Makerere University

Makerere University, Kampala (/məˈkɛrəri/ ;[6] Mak) is Uganda's largest and oldest institution of higher learning, first established as a technical school in 1922. It became an independent national university in 1970. Today, Makerere University is composed of nine colleges and one school offering programmes for about 36,000 undergraduates and 4,000 postgraduate. The main administrative block recently was gutted by fire in September of 2020 and the cause of the fire is yet to be established

Makerere University
Ssetendekero Makerere.jpg
The Main Administration block for Makerere University, normally called the Main Building
MottoWe build for the future
ChancellorEzra Suruma[1]
Vice-ChancellorBarnabas Nawangwe[2][3]
Administrative staff
3,174 (2018)[4]
Students35,000+ (2018)[5]
00°20′06″N 32°34′03″E / 0.33500°N 32.56750°E / 0.33500; 32.56750Coordinates: 00°20′06″N 32°34′03″E / 0.33500°N 32.56750°E / 0.33500; 32.56750
Makerere University is located in Kampala
Makerere University
Location in Kampala

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Makerere University as the eighth best university in Africa and the 569th best university worldwide.[7] In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report ranking, Makerere is the highest-ranked university in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.[8] The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2016 ranked it as the fourth best university in Africa.[9]

Makerere University was alma mater to many post-independence African leaders, including Ugandan president Milton Obote and Tanzanian presidents Julius Nyerere and Benjamin Mkapa. The former president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, and Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki are also Makerere alumni.

In the years immediately after Uganda's independence, Makerere University was a focal point for the literary activity that was central to African nationalist culture. Many prominent writers, including Nuruddin Farah, Ali Mazrui, David Rubadiri, Okello Oculi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, John Ruganda, Paul Theroux, Nobel Prize laureate V. S. Naipaul, and Peter Nazareth, were at Makerere University at one point in their writing and academic careers.

Because of student unrest and faculty disenchantment, the university was closed three times between 2006 and 2016. The final time was on 1 November 2016 when President Yoweri Museveni declared it closed indefinitely.[10] The university was reopened in January 2017.[11]


Department of Chemistry, CONAS 2018; Taken by: Gyagenda Marvin Paul
Faculty of Information Technology Building, Makerere University

Founding of the technical schoolEdit

The trade school that became Makerere University began operating in 1921 with the first classes in carpentry, building construction and mechanics.[12] In 1922 it was founded as the "Uganda Technical College" with additional courses in the arts, education, agriculture and medicine.[12][13] That same year it was again renamed as Makerere College.[12] In 1928, the vocational classes were separated from the college and renamed Kampala Technical School.[12] In 1937 the college began offering post-secondary education certificate courses.[13]


In 1943, the British Protectorate government proposed the university, which led to a controversial struggle. It was described as "a plot to steal African soil for European settlement," by the Bataka Party. In response to this campaign, there was rioting in the capital of Kampala.[14]

In 1949 Makerere College was granted university status and its name became Makerere College, University of East Africa.[15] In the same year, the Bataka Party had been banned by the British Protectorate government, because of acts of riot and arson committed after a Bataka protest gathering.[16]

Unrest in the 2000sEdit

The university was closed three times between 2006 and 2016.[17]

Beginning on 1 August 2016, the non-teaching staff went on strike demanding their back pay. The strike lasted three weeks and the government agreed to pay them by the end of October; however, the government failed to do so.[18] This was but one more broken promise in the cycle of failed promises, strikes and more promises.[17] That strike was followed by a strike of the lecturers over unpaid incentive pay, and that strike was joined by students in solidarity. This led to President Yoweri Museveni closing the university "indefinitely".[17] Additional protests, including from parents whose children were left hanging in mid-semester, led to Museveni appointing a special commission to try to rectify the situation but with no promises of reopening. The commission's report is due in late February 2017.[10]

On the 20th of September, 2020, the main building of Makerere University ( the Ivory Tower) was burnt up in flames[19] allegedly following a probe by Uganda Parliament into a 26 Billion embezzlement by university authorities.[citation needed]

Rankings and reputationEdit

University rankings
Global – Overall
CWUR World[20]923 (2020-2021)
CWTS World[21]1159 (2020)
QS World[22]1001+ (2021)
THE World[23]401–500 (2021)
USNWR Global[24]=631 (2021)
Regional – Overall
THE Africa[25]=5 (2021)
USNWR Africa[26]14 (2021)
National – Overall
CWTS National[21]1 (2020)
CWUR National[20]1 (2020-21)
THE National[23]1 (2021)


The University Council is the supreme governing body of the university while Senate is the chief academic organ of the University.

Subcommittees of the University CouncilEdit

  • Appointments Board [27]
  • Finance, Planning and Administration[28]
  • Quality Assurance, Gender and ICT[29]
  • Estates and Works[30]
  • Staff Development, Welfare and Retirement Benefits[31]
  • Students Affairs and Disciplinary[32]
  • Honorary Awards[33]
  • Audit[34]

Academic unitsEdit



Affiliated institutionsEdit

Notable former and current faculty administratorsEdit

Other academicsEdit

Notable alumniEdit

Political figures and government employeesEdit

Film, Television and RadioEdit


Writers and journalistsEdit


  • James Gita Hakim, professor of medicine, cardiologist and HIV clinical trialist
  • Robert Kezaala, physician, Senior Health Advisor at UNICEF
  • Matthew Lukwiya, physician in Gulu during the 2000 Ebola outbreak
  • Kihembo Moses, Wildlife Biologist and Environmentalist
  • Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu, psychiatrist and epidemiologist
  • Edward Otim Ojuka, Associate Professor at University of Cape Town. Researcher in exercise Physiology and Diabetology.
  • Dr. Nicodemus Banagaaya, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Software Engineer, Author.
  • David Duli, Ugandan forester who serves as the country director at WWF UCO, a position he has held since 2001.


