Study in Kenya
Kenya, is an African country, situated on the East African equator with dynamic and multicultural capital city Nairobi. Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity", as some of the most famous fossils of early humans have been found here. Kenya is named for Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.
The education system has highly developed and today Kenya is a large provider of higher education programmes, drawing a significant number of international students. You can choose from numerous accredited programmes available at both undergraduate and graduate degree level.
Your study abroad experience in Kenya will be complemented by the fantastic scenery of the African wilderness. Find the best information about what it’s like to study in Nairobi, including degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
With more than ten public universities and over twenty private universities, students have plenty of options from where to choose to get a higher education degree. Applicants can select from the following types of higher educational institutions: universities, colleges of higher education, vocational colleges and polytechnic universities.
Kenya has been attracting a high number of international students from all over the world. The multicultural environment has played an important part in continually increasing the number of students.
The language of instruction used in universities is English. The academic year runs from September to June. Depending on the chosen field of study, a Bachelor's programme can take four to six years, and they often end with a research project.
The education system in Kenya is managed by two ministers: Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
General Application Requirements
All foreign students are required to have a Kenyan pupil pass before admission (required for all non-diplomatic families or for children who are in Kenya solely for the purpose of education), validated by The Principal Secretary Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government of Kenya.
After acquiring the pupil pass, the next step is to complete the process for university submission.
Here is a list with the required documents:
- A completed application form
- Copies of certificates (certificate from the last graduated school)
- Two/three passport size photographs
- Two copies of the application fees receipt
Sometimes reference letters (one academic and one professional) may be required in addition to the rest of the documents; it is always best to check with the university you are interested in regarding their list of necessary submission documents.
The usual entry requirements are: International Baccalaureate, or any final secondary/high school examination certificate equivalent to the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education as recognized by the Kenya National Examinations Council or any internationally recognized examination body.
Some of the most popular study abroad programmes in Kenya are related to sustainability, humanities, urbanization, health and human rights areas, but you can also find numerous degrees in: history, communications, linguistics, marketing, finance, philosophy or computing. The palette of degree levels covers Bachelor and Master degrees, MBA and Executive MBA, PhD courses.
Check out the following links and learn more about the international scholarship opportunities:
Aga Khan Foundation, The School for Field Studies
Language of instruction
Kenya recognises over sixty different languages, with Swahili and English being the national standard and the official languages. However, in Kenyan universities, most programmes and courses are taught in English and applicants from non-English speaking countries will be required to deliver a certificate stating a high level of English proficiency, such as TOEFL, IELTS, and others.
English language preparation for studying in Kenya
Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Kenyan universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options
Living in Kenya
- Tuition fees at Kenyan universities are between 1,380 USD – 5,000 USD per year.
- The cost of living for an average student ranges between 400 and 600 USD per month.
- According to the latest regulations from Kenya, international students are not allowed to work.
- Discover Kenya’s fabulous culture by attending the Mombasa Carnival, an amazing spectacle with parades and dancing.
- In Kenya, you can admire wonderful World Heritage sites like Fort Jesus, (built in order to guard Mombasa), the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests, or sacred and fortified villages.
- While in Kenya, you should check out the Donakey Sanctuary where you can see around 3,000 working donkeys and visit various museums dedicated to the culture of Swahili.
- Kenya is a unique mix of cultures, as it is home to over forty tribes that speak different languages. However, only six of these tribes, making up more than half of the population, have largely influenced Kenya’s culture and traditions.
- Kenyan environmentalist professor Maathai was the first African woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
- Before going to Kenya, you need to complete several mandatory immunizations (usually against polio, measles and diphtheria).
- For Kenyans, coffee is considered an export product and not something for local consumption. They much rather prefer tea and beer, despite the fact coffee is the biggest income generator.
Kenya lies on the East African equator, with the Indian Ocean as border in the south east, and surrounded by Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. In Kenya, you can explore from urban culture to wildlife-rich savannah grassland.
Kenya is traditionally famous for its safaris and beautiful wildlife reserves and national parks such as the East and West Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park. The country is home to the big five animals: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephant that can be found particularly in the Masai Mara.
After being under the rule of the Arabians, then the British, Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya Independence Act 1963, and exactly one year later, on 12 December 1964, Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic of Kenya".
Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, with the president as both the head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The executive power is exercised by the government.
Kenya has a unique and interesting mix of cultures that include the Swahili on the coast, several Bantu communities in the central and western regions, and Nilotic communities in the northwest. Although forming a small part of the country’s population, tourists mainly know the Maasai tribe, popular for the excessive body decoration.
The economy of Kenya has the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. The major industries supporting the local economy are: agricultural products, oil refining, aluminium, steel, lead, cement, and tourism.
Kenya's climate is tropical along the coast and temperate inland to arid in the north. Mainly, you can wear summer clothes the whole year.
Universities, colleges and schools in Kenya
Interested in scholarships for Kenya? Check out our scholarship search page.
How to Apply to a Master's in Kenya
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Kenya, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
What documents do I need to provide to apply in Kenya?
To apply to a university in Kenya you will likely be asked to provide some of the following documents:
- birth certificate;
- recent photos;
- your passport or national identity card;
- one or more reference letters from past employers or teachers;
- copies of past diplomas or certificates, including your graduated Bachelor's degree;
- academic transcripts;
- letter of intent;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- Some form of proof that you can support your stay in the country during your studies.
Depending on the subject or specialization of your chosen Master's, you might also be asked to provide scores for additional tests like the GRE, GMAT or LSAT. Check if your programme requires any of these, or others.
The list of documents depends on the specific requirements of universities in Kenya so you might be asked to include additional documents. It’s also likely you’ll have to provide official English translations of your documents, or translations in the local language.
Prove your English skills
Because you’ll study an international degree in English, you'll have to present a language certificate. Some popular options for international students are IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates. You’ll have to meet a minimum language score set by the university, and your test scores shouldn’t be older than 1-2 years. If you don’t meet the minimum language requirements, you will have to improve your skills and scores by taking an English preparation course.
Application deadlines for Kenya
The deadlines for applying to a Master's in Kenya are usually during summer (June-July), or in winter (January-February). Keep in mind that some universities don’t have application deadlines, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.
To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your required documents with plenty of time in advance.