The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) is the oldest and premier public university in Tanzania. It is situated 13 kilometers on the western side of the city of Dar es Salaam, occupying 1,625 acres on the observation hill, famously known as Mlimani in Kiswahili. It was established on 25th October 1961 as the University College Dar es Salaam (UCD), an affiliate college of the University of London. It was temporarily hosted in the premises belonging to Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) located in Lumumba Street, Dar es Salaam from its establishment up to 1964 when it was moved to the current location at the Hill. At its inception, it had only one faculty, the Faculty of Law, with 13 students among them one female, Julie Manning. In 1963, it became a constituent college of the University of East Africa together with Makerere University College in Uganda and Nairobi University College in Kenya. UDSM became a full-fledged university on 1st July 1970 through Act No. 12 of 1970.
Ever since UDSM has grown in terms of student intake, academic units, research capability and academic programmes. It has two constituent colleges: the Dar es Salaam University College of Education located in Dar es Salaam and the Mkwawa University College of Education, located in Iringa. There are also seven campus colleges, four schools and five institutes hosting numerous academic departments covering a wide range of programmes, making it a comprehensive university. The academic programmes offered lead to the award of certificates, diplomas, and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. A total of 370 programmes including 17 taught PhD; 99 PhD by thesis; 142 Masters; 10 Postgraduate; 92 undergraduate; 5 certificate, and 6 diploma are offered in various academic units. They include evening study programmes designed to offer opportunities mainly to employed people, although any other interested person with requisite entry qualifications can apply. The number of students admitted has been reaching 39,958 in 2020/2021 academic year. Female students constitute 46 percent of all students and more efforts have been underway to increase this ratio. Each year we receive an increased number of applications of students interesting in joining our various programmes than the available current capacity.
At its Golden Jubilee in 2011 UDSM inaugurated its Vision 2061, a blueprint charting the way for its future development. Emphasis has been placed on research and postgraduate training. As a result there has been improved outputs and the number of postgraduate students graduating each year has increased exponentially. Just as an illustration, compared to 34 students who graduated with PhD in 2013, there were 72 PhD students who graduated in 2016 and the number increased to 80 and 85 in 2017 and 2018 respectively. To cater for the increased number of postgraduate students UDSM introduced a mid-year graduation ceremony in 2019 and 47 PhD candidates were awarded their degrees in that maiden mid-year graduation. UDSM has also set a number of scholarships to cater for various categories of students wishing to pursue their undergraduate and postgraduate training.
Idea of the University of Dar es Salaam
The idea of the University was breached in the 1958 Annual General Meeting of TANU. It was proposed by Mr. Amos Kesenge the then TANU General Secretary. He said “people of Tanganyika are the ones with thirst and hunger for education. Education is the key in the development of people’s life in this country and for a better national development there should be people with education, knowledge and wisdom”. Members agreed that the University should be out of party politics and so everyone should contribute in kind and cash. Contribution for building this University started by Tanganyika African Newspaper Company Limited by organising a football match and all the money collected was deposited in the university basket fund. In the winning cup handing ceremony, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, TANU Chairman, requested people to join the efforts of establishing a University to avoid depending on foreign Universities which were very expensive and had different ideologies. He urged TANU members to contribute Tsh 50/= each while others contributed Tsh. 2/= each. Up to 16th March 1958 the university fund had Tsh 1,971/=. The following is the list of some of the people who contributed in cash.