National University of Science and Technology

ZIMBABWE’S SECOND city, Bulawayo in the southwesterly quarter of the country, gained its own university – the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) – in 1991. Ten years later, the country’s second medical school, the Bulawayo College of Health Sciences was established,
housed within NUST facilities, but with its clinical departments set up in the Mpilo and United Bulawayo hospitals.

The idea of a second university for Zimbabwe first surfaced in the years immediately following independence, but it was not until the late 1980s that a commission was set up to explore the possibilities. The commission’s conclusion was that in view of the increasing number of A-level students exiting the country’s schools, university expansion‘ is not only justified: it is a necessity’. So in 1991, the new university opened its doors with 270 students and 28 academic staff. By 2007, the academic staff complement had risen to 182, with 82 percent of them holding qualifications at masters level, and the remainder with doctorates. Besides the health sciences college, NUST offers a variety of academic programmes through its three faculties: Commerce; Applied Science; and Industrial Technology. An innovation with considerable potential is the setting up of a university-related Technology Park where NUST will interact with local industry, effecting technology transfer and the commercialisation of university research. It is planned that a likely first focus in the Park would be in the fields of electronics and ICT.

The problem in the present climate is start-up funding. Finance is everywhere the problem. Students from other SADC countries have decreased substantially as Zimbabwe’s economy has moved towards collapse. NUST has the ICT infrastructure to facilitate regional collaboration, but lacks the necessary technical support. Nevertheless, a few collaborative programmes still exist with neighbouring countries. However, the greatest impediment to more vigorous regional  partnerships, according to NUST itself, is internal apathy.

Facts and Figures at a Glance1

All students at the National University of Science and Technology are contact students, and most (85%) study on a full-time basis. The majority of students (4,763) are national citizens, while 16 are international students from within the SADC Region, and two from outside of the SADC Region.

Table 1: National University of Science and Technology - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 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 Other qualifications (short courses, certificates etc.)2
Science, Engineering & Technology 2,009 1,885 0 139 15 0
Business, Management & Law 2,032 1,519 81 432 0  70
Humanities and Social Sciences 451 423 0 28 0  25
Health Sciences 26 26 0 0 0  0
Other (Built Environment) 263 250 0 13 0  0
TOTALS 4,781 4,073 81 612 15 95

 Source: Ntaional University of Science and Technology questionnaire response

Table 2: National University of Science and Technology: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 109
Business, Management & Law 34
Humanities and Social Sciences 18
Health Sciences 11
Other (Built Environment) 10

Source: National University of Science and Technology questionnaire response

[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.
[2] Short-term courses are not part of the main National University of Science and Technology programmes and are run by a continuing education unit.