Top 20 Best Universities in Nigeria (2021 NUC Rankings)

There are over 150 registered and NUC accredited universities in Nigeria. So if you’ll be writing JAMB next year, this article on the top 20 best universities in Nigeria should be your guide.

Best Universities in Nigeria Today

Without any scintilla of favoritism, this list of the best universities in Nigeria is based on the National University Council (NUC) latest ranking. And they are as follow:

Best Universities in Nigeria 2021

  1. University of Ibadan

The 2021 NUC ranking placed the University of Ibadan as the overall best university in Nigeria as it also featured in the 2021 “The Reuters Top 100 best universities in the world.”

University of Ibadan was formerly called The Premier University, being the first university college in Nigeria. Over the years, the school had produced many outstanding and prominent figures in the field of Law and Medicine.

Among many other things, University of Ibadan as the overall best university in Nigeria is a position well deserved.

  1. University of Nigeria, Nsukka

The second on the list of the top 20 best universities in Nigeria according to the latest NUC ranking is the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

UNN was equally the first autonomous university in Nigeria. It was founded in December, 1960 and it have 15 recognised faculties plus 102 departments under it care.

Some notable alumni of this university include; Godwin Emefiele, Charles Soludo, Herbert Wigwe, Dora Akunyili among others.

  1. University of Lagos, Akoka

Undoubtedly, University of Lagos is one of the most popular higher institution of learning in Nigeria and it’s equally one of those schools every aspiring student always dream about.

What’s more, UNILAG run one of the best and qualitative Distance Learning program that features courses like MBA, Accounting, Social Education, Business Administration, etc.

The school is well coordinate and its academic calendar meet that of international standard.

  1. Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU

Obafemi Awolowo University was formerly known as the University of Ife, and it was established in 1962. This university has the largest land mass in the country.

Obafemi Awolowo University is one of the most recognised universities in Africa, no wonder that school has made The Reuter Top 100 Universities in the World on several occasions.

That being said, OAU is fondly called “Oba Awon University” (i.e. King of all varsities) by its students and this often create brouhaha between them and the UI (University of Ibadan) students.

However, before you can be considered for admission in this University, you must have attained 200+ in JAMB. Thus, OAU making the top 5 list on the best universities in Nigeria didn’t come as a surprise.

  1. Covenant University

Covenant University is a for-profit university in Nigeria owned by a private body. Being the 5th on the NUC list, Covenant University is the overall best private university in Nigeria.

The school was flagged off after it was accredited in 2002 by the NUC. Ever since then, Covenant University has been riding on the core-values it was built upon.

Despite that it’s private and its students are paying millions as tuition, the University Management make it worthwhile to inculcate moral and discipline in their students.

  1. Ahmadu Bello University, ABU

ABU Zaria is another top university in Nigeria that has produced several prominent personalities in the society. Many Nigeria head of state, Governors, Senators etc. finished from this school.

No wonder that the school slogan is “Naturally ahead.”

ABU was established in 1962 in the northern part of the country. As of today, there are 15 faculties in school with their faculty of law boosting as one of the best in the country.

Ahmadu Bello University as the 6th best universities in Nigeria is indeed on merit with the school having the highest numbers of (lecturing) Professors (500+) in Nigeria.

  1. Federal University of Technology, Minna

The Federal University of Technology, Minna is one of the new comers on the top 10 list of the best universities in Nigeria according to NUC list.

Futminna was founded in 1983 in Minna, Niger State capital and it main goals and objective was to facilitate quality education in Science, Engineering and Technology.

The Federal University of Technology, Minna also have numerous state of the art technological instruments and the school is as well having one the largest land mass.

Lastly, Futminna have produced many students that are doing great in the country in term of science and technology advancement.

  1. University of Ilorin, UNILORIN

The most sought after University in Nigeria is the University of Ilorin and it’s popularly known as the”Better by Far” university.

Unilorin had once made the top 20 cut on the list of the best universities in Africa and the best in Nigeria in 2014. But toda, it is placed at no. 8th on the list of the top universities in the country.

