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Uganda - Apply for a License to operate a University

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All interested individuals applying for a license to operate a university shall follow the following steps and guidelines
Step 1

  • All local and foreigners who are interested in offering private Universities/institutions in Uganda should apply to the Uganda National Council for Higher Education for a license to operate a University in Uganda.Reference should be made to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act,2001.
  • All Foreigner and Ugandan Residents who are interested in establishing a Private University in Uganda must apply for a license by sending their Application letter on the Following Address:-
National Council for Higher Education,
Plot M834,Kigobe Road–Kyambogo,
P.O.Box 76 Kyambogo–Kampala.
Email: [email protected].

Step 2

  • A university shall have Vision & Mission statements and Philosophy which clearly and succinctly indicate its strategic direction. Guidelines.
  1. The Vision statement shall clearly outline what the university desires to be;
  2. The Mission statement shall incorporate elements of the universities business purpose and values, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision;
  3. Statements of Vision and Mission shall be prominently displayed and appear in key documents of the university; and
  4. The Philosophy of the University shall be clearly stated.
  5. Proposal as to particulars and resources.
    • An application under regulation 3(1)shall be accompanied with a proposal setting out:-
      • Experience of the sponsor in university education;
      • the academic resources (including land, physical facilities, finances, staff, library services and equipment) appropriate to and adequate for the proposed academic programme(s) to be conducted at that university which have been or can be procured and the manner in which these shall be maintained on a long term basis; and
      • the proposed name, location and academic character of that university;
      • the functions, aims, objectives and strategies consistent with the needs of university education in Uganda for which the university is to be established;
      • the form of governance through which the academic and administrative affairs of the university are to be conducted;
      • an outline of the academic programme(s) intended to be offered at that university;
      • a timetable indicating the steps expected to be taken in the next four years towards the realization of the aims and objects for which the university is to be established.

Step 3: Charter status
Each university shall apply to have a Charter as a legal instrument of accreditation that authorizes the institution to discharge its mandate before applying for an operating license in Uganda. A charter shall be the full accreditation status of any university in Uganda.

  1. The charter status may be attained after at least three years of operating under any other university status recognized by the National Council for Higher Education;
  2. A chartered university shall have a fully established seat of the university that meets the standards of the National Council for Higher Education;
  3. A chartered university shall have at least 400 students enrolled in the degree programmes;
  4. The number of degree students in a chartered university shall not be less than 70% of the total student enrollment;
  5. The University Charter shall stipulate the powers and functions of the institution and governance and management structures.

Step 4: Governance and Management.
A university shall clearly articulate its governance and management structures in line with the Act. A university shall ensure that there is clear separation of powers between the governing organs before operating for an operating license.

  1. A university shall have clear organizational and administrative charts showing the inter-relationships of the various organs and offices;
  2. A university shall have documented policies that include but not limited to human resources policy, research policy, ICT policy, disability policy, gender mainstreaming policy, curriculum development policy, academic integrity policy and Internal Quality Assurance Policy;
  3. A university shall develop statutes, rules and regulations for the governance and management of the university in line with section 23, 34 and 35 of the Act. These shall include:
    • Student conduct and discipline;
    • Staff code of conduct;
    • Terms and Conditions of service of staff; and
    • Student handbook containing, inter alia, admission requirements and fees guideline.
  4. The Academic Board (AB) shall:
    • The Academic Board shall, subject to the provisions of this Act have the following powers and duties⎯
      • to satisfy itself regarding the content and academic standard of any course of study in respect of any award of the Tertiary Institution and report to the Governing Council;
      • to initiate proposals relating to the conduct of the institution generally, and to discuss any matter relating to the institution and to make submission to the Governing Council;
  5. Governing Council:
    • Be constituted in accordance with the Trustees Act Cap. 81 of 2001;
    • Have members representing the interests of the sponsor but, members of the sponsoring family in case of a sponsor who is an individual, or members of the sponsoring entity in case of the institutional sponsor, may not constitute more than one third of the BOT;
    • Have a third of its members being Ugandans in the case of a foreign sponsor;
  6. Every university shall ensure that there is clear separation of powers between the governing organs, and in particular, no one person shall head two organs whose relationship is oversight in nature.

Step 5: Human Resources;
Before applying for a University operating license, a university shall have adequate and competent human resources to carry out its mandate in accordance to its human resource policy.

  1. The Vice Chancellor or equivalent of the university shall be a person appropriately qualified with extensive teaching, administrative and research experience;
  2. The teaching staff of a university shall meet the qualifications outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for academic programmes as provided for in Schedule 3; and
  3. The administrative staff of a university shall have requisite qualification in their areas of operation; and
  4. Every university should clearly articulate its appointment criteria

Step 6: Academic Programmes
A university shall offer programmes that are commensurate with its institutional accreditation status and that meet the standards of academic programmes.

  1. A proposed university shall submit no more than three academic programmes to the National Council for Higher Education for consideration for grant of Letter of Interim Authority;
  2. A proposed university shall not launch any programme until it becomes a legal entity through grant of Letter of Interim Authority;
  3. A university with Letter of Interim Authority shall offer a minimum of two academic programmes;
  4. A University with a Charter shall offer at least four academic programmes;
  5. A Technical University shall offer programmes that are deemed by the Council to be technical in nature; and
  6. A Specialized University shall offer programmes deemed to be of national strategic importance.

Step 7: Financial Resources
A university shall have adequate financial resources to meet its obligations. The university must show proof of its source of finances to run the university before a license of operating a university is granted.

