Looking for a relatively cheap and exciting location to study abroad? Nigeria is one of the most affordable and friendly countries you can choose to study as an international student. It might surprise you that anyone would want to study in Nigeria from another country. True as this might seem, some Nigerian universities offer admission to international students. To Nigerians, Nigeria might not be a big deal but from history, Nigeria is referred to as the Giant of Africa. This is to show how big a deal Nigeria is. For students that are hoping to explore and learn more about different cultures and are interested in meeting great minds in Africa, Nigeria is a go-to country because of how its dynamicity.
Understanding Nigeria’s Educational System
As of 2022, the number of accredited higher institutions of learning in Nigeria was about 481 with 170 universities, 159 Polytechnics and 152 Colleges of Education. Most of the Universities in Nigeria have a wide range of disciplines from Science to Engineering and Technology to Humanities and Law and they are well equipped for these disciplines. To stimulate international opportunities, Nigeria is open to welcoming international students at all levels; undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. Due to the varieties of ethnic groups in Nigeria, there are about five hundred (500) languages spoken indigenously but the official language is English.
Nigeria operates a 6-6-4 academic system. This implies that students must have six (6) years of primary or elementary education, another six (6) years of secondary education and a minimum of four years of tertiary education. Hence, to apply to study at a Nigerian University, you must be able to prove that you have completed six (6) years of secondary education. Normally, this can be proved by providing a testimonial or certificate of completion from your secondary school.
The Cost of Living in Nigeria
Housing in Nigeria is relatively affordable, depending on the things you are looking out for. You have several options to pick from – you can decide to stay in the school hostel, rent an apartment outside the school or live with a Nigerian family if there’s an opportunity to. Most definitely, you can seize the chance of living with a Nigerian family to learn more about their culture and familiarize yourself with native dishes. Don’t forget to ask questions when you are curious about how things are done too.
With as little as $1,000, you can get yourself a mini flat off campus. The cost of living is relatively low as well. You could spend about $5 daily if you wouldn’t mind feeding on meals available locally, but if you prefer going to the confectioneries to get your food you would be spending about $12 daily.
Academic Requirements for International Students to Study In Nigeria
In Nigeria, the Joint Admissions & Matriculation Board regulates admission into tertiary institutions. The Board conducts a computer-based test for candidates who indicate interest in admission into tertiary institutions in the country. This test is known as the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Outside of Nigeria, there are centres for foreigners to take the test without having to leave their countries. These countries include the UK, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Benin Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa. Special arrangements can be made for those from countries not currently enlisted.
Alternatively, international candidates who have a Cambridge A-Levels Diploma or equivalent stand the chance of gaining admission through the Direct Entry mode. The Direct Entry mode gives candidates a chance to get admitted into the second year of a 4-year programme.
Most private tertiary institutions, however, do not require applicants to write UTME. It is bypassed for them although a regularization might be made subsequently with JAMB on their behalf. They are, however, requested to possess a passport photograph, a statement of purpose, a birth certificate, high school transcripts and diploma, an international passport and a letter of sponsorship from parents, guardians or a third party that would be responsible for funding the studies.
Nigerian Universities that Offer Admission to International Students
We have compiled a list of Universities that offer admission to International Students. Below are short details on some of the schools that accept international students in no particular order:
1. Covenant University
Rated the best private university and the University with the highest rate of graduate employability in Nigeria, Covenant University has a soft spot for international students on its campus. With about 5% international student community out of its total student population, Covenant University is one of the most welcoming campuses for international students in Nigeria.
The highly esteemed institution of learning has a special directory for international students on its website. The directory not only facilitates a handful of the necessary information but also showcases a virtual tour of the Covenant University campus from a drone point of view. The virtual campus tour can be found here.
International students who are considering studying at Covenant University can go through the application page for more details on how to apply. CU charges an application fee of $100 for each international study application.
2. University of Ibadan
The University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s first Univerity which was renamed from the University College, Ibadan. With over 60 years in existence, the premier institution has consecutively maintained the top five position in the annual university rankings by multiple international educational boards.
The University of Ibadan has a soft spot for international students and gives room for them to study on its large and beautiful campus alongside indigenous students. This allows both parties to learn, grow and share knowledge of cultures and values among themselves.
The International Undergraduate application is done through JAMB’s UTME or Direct Entry. For undergraduate studies, applications for admission to the University of Ibadan can be made after six months or thereabout of purchasing the UTME or Direct Entry form.
Postgraduate Studies for international students at the University of Ibadan is an easier route. We encourage you to read the Postgraduate Application Guide before attempting to submit an application. Application for Postgraduate Admission can be submitted via the Postgraduate Application Portal. All queries can be directed to the admission officer by phone at +2349090561462 or via email at [email protected].
The school fees for undergraduate international studies range from $1,450 – $2,400 while that for Postgraduate International Studies lies between $2,000 – $5000. The University of Ibadan also offers premium accommodation suites to international students upon demand. The cost of accommodation is between $350 to $1400 annually.
3. University of Ilorin
When you hear people talk about a ‘Better than Far University‘ in Nigeria, then chances are that the University of Ilorin is the subject of such a discussion. The university offers admission slots to foreign applicants and about a hundred international students get admitted each year.
The Better than Far University boasts of having the highest number of international students on its campus. The fees for international students are undisclosed on the school’s website but all programmes are available for international students to study.
The admission page has links that allow you to apply for admission as an international student. Another aspect of the University of Ilorin is that it allows you to transfer from your school abroad to complete your studies on its campus.
Getting a Nigerian Visa for Studies
The Nigerian Immigration Service has more details on fresh visa applications. You can check with your school for support when applying for a Nigerian Visa. The NIS insists cash payments for visas are disabled and would not be tolerated, hence, Visas tendered without proof of payment would be revoked upon arrival. Visa applicants are also encouraged to make payments with a personal credit card to avoid complicating issues and provide evidence upon arrival.
Concerning visas, as the country does not offer specific student visas, you will have to apply for a Subject to Regularisation (STR) Visa before you then change it into Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Cards for Nigeria on that same spot. This does not apply to you if you are from a country member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Citizens of ECOWAS member-states can visit Nigeria in possession of their National Passports without Visas for about 90 days after which an application for a Visa might be necessary. Nigeria also allows for “visa upon arrival” for some countries.
Be sure to look up the Nigerian Embassy in your country for more help. The Nigerian Visa Application Page can be found here.
Final Words on Studying in Nigeria as an International Student
These universities are scattered all over the six (6) geopolitical regions of the country. Depending on which region you would like to explore and know more about, you can choose from any of them
You might also want to conduct a security and feasibility check on the state in which your school of choice is located before making a final choice. Nigeria is a great place to explore because of its diversity.
On sending your applications and making enquiries, you can reach out to the school admissions office through their website or social media channels. You are welcome to ask a question using the comment form if you have any.