum & environmental), chemistry (environmental, analytical and industrial), astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, biotechnology, microbiology, science general, natural resource management, environmental conservation, atmospheric science and astrophysics.

Arts and Humanities

There are some arts and humanities courses that I would encourage you to do in public universities and others in private universities.

For example, if you want to study law in Kenya, go to UoN or Moi. And if you want to enjoy quality journalism education or media studies, you may have to consider private institutions, such as Daystar and Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

Most arts and humanities courses in public institutions are usually crowded, something which compromises the quality of education. So, if you can afford the private campuses, it is advisable to choose them.

More arts and humanities courses offered in the country include: anthropology, gender & development, language studies, international studies, literature, performing arts, psychology, project management, social work, sociology, criminology and theology.

The best institutions to do theology include:

  • St. Paul's
  • Africa International
  • Scott Christian
  • KeMU
  • Nairobi International School of Theology
  • East Africa School of Theology

choose between public & private institutions of higher learning kenya
choose between public & private institutions of higher learning kenya | Source

Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences

If you want to study agriculture or veterinary sciences in Kenya, you would not find it difficult to choose a good institution that offers these courses. Almost all the older campuses offer agriculture courses.

UoN and Egerton are the only institutions that offer veterinary medicine. For diploma and certificate courses, I would advise you to go for the government institutions.

The common courses in this field include: agriculture, food science, agricultural education & extension (highly marketable today), agribusiness management, nutrition & dietetics, agricultural economics, range management, wildlife management & conservation, fisheries & aquaculture management, agroecosystems & environment management, horticulture, bio-medical technology and veterinary medicine.

Computing and Informatics

For an institution to offer these courses, it must have a well equipped computer laboratory or ICT center and qualified lecturers and tutors.

The leading private universities and colleges in Kenya have these resources, so you can choose them if you can afford their fees. Some of these institutions include: Daystar, Strathmore, KeMu, MKU, CUEA and USIU.

There are also a good number of public universities that offer computing and informatics studies, especially the most established ones. So, do not limit your search to the private ones when looking for best computer and IT colleges in Kenya.

The courses offered in this field include: computer science, information technology and computer information systems.

There are many colleges in the cities offering diploma and certificate courses in computer studies, but you have to be very careful when choosing them. Some of them offer very low quality education.

The well established campuses also offer diploma and certificate courses, so you can choose them over the less reputable, town-based institutions.

Tourism and Hospitality Courses

Tourism & hospitality is one of the sectors that have a say in the Kenyan economy. So you can expect to come across many institutions offering courses that relates to this field.

The best universities to do tourism and hospitality include:

  • KU
  • Moi
  • Strathmore
  • MKU
  • Kisii
  • Maasai Mara

A notable college that offers courses in this sector is the Kenya Utalii College.

The most marketable programs in this field include: hospitality management, travel and tourism management, event management, hotel management and ecotourism management.

Teaching Courses

When it comes to education courses, I would recommend all the public universities. Training teachers doesn’t require a lot of resources, especially the arts ones. So, most campuses can afford to offer education programs.

KU is the most outstanding institution for teaching courses. The other 6 older universities also offer quality teaching education. In addition, the newly established universities are good in this field.

For diploma and certificate courses (P1) in teaching, I would advise you to go for the government institutions such as the Kenya Teachers Training Colleges.

The common teaching programs in Kenya include: education arts, education science, education ICT, physical education, project planning & management, education computer science and early childhood education.

Some of these courses are offered under the distance learning module.

KU entrance
KU entrance | Source


Hope now you can choose the best university or college to do your course in Kenya. Do not be swayed away by institutions that offer their courses in noisy city buildings, unless you want to buy a certificate from them.

Join a reputable campus and get high quality education.

Wishing you all the best in your education endeavors.

Which of the following would you consider most when choosing the best college or university to do your course in Kenya?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Fredrick JS


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