Top 10 Federal Universities in Nigeria 2023

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Top 10 Federal Universities in Nigeria
Omolola Akinyemi
Written by Omolola Akinyemi
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A glorious salute to all patriotic Nigerian students, who believe our educational system can still be transformed to deliver a greater Nigeria in the nearest future. It is very attainable. The education sector in Nigeria has both flourished and regressed in somewhat different directions across several decades. In terms of multiplicity and volume, the number of schools right from nursery level up to the tertiary institutions, including universities (both private and public) have enormously increased to accommodate a teaming population of students. In fact, it is widely believed that there are far more Nigerian youths of school age out of school than those admitted into schools within the nation.

And not ignoring the well-known fact that so many government-owned Nigerian schools including primary and secondary schools, federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of technology, and colleges of education are actually underfunded and under-equipped – lacking much-needed modern learning facilities. Teachers in large numbers attest to working harder than their pay, and the various curricula of these schools need a pragmatic touch that will get students ready for the modern workplace. All this in the face of a huge population of youths – one of the largest in the world. These drawbacks have fueled the emergence of numerous private learning institutions, including private universities, in an attempt to provide what is missing in the government schools – though we know it is at a significantly higher cost to Nigerian parents and their wards. Nevertheless, there is still hope.

Also Read- Top 10 Best Universities in Nigeria: 2023 Rankings

Statsistics- Best Universities in Nigeria

It has been observed over the years, that the learned community supervising certain federal universities and other tertiary institutions in Nigeria have not abandoned their quest to invest quality education in their graduates, and impact on the positive growth of the nation. We make reference to statistics on the Times Higher Education (THE) website – which has garnered a global reputation for careful assessment of the quality of research, teaching, learning and local/global impact of universities across the world each passing year. As at October 2022, the THE site indicated that out of an estimated 130 functioning tertiary institutions in Nigeria, just six Nigerian universities stood out in a prominent place in its global rankings of 2023; five of them are federal universities.

However, according to the Chairman of the Nigerian Universities Ranking Advisory Committee, Professor Peter Okebukola – who also doubles as a member of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings Advisory Board, 12 Nigerian universities performed quite impressively overall compared to previous years as at October 2022. And a total of 48 Nigerian universities were featured amongst the best in terms of quality of subjects/courses offered. These courses were eleven in number, namely Law, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Education, Business and Economics, Computer science, Clinical and Health, Engineering, Life Sciences, Physical Science, and Psychology.

Law: Rankings

  1. University of Nigeria Nsukka=251+

Social Sciences: 

  1. Covenant University: 251-300
  2. University of Lagos: 401-500
  3. University of Ibadan: 601-800
  4. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 601-800
  5. University of Ilorin: 801+
  6. Obafemi Awolowo University: 801+
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Arts and Humanities: Rankings

  1. University of Nigeria Nsukka=601+

Education: Rankings

  1. University of Ibadan: 501-600
  2. University of Nigeria Nsukka=501-600
  3. Business and Economics
  4. Covenant University: 401-500
  5. University of Lagos: 501-600
  6. Obafemi Awolowo University: 601-800
  7. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 801+

Computer Science: Rankings

  1. Covenant University: 401-500

Engineering: Rankings

  1. Covenant University: 401-500
  2. Federal University of Technology Akure: 601-800
  3. University of Ilorin: 601-800
  4. University of Ibadan: 1000+
  5. University of Lagos: 1000+
  6. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 1000+
  7. Obafemi Awolowo University: 1000+

Clinical and Health: Rankings

  1. University of Lagos: 151-175
  2. University of Ibadan: 201-250
  3. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 501-600
  4. Bayero University Kano: 601-800
  5. University of Benin: 601-800
  6. Obafemi Awolowo University: 601-800
  7. University of Ilorin: 801+
  8. Nnamdi Azikiwe University=801+

Life Sciences: Rankings

  1. University of Ilorin=601-800
  2. Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta: 801-1000
  3. Federal University of Technology Akure: 801-1000
  4. University of Ibadan: 801-1000
  5. University of Lagos: 801-1000
  6. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 801-1000
  7. Obafemi Awolowo University: 801-1000

Physical Sciences: Rankings

  1. Covenant University: 401-500
  2. Federal University of Technology Akure: 501-600
  3. University of Ilorin: 501-600
  4. Bayero University Kano: 601-800
  5. Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta: 801-1000
  6. University of Lagos: 801-1000
  7. University of Ibadan: 1000+
  8. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 1000+
  9. Obafemi Awolowo University: 1000+

Psychology: Rankings

  1. University of Nigeria Nsukka: 301-400

From the foregoing, it is clear that ten federal universities in Nigeria stood out prominently in the Times Higher Education University Rankings of 2022/23 academic period. We present to you the 10 best federal universities in Nigeria currently, and in no particular order:

  • University of Ibadan
  • University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba
  • University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • University of Ilorin
  • Bayero University, Kano
  • University of Benin
  • Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
  • Federal University of Technology Akure
  • Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta

Some hints at the history and structure of these universities may prove useful to students who aspire to study in any of these federal universities.