Halls of residenceEdit

As of September 2015, the halls of residence at Makerere University included the following:[45]

For menEdit

  • Livingstone Hall
  • Lumumba Hall
  • Mitchell Hall
  • Nkrumah Hall
  • Nsibirwa Hall
  • University Hall

For womenEdit

  • Africa Hall
  • Mary Stuart Hall
  • Complex Hall

For students of medicine in their final yearsEdit

  • Galloway House

Postgraduate HallEdit

  • Dag Hammarskjöld Hostel

Upcountry campusesEdit

In January 2010, the university announced the opening of two new campuses, one in the city of Fort Portal, approximately 310 kilometres (190 mi), by road, west of Kampala, and another one in the city of Jinja, approximately 85 kilometres (53 mi), by road, east of Kampala. The following courses will be offered at the upcountry campuses:[46]

Eastern Campus, JinjaEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ahimbisibwe, Patience (18 January 2016). "Dr. Suruma Installed Makerere Chancellor". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  2. ^ Mukhaye, Damali (25 August 2017). "Prof Nawangwe confirmed Makerere University Vice Chancellor". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  3. ^ Tuhereze, Elias (15 September 2017). "New Makerere University Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe Installed". Ms Jane Anyango, Communication Officer and Ms Ritah Namisango, SPRO. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  4. ^ Mukhaye, Damali (1 January 2018). "Makerere probe discovers 16,000 ghost students". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ Wandera, Derrick (6 April 2018). "Makerere enrolment reduces by 15,000". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  6. ^ Peter Roach, Jane Setter, John Esling, eds., Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2011; ISBN 0521765757), p. 302.
  7. ^ Editor, Juliette Namakula | Assistant (2020-06-03). "FULL LIST: Makerere University now ranked eighth best in Africa". Education News Uganda. Retrieved 2020-06-30.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Best Global Universities in Africa". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b "Statement: Makerere Visitation Committee lists responsibilities". Uganda Journalists' Resource Centre, The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME). 22 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Makerere reopens to empty lecture rooms". New Vision. 2 January 2017. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d Uganda. Public Service Review and Re-organization Commission (1990). Public Service Review and Reorganisation Commission, 1989-1990, Volume 1. Kampala, Uganda: Uganda. Ministry of Public Service and Cabinet Affairs. p. 272. OCLC 32432462.
  13. ^ a b "Annotated History of Makerere University 1922–2012". 90 Years of Makerere University. Makerere University. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014.
  14. ^ A. J. Hughes (1969). "Buganda Troubles in the 1940s". East Africa (Revised ed.). Pengiun Books. p. 157.
  15. ^ Byaruhanga, Frederick K. (2013). Student Power in Africa's Higher Education: A Case of Makerere University (second ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis (Routledge). p. 20. ISBN 978-1-135-51448-8., originally published in 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-97746-3
  16. ^ A. J. Hughes (1969). "Buganda Troubles in the 1940s". East Africa (Revised ed.). Pengiun Books. p. 158.
  17. ^ a b c Barungi. Andrew (21 November 2016). "Makerere University is closed. Now what?". Uganda Journalists' Resource Centre, The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME). Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  18. ^ Tusiime, Christopher (30 November 2016). "Non-teaching staff in public universities to go on strike". Campus Bee. Makerere University. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Uganda Makerere University fire: 'Ivory Tower' gutted". BBC News. 2020-09-20. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  20. ^ a b "Center for World University Rankings 2020-2021". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  21. ^ a b "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  22. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  23. ^ a b "World University Rankings". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  24. ^ U.S. News. "Best Global Universities in Uganda". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  25. ^ "Best universities in Africa - 2021". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  26. ^ U.S. News. "2021 Best Global Universities in Africa". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  27. ^ "Makerere University Governance: Appointments Board". Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Finance, Planning and Administration". Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Quality Assurance, Gender and ICT Sub Committee". Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Estates and Works". Retrieved 13 September 2012.[dead link]
  31. ^ "Staff Development, Welfare and Retirement Benefits". Archived from the original on 22 December 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  32. ^ "Students Affairs and Disciplinary Sub Committee". Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  33. ^ "Honorary Awards Sub Committee". Archived from the original on 22 December 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  34. ^ "Audit Sub Committee". Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  35. ^ "New Makerere University Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe Installed". Makerere University News Portal. 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  36. ^ "Nawangwe elected Makerere Vice Chancellor". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  37. ^ "Celebrating Ngugi wa Thiong'o at 70". African-Writing Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  38. ^
  39. ^ Philimon Badagawa (18 September 2017). "Prof. William Bazeyo takes over as Makerere university Deputy Vice Chancellor". Kampala: Campus Times Uganda. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  40. ^ "Special Sitting of the Supreme Court of Belize". Press Office of the Government of Belize. 28 March 2001. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  41. ^ Ainebyoona, Emmanuel (15 February 2015). "Makerere Gets Mwai Kibaki Presidential Library". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  42. ^ Kyemba, Henry. A State of Blood, p. 21
  43. ^ "Looking back on Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi's illustrious career". NTV Uganda. 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-04-10. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  44. ^ Business Daily Africa (2017). "Top 40 Women Under 40 in Kenya" (PDF). Nairobi: Nation Media Group. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  45. ^ Grace Kenganzi, and Rose Rukundo (20 February 2014). "The stories behind Makerere University halls of residence". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  46. ^ Haywood, Katherine (5 January 2010). "Makerere VC Rolls Out 2010 Plan for Varsity". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 30 January 2015.

External linksEdit