Similarly, before the school reconcile with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Unilorin has the best academic calendar in the country.

And such is one of the reasons why candidates prefer choosing it as their first choice when filling out their JAMB form.

  1. University of Benin

Another top university in Nigeria that is offering quality education to its students in the country is University of Benin.

The school was the first to appoint a female vice-Chancellor, Dr. Grace Alele-Williams in whole of Nigeria.

In addition, UNIBEN had partnered with many world class universities and international bodies like USAID, UNCF, Ford Foundation and the likes.

  1. University of Abuja

The University of Abuja is another university that saw its figure rised up to the top ten best universities in the country.

Ever since the establishment of the school in 1990, UNIABUJA had produced many graduates that are making the school proud both at home and abroad.

Moreover, the University of Abuja has one of the best Medical School in the country with their Medical Centre full of modern and state-of-the-art facilities.

  1. University of Port Harcourt

UNIPORT is one the best universities in the south southern region of the country. The school was founded in 1977 and ever since then, it has produced notable alumni. One of which is the former President Good luck Ebele Jonathan.

  1. The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology

LAUTECH used to be one of the highly sought University in the country before, and it is used to making top 20 best universities in Nigeria. LAUTECH was established in other to produce quality graduates who’ll advance the rising tide of science and technology in the country.

Being a state University, Ladoke Akintola University is managed by the Oyo and Osun State government. But the two states have not been doing well in the school management. In the last five years, Lautech went on strike over lack of management and poor handling for more than ten times.

Such is one of the reasons why the school ranking has been dropping down in the National University Commission (NUC) yearly ranking.

  1. Bayero University, Kano

BUK is one of the top Universities in the north. It was established in 1975, and it was fondly called Bayero University College. More so, the University had once served as the satellite campus of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, before it was fully established as the first university in the whole of Kano.

In the same vein, the university offers many undergraduates and postgraduate courses, and they have a business school named after the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote.

  1. University of Calabar

University of Calabar was also the satellite campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, not until 1975 when it got it autonomy. Unical has been producing outstanding students right from its inception, and the school academic calendar is another thing to reckon with.

What’s more, the University of Calabar has 15 faculties, including the faculty of Law and Medicine. Notable alumni include; Godswill Akpabio, Reuben Abati, Kate Henshaw, Iyanyan, etc.

  1. Federal University of Technology Owerri

Federal Universities of Technology, Owerri sit at the 16th position on the list of the top 20 best universities in Nigeria. FUTO was founded in 1980 in Owerri, the capital of Imo, and it’s the oldest University of science and technology in the country.

Being a technology-intensive university, the school has an internationally recognised department with over 30 quality courses.

  1. Nnamdi Azikiwe University

Nnamdi Azikiwe University was founded in 1991 on the philosophy that education is the key and knowledge should be disseminated and propagated to all. NAU has three distinct campuses with the main campus in Anambra and the other two in Agulu and Nnewi.

Besides, Nnamdi Azikwe University has 14 faculties with 57 departments, and it has produced many outstanding graduates that are managing different public and private offices across the nation.

  1. Rivers State University

River State University was formerly known as the River State University of Science and Technology, and it’s owned and managed by the River State government.

The school has a well planned academic calendar. The mission is to produce excellent and creative individuals to the larger society.

  1. Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto

Usmanu Danfodi University, Sokoto popular known as UDUS, is ranked as 19th on the list of the top 20 best universities in Nigeria. Although UDUS witnessed a fall in its ranking, yet the school is doing great in impacting character and learning unto its students.

Accordingly, the students of this school had been making the school proud lately. One of their graduates received 20 out of the 20 awards meant for her set during her master’s program in India and many more.

  1. Lagos State University

LASU is another top university owned by the Lagos state government. It was established under the enabling law of Lagos State in 1983. Lagos State University offers fantastic courses both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

If you like to study foreign languages like French, Russian and the likes, then LASU should be your top priority.


Although not limited to the above discourse, the above mentioned is the top 20 best universities in Nigeria.

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