Copperbelt University

THIS INSTITUTION in the northern Zambian town of Kitwe was established as an autonomous university (it began as a satellite campus of the University of Zambia) in 1987. Since then, the Copperbelt University has enjoyed significant growth, particularly since the turn of the 20st century. It operates four faculties. The original two were inherited from its University of Zambia days: the School of Business and Industrial Studies, and the school of Environmental Studies.

Then in 1989, the Zambia Institute of Technology was incorporated into the university as its School of Technology. This was followed in 1995 by the School of Forestry and Wood Science (later renamed the School of Natural Resources).

The student body, most of whom are enrolled in undergraduate programmes, is heavily weighted towards males who constitute 81 percent of the total. The situation is even more unequal in terms of academic and research staff: here only 25 of the 193 staff are women.

Postgraduate studies constitute a small proportion of academic activity, and post graduate degrees among staff are limited largely to masters level (66 percent), while only 12 percent hold doctoral degrees. Research is correspondingly low. Only 10 Copperbelt University publications appeared in accredited journals between 2004 and 2007, and only two books were published in the same period. Nevertheless, the university has a clearly defined research policy that sees the generation of new knowledge as ‘a major component of academic work’.

Now, two new schools are being added to Copperbelt University’s repertoire. The first is the School of Mathematics and Natural Resources, which will contain departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Mathematics and Science Education, each offering BSc degrees with postgraduate prospects. The second school will deal with Graduate Studies, and will co-ordinate and encourage all existing postgraduate academic programmes, and will also seek international research linkages.

Facts and Figures at a Glance1

The Copperbelt University is a predominantly contact institution, although some distance learning is also provided. In 2007, the university had a total enrolment of 4,273 students, of whom 3,752 were contact and 521 were distance students. The majority of students enrolled at the university are Zambian nationals, with three SADC nationals and four students from other international, non-SADC countries.

Table 1: Copperbelt University - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, July 2007)  


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree
Science, Engineering & Technology 1,600 1,600 0 0 0
Business, Management & Law 1,556 1,438 0 118 0
Humanities and Social Sciences 759 759 0 0 0
Other (Natural resources) 358 358 0 0 0
TOTALS 4,273 4,155 0 118 0

Source: Copperbelt University questionnaire response

Table 2: Copperbelt University: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 72
Business, Management & Law 29
Humanities and Social Sciences 48
Other (Natural Resources) 19
TOTALS 168 (87%)

Source: Copperbelt University questionnaire response



[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.