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How to get a University Degree in Nigeria

Updated on October 8, 2011

Bachelor's, Master's and PhD Degrees in Nigeria

This article is to inform the reader about potential degree courses in Nigeria and the Universities that award such degrees. Also, help the reader know the requirements for admission into any degree awarding institution in Nigeria as well as their prospects of employment after the completion of their courses.

Nigerian universities number over 170 nationwide and they can be classified into; Federal Government owned universities, state government owned and privately owned universities offering both full time and part time diploma and degree courses into various fields. But for this article we are going to talk squarely about degree courses and how to obtain them.


The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) is the regulatory institution in Nigeria responsible for granting licenses to universities to operate various courses in the country. As a result no Nigerian university runs a degree programme that they have not been accredited and authorized to run by the NUC and for that reason do not expect to run a course if it is not on NUC’s list of accredited degree courses. Nigerian Universities are the only institutions that offer degree courses, polytechnics and colleges of Education do not offer such and as a result not attending a university in Nigeria means you cannot obtain a degree. The various degrees awarded by Nigeria universities can be grouped into;

Undergraduate Degrees in Nigeria

These are degrees awarded for undergraduate courses in Nigerian universities. That is courses in which the candidate studies either part time or full time in Nigerian universities for a number of years (from 4 to 6 years depending on the discipline) leading to the award of Bachelor’s of Arts degree or Bachelor’s of Science Degree.

Bachelors of Arts Degrees (B.A)

These are awarded for the arts and humanities courses such as law, literature, History, International relations, fine art, philosophy, theology, and so on.

Bachelor’s of Sciences Degrees (

They are awarded for mostly the social science courses such as marketing, sociology, psychology, Agric science, geography, mass communication, architecture, quantity surveying and management among other courses.

Also worth mentioning are the degrees awarded for core sciences such as; Bachelors of Science in Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy and Medicine. Of course all Medicine and other closely related fields such as Dentistry and Optometry in which deserving graduands are awarded an MB.BS (bachelors of medicine and surgery).

Bachelors of Education (B.ED)

Equally most universities run Education based courses and award a Bachelors of Education degree in those courses and they include; guidance counseling, Education management, Chemistry Education, English Education and so on.

There are no degree courses at the moment offered for such fields as journalism, advertising, project management, entrepreneurship studies (except for covenant university), nuclear physics or Aeronautical engineering and other highly specialist disciplines.

Postgraduate Degrees

These are degrees that are awarded upon completion of undergraduate courses and admission for such course could depend on the institution and course. They could run from 2 to 10 years depending on the course and the level of degree being sought. The degrees awarded include;

Master of Arts (M.A)

Just like the Bachelor of Arts, the M.A is awarded after completion of a post graduate programme in any of the arts or humanities courses.

Master of Science (

They too are awarded for social science courses upon completion of their respective undergraduate courses.

Requirements for admission into degree courses in Nigeria

In order to gain admission into any of Nigeria’s Universities to pursue a degree program, here are the requirements;

1. Undergraduate/Bachelor’s Degree

  • 5 credit passes in WASSCE/NECO including Mathematics and English or 3 A level passes (including English)
  • UTME statement of result with a minimum cut of mark (depends on institution and course of study) obtained at UTME exams
  • Photocopies of credentials including school leaving certificate, birth certificate and letter of recommendation
  • Passport Photographs
  • Post UTME result slip

2. Postgraduate/Master’s Degree

  • Degree or HND Certificate or final statement of result
  • If applicant has HND, then a post graduate diploma is usually required as well
  • Photocopies of personal credentials including birth certificate, WASSCE/NECO results
  • Passports
  • Recommendation letters
  • Applicant must also pass entrance exams into his/her chosen course

3. Postgraduate/PhD

The requirements for awarding PhDs in Nigerian Universities varies widely and not all universities in award PhD in Nigeria but most federal universities do and the courses also vary. Some notable Nigerian universities that offer PhDs into various disciplines include; University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, University of Port Harcourt, University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University and University of Jos among other Universities.

Which Universities offer which courses?

The above mentioned Universities also offer Master’s Degrees courses but not for all fields. For instance only 4 Universities in Nigeria offer MBA courses as of 2010 and they are University of Lagos (Unilag), University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University and Pan African University. So to know more about the various Universities and the courses they offer both at undergraduate and post graduate levels you may need to visit the website of the respective Universities. For the undergraduate courses a JAMB UTME syllabus book can also be of help.

Employment Prospects with Nigerian Degrees

The Nigerian job market is already crowded and with the problem of stiff competition having a bachelor’s degree alone is not sufficient to get a plum job. These days additional industry relevant or professional certification increases one’s chances of becoming employed. But the story is quite different if you have a Master’s degree especially for a professional course such as an MBA. A master’s degree is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree plus 2 years work experience so that means having a master’s degree in addition to your or B.A will be an added advantage in the job market. But by far the best is having a PhD for which there are no unemployed holders in the market. With a PhD you are a certified expert in your field and no certified expert can be unemployed except if he chooses to be.


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      Donald 2 years ago

      Pls what is the exact requirements (subjects at O'level) to study philosophy in Nigerian University?

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      sorento onos 5 years ago

      Which of the universities will i get a direct master to without going through postgraduate diploma?

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      Tosin adeniyi 5 years ago

      Only God can help us in this country i mean why cant we just have a stable panel that can stabilise the school sector to benefit we masses i mean why? Why? Somebody help!!!

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      Daniel James Dalyop 5 years ago

      Why has admission into Nigeria Universities become issue of godfather?so poor will not live,school,work,eat.worst of all no employment no empowerment why?OH GOD HELP US!

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      Godwin Valentino 6 years ago

      This article has been really helpful but approximately how much would it take to run a postgraduate course at olabisi onabanjo university?


      Godwin E. Valentino



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