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National University of Rwanda (NUR)
Butare, Rwanda


University description (as per official university website)

The National University of Rwanda (NUR) is a Rwanda’s state university, founded in November 1963 as an institution of higher learning, with a mission to provide higher education, conduct research, and offer services to the community.

It is the oldest and largest University in the country. The University is located in the Southern Province, 150 km south of the capital city of Kigali. It was the only publicly funded university until the 1990’s. Before the 1994 war and genocide, it had three campuses in Butare, Kigali and Ruhengeri.

After 1994, because of resource constraints, the three campuses merged into one campus in Butare. The University was closed during the genocide and reopened in March 1995. Since the reopening of NUR in 1995, 8,747 students have graduated from NUR. With over 10, 000 students registered this year, NUR has over one third (1/3) of the total student population in all the higher education institutions in Rwanda.

NUR is currently having 7 Faculties, 2 Schools and 6 Centers. NUR has also 10 Postgraduate Programs. The medium of teaching and learning is English. The current staff in numbers: 935 (Academic, Administrative and Technical).


• November 3, 1963: Official opening of NUR

• May 12, 1964: Law establishing the NUR

• 1966: The National Institute of Education was created thanks to the UNDP and UNESCO: The Institute aimed at training and improving elementary secondary school teachers’ skills. It also aimed at implementing multidisciplinary pedagogical research.

• 1967: Creation of the University Extension as a unit with the mission to reflect NUR by its services to the people

• 1972: Creation of a research centre on pharmacopoeia and traditional medicine (CUPHARMETRA) in the Faculty of medicine. This became an autonomous body since 1980.

• May 1973: NUR, in conjunction with the Ghent Faculty of Applied Sciences put up a progressive training program for civil engineers specialized in building and set up a fore-project program in electro mechanic engineering.

• October 1973: The University of Instelling Antwerpen contributed in the opening of the Faculty of Law.

• 1974: A centre for study and experimentation of energy in Rwanda was created within the Faculty of Sciences. It became autonomous since 1977.

• June 13, 1979: The Faculty of Agronomy, which was a department in the Faculty of Science, was created.

• October 1, 1981: NUR and the NIE (National Institute of Education) were merged. Since then, the National University of Rwanda had two campuses: one at Ruhengeri and another at Butare. A few years later, the Faculty of Law shifted to Mburabuturo (Kigali).

• November 1988: Celebration of the 25th anniversary of NUR. Official opening of the Institute of Public Administration (ISAP), born of NUR and Konrad Adanauer Foundation (FKA) cooperation

• April-July 1994: The University community lost a good number of its staff and students who were killed during the war and genocide. They were victims of their ideology or ethnic identity. The University suffered a great loss: laboratory equipment, the computer equipment and academic infrastructure were destroyed or taken away. NUR was closed because of the prevailing war in the country, those who were not killed had to hide themselves, and others fled in exile.

• January 1995: The campus of Ruhengeri and the Kigali Faculty of Law shifted and become part of the campus of Butare.

• April 1995: Reopening of NUR. The main change was that all the faculties and schools were regrouped in Butare Campus for security reasons first and then for administrative reasons. The beginnings are not easy but the government decided the smooth running of NUR at all costs. The Campus that was supposed to cater for 1,600 students now lodged more than 4,500. NUR took off smoothly but surely despite the wounds to dress, the buildings to repair and English became a new language of teaching.

• April 2, 1996: Creation of the School of Information Sciences and Techniques (ESTI)

• 1997: A preliminary year of language learning (French and English) is established for all UNR beginners.

• 1998: Creation of a doctorate level at the Faculty of Medicine

• June 15, 1998: Creation of the Research Commission

• End of 1998: The merging of the Faculty of Sciences and that of Applied Sciences to form the Faculty of Sciences and Technology.

• 1999: Creation of the Centre for Conflict Management

• November 27, 1999: The University League against Aids (LUCS) was created

• December 1999: Creation of the University Centre for Arts. Its mission was to dynamise arts and culture, in order to bring its contribution to the strategies of reconciliation, peace and national unity. Moreover, it would promote the international extension of Rwandan culture.

• April 2000: The School of Health was created

• August 2000: The School of Information Sciences and Techniques (ESTI) became the School of Journalism and Communication. The programme changed to answer more efficiently to the needs of the country.

• November 3, 2002: The NUR Alumni was created

• October 10, 2005: The official re-launching of post-graduate studies in the Faculty of Medicine

• November 18, 2005: “Radio Salus”, the NUR Radio was officially launched

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