This post discusses all the top universities in Ghana, as well as Ghana’s other higher educational institutions. The idea is to introduce you to the best tertiary educational institutions Ghana has to offer.
Tertiary Education in Ghana
The types of higher education institutions in Ghana include public universities, technical universities, and university-level professional training institutions. The National Accreditation Board defines a university as a multi-faculty institution dedicated to “advanced instruction and research in several branches of learning, conferring degrees in various faculties, and often embodying colleges, schools, and similar institutions”. It also defines technical universities as professional institutions more narrowly specialized in particular disciplines. A number of larger public universities, such as the University of Energy and Natural Resources and the University of Education, Winneba, also have a more specialized focus.
Polytechnics, of which there is one in each of Ghana’s ten regions, have diversified in recent years – they’re increasingly offering programs similar to university programs in disciplines like liberal arts in addition to technical programs.
In an attempt to strengthen tertiary vocational education, the Ghanaian government recently elevated eight polytechnics to technical universities which can award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The vast majority of private higher educational institutions are university colleges. One reason for this is that private institutions are required to initially start operations as affiliated colleges under the “mentorship” of public universities.
At present, (2021) there are 81 accredited private institutions in Ghana, but only four of them – Ashesi University, Central University, the Trinity Theological Seminary and Valley View University – have been officially chartered as independent degree-granting institutions.
Many, but not all private higher educational institutions are smaller providers of lesser quality that absorb excess demand by students locked out of the competition and more highly regarded public sector. The percentage of tertiary Ghanaian students enrolled in private institutions has increased from 13 to 20 per cent between 2007 and 2012, before dropping down to 16 per cent by 2017, per UNESCO.
Top Universities in Ghana
The University of Ghana (with about 38,000 students), KNUST (42,000 students), and the University of Cape Coast (close to 75,000 students) are among the most prominent institutions in the country.
1. The University of Ghana – Legon
As the leading university in Ghana, the University of Ghana would be the first on our list of top universities in Ghana. The University of Ghana aims to produce the next generation of thought leaders to drive national development. Through our research institutes and other centres of learning and research, faculty members are involved in studies that support policy making for national development, often in collaboration with other international institutions.
The only Ghanaian institution currently listed among the top 1,000 in popular international university rankings is the University of Ghana, featured in the 801-1,000 ranking bracket in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.
The student population is over 38,000 made up of students enrolled on our regular programmes, sandwich programmes, and distance education as well as students from affiliate institutions. Our growing number of international students come from over 70 countries to join either our regular undergraduate and graduate programmes, enrol on our study abroad, and other special programmes designed for international students.
2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology – KNUST
Next on our list of top universities in Ghana is Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, KNUST. KNUST is a world-class academic centre of excellence, spearheading West Africa’s pursuit of technological advancement. Our campus is located in a very ideal place inside the city of Kumasi.
KNUST has been ranked the best University in Ghana and the 12th best on the African Continent by the US News & World Report. In November 2019, KNUST was ranked as the best university in Ghana and West Africa by U.S. News & World Report and still holds the record in 2020. It was also ranked 14th in Africa and 706th in the world, with a global score of 42.4.
3. Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration – GIMPA
GIMPA is next on our list of top universities in Ghana. GIMPA is a Government/United Nations (UN) special fund project. Originally named the Institute of Public Administration, it was set up as one of the key strategic institutions to develop the public administrative system, to provide civil servants with administrative and professional competence, and to plan and administer national, regional, and local services. Below, we have outlined why our students and professionals choose us:
- Student-Centered Approach
- Experienced Faculty
- Conducive Environment
- World-Class Training
GIMPA‘s mission is to maintain a Centre of Excellence for training in public and business administration, by continuously enhancing the capability of middle and top-level executives in public and private sectors as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) both in Ghana and internationally, to manage their institutions and enterprises efficiently and effectively. The Institute is accredited by the National Accreditation Board.
4. University of Cape Coast – UCC
Our next top university in Ghana is the University of Cape Coast (UCC). The University of Cape Coast is an equal opportunity university, uniquely placed to provide a quality education through the provision of comprehensive, liberal, and professional programs that challenge learners to be creative, innovative, and morally responsible citizens. Through distance learning, also extends expertise and facilities to train professionals for the education enterprise and business by employing modern technologies. The University constantly seeks alternative ways to respond to challenging needs.
The university was established in 1962 out of a dire need for highly qualified and skilled manpower in education. It was established to train graduate teachers for second-cycle institutions such as teacher training colleges and technical institutions, a mission that the two existing public universities at the time were unequipped to fulfil. The university has since added to its functions the training of doctors and health care professionals, as well as education planners, administrators, legal professionals, and agriculturalists. UCC graduates include Ministers of State, High Commissioners, CEOs, and Members of Parliament.
5. University of Education, Winneba – UEW
The University of Education, Winneba (UEW) is next on the list of top universities in Ghana. UEW was established in September 1992 as a University College under PNDC Law 322. On 14th May 2004 the University of Education Act, Act 672 was enacted to upgrade the status of the University College of Education of Winneba to the status of a full University to provide higher education and foster a systematic advancement of the science and art of teacher education.
The University College of Education of Winneba brought together seven diploma awarding colleges located in different towns under one umbrella institution.
6. Accra Technical University – ATU
Accra Technical University, Ghana’s premier technical university, since its inception as a Technical Institute has and continues to offer education in hands-on and competency-based training in diverse fields of engineering and industrial practice. The University is endowed with skilled experts as lecturers and instructors, competent to impart invaluable knowledge and lessons to students.
Accra Technical University is located in the Central Business District of Accra; its strategic position renders it as the only Technical University within the “inner city”. Luckily, we share borders with other noble institutions such as Movenpick and Accra City Hotel (former Novotel) whilst our northern zone is shared with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the City Campus of the University of Ghana. The Ghana Assembly Press guards the institution from the south whilst the Central Police Command, the Ghana Cocoa Board and two Telcos (AirtelTigo and MTN) border us to the West.
7. The University for Development Studies – UDS
The University for Development Studies (UDS) is Ghana’s first public university in the North. It was established in May 1992 by the Government of Ghana (PNDC Law 279) to “blend the academic work with that of the community in order to provide constructive interaction between the two for the total development of Northern Ghana, in particular, and the country as a whole.
UDS was borne out of the new thinking in higher education which emphasizes the need for universities to play a more active role in addressing problems of the society, particularly in the rural areas.