Top 10 Largest Universities in Nigeria by Total Student Enrollment
Top 10 Largest Universities in Nigeria by Total Student Enrollment

Top 10 Largest Universities in Nigeria by Total Student Enrollment

Nigeria is known for its large and rapidly growing population, currently estimated to be over 200 million people. With such a huge population, it is no surprise that Nigeria also has some of the biggest universities on the African continent. Higher education is a top priority for many Nigerian youth seeking to enhance their career prospects and opportunities. This has led to rising student enrollments across universities over the past few decades.


In this article, we explore the top 10 Largest universities in Nigeria based on two key criteria – total student enrollment numbers and total campus land area. We provide details on each university’s location, faculties offered, faculty size, notable alumni, and more. Whether you are a prospective student seeking the best university options or simply curious about Nigeria’s largest institutions of learning, this comprehensive guide covers all the essential details on the top 10 biggest universities in Nigeria.

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Top 10 Largest Universities in Nigeria by Total Student Enrollment

1. National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)

As an open university, NOUN based in Abuja accommodates the largest number of students in Nigeria with over 565,385 enrolled as of 2019. It offers flexible distance learning programs through study Centers across the country.

2. University of Maiduguri

Located in Borno State, the University of Maiduguri enrolled about 74,522 students as of 2019, making it the second-largest student population. It was established in 1975.

3. University of Ilorin

With over 53,782 students, the University of Ilorin in Kwara State takes the third spot. It has a vast campus stretching over 185,329 acres in Ilorin city.


Other universities in the top 10 include:

#4. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

  • Located in Zaria, Kaduna State. Commonly known as ABU.
  • Established in 1962, it is one of the oldest federal universities.
  • Has two main campuses – Samaru and Kongo – spanning a total land area of 17,297 acres.
  • Houses over 49,000 students across 14 faculties and 3 colleges.
  • Well known for its medical, engineering, and agricultural programs.
  • Notable alumni include prominent politicians, engineers, medical doctors, and academics.

#5. University of Benin

  • Situated in Benin City, Edo State.
  • Founded in 1970 and owns a campus area exceeding 32,123 acres including farmlands.
  • Accommodates over 51,000 students studying across 12 faculties.
  • Strong programs in law, engineering, basic medical sciences, and the arts.
  • Produced notable figures like former President Samuel Ogbemudia.

#6. University of Lagos

  • Nigeria’s premier and largest university is located in Akoka, Lagos State.
  • Established in 1962 and upgraded from University College Ibadan.
  • Spans several campuses in Lagos and Ogun States with over 45,000 students.
  • Faculties include engineering, medicine, social sciences, and management sciences.
  • Has partnerships with international institutions like Michigan State University.
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#7. University of Jos

  • Situated in Jos, Plateau State, and was established in 1970.
  • Covers programs under 10 faculties catering to about 39,000 students.
  • Strengths in mass communication, geosciences, law, and graduate studies.
  • Produced prominent government officials, entrepreneurs, and media personalities.

#8. University of Calabar

  • Located in Calabar, Cross River State, and was founded in 1975.
  • Accommodates over 38,000 students across 14 faculties and service departments.
  • Strong alumni network in professions like education, media, politics, and healthcare.
  • Known for offering quality education at relatively affordable costs.

#9. Bayero University, Kano

  • Located in Kano, Kano State, and was established in 1975.
  • Run under Islamic legal and financial framework with faculties of law, medicine, etc.
  • Campuses in Kano and Bauchi span over 3,500 hectares of land.
  • Produced notable academics, journalists, diplomats, and religious scholars.

#10. Ambrose Alli University

  • Found in Ekpoma, Edo State since 1981 specializing in arts and social sciences.
  • Faculties of law, education, environmental studies, and agriculture.
  • Over 37,000 students benefit from extensive contact programs.
  • Strong alumni community making a positive impact across various vocations.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which was the first university established in Nigeria?

The first and oldest university is the University of Ibadan, established in 1948 in Oyo State.

What is the entrance requirement to study in Nigerian universities?

Most universities in Nigeria admit students based on their performance in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The minimum admission requirements include English Language, Mathematics, and any other 3-5 relevant subjects in SSCE or equivalent.

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Which are the best universities in Nigeria for engineering programs?

Some top engineering universities in Nigeria include the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos, University of Benin, and University of Nigeria Nsukka.



Nigeria offers some excellent higher education opportunities with its numerous large [top 10 biggest universities in Nigeria] capable of accommodating hundreds of thousands of students annually. Whether you aspire to study via the open distance mode at NOUN or seek the traditional on-campus experience, there is ample choice across diverse fields including sciences, humanities, medicine, engineering, and more. With continued investments, these universities are sure to scale new heights of excellence in teaching, research, and innovation.


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