  1. In determining the adequacy of a university financial resources, reference will be made to the differentiated unit cost as provided for in the Act;
  2. A university shall manage its financial resources as stipulated in Part 63 and 91 of the Act.

Step 8: Planning
A University shall show evidence of long and medium term plans to ensure sustainability and continuous improvement before a license is issued.

  1. A University shall have at least a 10-year Master Plan that outlines its physical, academic, financial and human development;
  2. A University shall have a physical Master plan that indicates the location of existing and proposed physical infrastructure; and
  3. A University shall have at least a 5 year strategic plan that inter-alia outlines its overall development including, but not limited to academic programme.
    • On receipt of the application, the National Council will examine the information provided and determine whether to send an Inspection Team to verify such information.
    • A report of the inspection Team will be submitted and finalized within a month from the date of visitation.
    • If, after verifying the information at hand, the council is satisfied with the application, a Provisional Licence shall be issued.

Required Documents[edit]

A detailed project proposal containing:-

  • The name of the Institution.
  • The physical location of the Institution.
  • The aims and objectives for which the Institution has been established.
  • The membership and governance of the Institution.
  • Sources of funding
  • The academic and senior administrative staff.
  • The financial control mechanism in place.
  • Detailed of the programmes to be offered.
  • The physical and educational facilities in place.

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

Uganda National Council of Higher Education - Head Office,
Plot M834, Kigobe Road – Kyambogo
Kampala , Uganda
P.O.Box 76 Kyambogo
Kampala , Uganda
Tel: +256393262140/1
Fax: 256 312 262 145
Email: [email protected]
Website: Link


All citizen of Uganda with the required qualification and who satisfy the criteria set out in the Schedule of the university amended Act of 2006 can Apply to the government of Uganda to be licensed to open up private or public a university respectively.


  • Application form 200,000 Ugshs.
  • Provisional Licence for other degree awarding institution. 10,000,000Ugshs.
  • Provision licence for private tertiary institution 5,000,000Ugshs.
  • Provision Licence for private University 12,000,000Ugsh.
  • For more information on fees charges visit the following Link Fees Charge


The licence is valid for a period of 2 years.

Documents to Use[edit]

Click on Private application Form

Sample Documents[edit]

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.

Processing Time[edit]

Maximum processing time 3 months.

Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type='website'>video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites. 	
Please remove the '&' inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url '' Video ID is 'Y0US7oR_t3M'.


  • You can register a private university with the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda NCHE to have the legal authority to offer higher education programmes before being granted a license.Private University offer the same qualifications levels as that offered by public universities or universities.The purpose of registration is to ensure that:
  • Private Universities offer quality education
  • The public is protected against unscrupulous and exploitative operators.
  • The consumer obtains qualifications that are aligned with the National council for Higher Education in Uganda Framework and registered on the National Qualifications Framework -NQF

Required Information[edit]

  • Full name
  • Identity number
  • Contact address and Phone number
  • Business Plan information
  • Occupation
  • Citizenship
  • Audited annual financial statements or audited financial forecasts
  • the name of the proposed University,
  • the location,
  • the mission and vision,
  • the nature of the proposed university and
  • its proposed focal niche in the current Ugandan University System.

Need for the Document[edit]

  • The document is important to the applicant as it ensures that the university has made a great stride in ensuring that it has adhered to the required standards,quality and relevance of University Education.
  • The need for this document is to establish and develop a system governing institutions of higher education in order to equate qualifications of the same or similar courses offered by different institutions of higher education while at the same time respecting the autonomy and academic freedom of the Institutions and to widen the accessibility of high quality standard institutions to students wishing to pursue higher education courses.

Information which might help[edit]

  • The National Council is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name.
  • The functions of the National Council are⎯
    • to implement the objects of this Act;
    • to promote and develop the processing and dissemination of information on higher r education for the benefit of the people;
  • to advise the Minister on the establishment and accreditation of public and private institutions of Higher Education;
  • to receive, consider and process applications for :-
    • The establishment and accreditations of Private Tertiary Institutions, private other degree awarding Institutions and Private Universities and
    • The accreditation of the academic and professional programmes of those institutions in consultation with Professional Associations and regulatory Bodies.
  • to register all institutions of Higher Education established under this Act;
  • to receive and investigate complaints relating to institutions of Higher Education and take appropriate action;
  • to monitor, evaluate and regulate institutions of Higher Education.
  • in co-operation with the relevant Government departments, private sector, or the different institutions of Higher Education, to evaluate the overall national manpower requirement and recommend solutions to the requirements;
  • to ensure minimum standards for courses of study and the equating of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by the different public and private institutions of Higher Education;
  • to require and ensure that all universities, whether private or public, adhere to minimum criteria set by the National Council for admission to under-graduate and higher degree programmes.”
  • to set and co-ordinate national standards for admission of students to the different institutions of Higher Education;
  • to determine the equivalence of all types of academic and professional qualifications of degrees, diplomas and certificates obtained elsewhere with those awarded by Uganda institutions of Higher Education for recognition in Uganda;
  • to certify that an institution of Higher Education has adequate and accessible physical structures and staff for the courses to be offered by it;
  • to promote national interests in courses of study and professional qualification among the different types of Institutions of Higher Education;
  • to ensure that adequate facilities and opportunities for carrier guidance and counselling are provided by the institutions of Higher Education;
  • to collect, examine and publish information relating to the different institutions of Higher Education;
  • to generally advise the government on policy and other matters relating to institutions of Higher Education;
  • to perform any other function incidental to the objects of this Act or relating to higher education in Uganda or that may be conferred upon it by the Minister or any other law.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

Please explain what are other uses of obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

External Links[edit]


More information which might help people.