University of Ibadan

The oldest university in Nigeria, University of Ibadan (UI) was established in Ibadan, Oyo state in 1948 as a College extension of the University of London. It became an independent institution, a full university in 1962. At present, University of Ibadan runs both undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes in sixteen faculties namely Education, Law, Economics, Science, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Public Health, Dentistry, Renewable Natural Resources, Social Sciences, Pharmacy, Arts, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Technology, and Environmental Design & Management.

University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba

University of Lagos (UNILAG), a federal university seen by many as ahead of its peers, was established in 1962. Presently, it hosts its students in three campuses (Akoka & Herbert Macaulay areas of Yaba, as well as Idi-Araba in Surulere). The school presently has twelve Faculties: Education, Arts, Business Administration, Basic Clinical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Dental Sciences, Science, Environmental Sciences, Pharmacy, Social Sciences, Engineering, and Law. It has a bouquet of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate degree courses that cut across virtually all the faculties, as well as the Distance Learning Institute (DLI) to cater for off-campus students or distant learners offering Business Administration, Science Education, Library/Information Sciences, and Accounting.

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University of Nigeria, Nsukka

University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) was founded in 1955 in present-day Enugu state and presently has four campuses in Nsukka, Enugu, Ituku-Ozalla, and Aba. It boasts of fifteen academic faculties: Agriculture, Arts, Biological Sciences, Health Sciences, Dentistry/Dental Surgery, Education, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Environmental Studies, Veterinary Medicine, and Law.

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Established in 1961, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) commenced operation in Ibadan and was later moved to Ile-Ife. OAU now runs both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, has thirteen faculties, a college of Health Sciences, a college of education, a Postgraduate College, several institutes, research centers and training centers..

University of Ilorin

University of Ilorin was founded in Ilorin, Kwara state in 1975 as a university college affiliated to the University of Ibadan and became a full-fledged university in the year 1977. UNILORIN reportedly has one of the most extensive land masses of all the higher institutions in Nigeria. Today, the federal institution boasts of fifteen Faculties (Arts, Agriculture, Life Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Communication and Information Sciences, Management Sciences, Social Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Sciences, Education, Engineering & Technology, and Law), two institutes, a post-graduate school, several centers of learning, and a business school.

Bayero University, Kano

Set up in 1960, Bayero University started out as Ahmadu Bello College on the premises of the School of Arabic Studies located in Kano. It was renamed twice and its location moved twice also. Ahmadu Bello College finally became an independent Bayero University in 1977 based in the western part of Kano. It now houses eleven faculties (Arts and Islamic Studies, Agricultural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, Management Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science & Information Technology, Communication, Education, Law),, two colleges of science (College of Health Science, and College of Natural & pharmaceutical Sciences), several research centers and institutes.

University of Benin 

University of Benin (UNIBEN) which started out as an institute of technology, came into existence in 1970. Presently it has two campuses, fifteen faculties, a large university teaching hospital, a college of Medicine, a large central library, and twelve faculty libraries. It is reputed to be among the leading public research universities in Nigeria today.

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka

Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) is the offspring of the now defunct Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH) which was established in 1980. ASUTECH was split into two as a result of the dividing of old Anambra state into Anambra and Enugu states. Subsequently the Awka and Nnewi campuses of ASUTECH were merged together in 1991, and it became a federal university in 1992. The federal school now has four campuses – a main campus in Awka, one in Nnewi, one in Agulu, and one in Ifite-Ogwuari, all in Anambra state. In all, UNIZIK has fourteen faculties: Biosciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences & Technology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, Social Sciences, Management Sciences, Law, Arts, and Education. It has a main university library in Awka supported by smaller libraries on all its campuses, including a medical library.

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Federal University of Technology Akure

Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) was set up in 1981 in Akure, Ondo state. It offers practical and technology-based training in both pre-degree, short-term, and advanced basic science courses in science and technology fields that cut across nine schools (Life Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Basic Clinical Sciences, Computing, Environmental Technology, Earth & Mineral Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering & Engineering Technology, Logistics & innovation Technology, Agriculture & Agricultural Technology, Postgraduate Studies) and a college of Medicine. It also boasts of a large central library.

Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta

The Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) was formally created in 1988, where it began its journey on the grounds of Abeokuta Grammar School. It of the three federal universities of agriculture in Nigeria. At the inception, it was set up as University of Technology Abeokuta in 1983. Then it got a change of name into College of Science and Technology Abeokuta in 1984, during which it was merged with the University of Lagos. By 1988, it received full status as an autonomous university of agriculture.

It finally moved in 1997 to its permanent site on the Abeokuta-Ibadan road in Ogun state. Today the federal university is a public research university with ten colleges: Food Science & Human Ecology, Agricultural Management & Rural Development, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Plant Science & Crop Production, Animal Sciences & Livestock Production, Environmental Resource Management, Engineering, and Management Sciences. It offers courses that cut across graduate, postgraduate, Masters and Ph.D. programmes. It also boasts of a 1000-capacity central library, several institutes, research centres, resource centers, Distance Learning center, and a zoo park.




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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.