Nigeria may not be the most common country for studying abroad, but it is definitely one of the most surprising and rewarding destinations with so much to offer to international students. It is a perfect study destination for those looking for first-rate academic experience combined with adventurous cultural encounters. In this article, we will look at some of the best universities in Nigeria for international students.

Is Nigeria good for international students to study in?

In recent decades, the Nigerian government pledged to make higher education in the country easily accessible to the whole nation and the rest of the world. Now an education hub in Africa, Nigeria supports over 130 universities, colleges, and other institutions for higher learning, including prestigious time-honored universities and young, modern institutions. The nation harbors six universities in Africa that consistently place high in global university rankings.

Nigerian universities are highly recognized for degree programs in health and medicine. International students can also receive a quality education in virtually any discipline, including law, humanities, and engineering. What’s more, all programs are taught in English so every student can be competitive globally.

International students can enjoy living in Nigeria, especially with its local music scene and enthusiasm for soccer and other sports. Not to mention the rich food culture and Nigerian specialty cuisine. Nigeria offers many cultural opportunities to students with different interests.

Can international students work in Nigeria while studying?

International students in Nigeria who wish to work while studying can take part in student work-study programs that most universities provide. Whether undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate, students can engage in vocational and practical training that lets them earn extra income and gain valuable work experience, as well. Registered students can work up to 20 hours a week, while non-registered students 40 hours a week.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can international students stay in Nigeria after graduation?

Foreign nationals can stay in Nigeria as long as they have a valid residence permit. For students, you only need to upgrade your immigration status depending on how long you plan to stay in the country. To stay for the long term, you can apply for a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), a combined work and residence permit.

Best Universities in Nigeria

1. University of Ibadan (UI)

The University of Ibadan is the most prestigious university in Nigeria and the whole of Africa has contributed to the cultural and economic development of the nation since its foundation in 1948. It was originally affiliated with the University of London but is today a full-fledged independent university offering academic programs across sixteen faculties. The UI is also the flagship of Postgraduate Education in the country, with the degree level comprising over 50 percent of the entire student body, including both local and international students.

The University of Ibadan also runs an internationally acclaimed Distance Learning Centre open to those students restricted by financial and logistical means. On the other hand, students on campus enjoy a number of facilities, including zoological and botanical gardens, libraries, a health center, media facilities, and student housing.

2. Lagos State University (LASU)

Lagos State University is a multi-campus, collegiate university located in Ukeje, Epa, and Ojo (the main campus). It is the only state university in the Lagos region in Nigeria and welcomes over 35,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma courses. These are the faculties of the Arts, Science, Social Sciences, Management Sciences, Law, Engineering. Clinical Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, and Education.

In recent years, LASU became one of the best universities in Nigeria for international students and has ranked among the top 600 universities globally by the Times Higher Education rankings. The university has therefore attracted international students, as well as fundings from global academic organizations, including the World Bank Group Africa Centre for Excellence on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

3. University of Lagos (UNILAG)

The University of Lagos is one of the first generation universities in Nigeria and has provided quality education to local and international students for over five decades. With campuses in Akoka, Yaba, and Surulere, the university offers over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate programs across twelve faculties, including the subject areas of the arts, sciences, medicine, and engineering. UNILAG also handles several institutes, such as the Confucius Institute, a Distance Learning Institute, and the International School Lagos (ISL).

This top university in Nigeria is regarded as the third-best African university for entrepreneurship, nicknamed the “startup powerhouse” by the nation’s academic community, and called the “University of First Choice” by the National Universities Commission due to its strong and competitive admissions. Today, it remains one of the flagship universities of Nigeria when it comes to welcoming international students.

4. Covenant University

Nigeria’s foremost private higher learning institution, the Covenant University is a Pentecostal Christian university operating in Ota, Nigeria since 2002. Despite being a young institution, Covenant University has risen rapidly in the past decade in various national and international university rankings. It was named the best private university in Nigeria in 2018 and the following year, became the first Nigerian institution to rank among the top 500 universities in the world by Times Higher Education.

Covenant University comprises four colleges, namely the College of Business and Social Sciences, the College of Science and Technology, the College of Leadership Development Studies, and the College of Engineering. The university also owns a stadium, dedicated lawns for various team sports, and one of the largest libraries in Africa.

5. University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)

The University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Enugu State of Nigeria is the first autonomous and indigenous university in the country modeled after the American educational system. Comprising 15 faculties, this top university in Nigeria operates over 100 academic departments offering more than 82 undergraduate and 200 postgraduate programs in various subject areas. Since it follows an American standard of education, many international students find it more conducive to study in this federal university.

The UNN has four campuses. There are branch campuses in Enugu, Ituku-Ozalla, and Aba, while the main campus in Nsukka remains the largest and most accessible. The Nsukka campus also holds the Roar Nigeria Hub, the university’s initiative to develop entrepreneurial activity among its academic community.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Nigeria for international students was helpful! If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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