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About Addis Ababa University

MapBackground Information

On March 20, 1950, Emperor Haile Silassie I declared the foundation of the University College of Addis Ababa, which includes the faculties of Arts and Science. It was renamed Haile Selassie I University in 1962 and then Addis Ababa University in 1975. At the time there were only 33 students enrolled compared to the current number of about 45,000 students. Starting from only one diploma and certificate granting department, namely Biology, the University today comprises more than 25 faculties.


Addis Ababa University aspires to be a pre-eminent African research university dedicated to excellence in teaching, critical inquiry, creativity and public action in an academic community that cultivates and celebrates diversity.


The mission of AAU is to foster a democratic university, which gives pride of place to its students in instruction and provision of services while encouraging the robust exercise of academic freedom. This will be achieved by developing vibrant graduate programs and by nurturing professional competence, a humanistic education, a scientific culture, academic excellence and a committed, ethical citizenship.


The University is guided by commitment and embodies the following set of core values: academic freedom, excellence, integrity and professionalism, diversity, tolerance and mutual respect, social responsibility and public service, initiative, reliance on authority of reason, student-centeredness, efficiency and appreciation of African initiatives.



2010 Students enrolment 


Enrolment 2009/2010





Regular Undergraduate








Graduate Studies (Regular)








Graduate Studies (Evening)








Continuing education






14, 669




30, 348


12, 149


42, 497


According to AAU Registrar archives, over 200,000 students have graduated in different disciplines and levels from AAU during its 60 years of existence.

The year 2010 has the highest number of graduates and this is particularly so with graduate programs of the University brought about as a result of the shift in mission towards graduate studies.

Presently, the various faculties and colleges of the AAU  run undergraduate academic programs leading to BA/BSc, BEd,  MD and DVM degrees while most of them also have graduate programs in these and other areas leading to MA/MSc, MEd, MPh, Specialty Certificate and PhD Degrees. Diploma programs are phased out from the regular as well as from the continuing education programs.


Colleges, Faculties, Institutes, and Schools @ at AAUAAU

  • College of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • College of Management, Information and Economic Science (former FBE)
  • College of Natural Sciences (4 Kilo Campus)
  • College of Health Sciences (the former Faculty of Medicine)
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Commerce (COC)
  • College of Development Studies
  • Skunder Boghossian College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT)
  • Ethiopia Institute of Architecture Building Construction & City Development (EiABC)
  • Faculty of Law (FOL)
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Physical and Chemical Sciences
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FVM)
  • School of Pharmacy (SOP)
  • School of Journalism and  Communication (SJC)
  • School of Social Work (SSW)
  • Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology (IPB)
  • Institute of Language Studies (ILS)
  • Institute of Educational Research (IER)
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES)
  • Institute of Federalism
  • Institute of Peace and Security
  • Ethiopian Languages Research Centre (ELRC)


Research Institutes of AAU

  • Institute of Development Research (IDR)
  • Institute of Pathobiology (IPB)
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES)
  • Institute of Educational Research (IER)
  • Institute of Gender Studies (IGS)
  • Ethiopian Languages Research Centre (ELRC)

Other Units of AAU

  • Geophysical Observatory
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Herbarium
  • AAU Libraries
  • AAUNet/ICT Development Office
  • Addis Ababa University Press


AAU is following a new strategic vision which among other things underscored the shift in its mission, duly responding to the objective reality of the time. AAU articulated its leading role, among higher education institutions in the country, which obliges it to mirror its future growth in the light of expanding and maintaining excellence in relation to graduate studies. In this respect, the University is striving towards excellence in teaching and learning, research and contributions to the wider community where it would take democratic principles, multiculturalism, gender mainstreaming and affirmative procedures in perspective. In view of the new strategic vision, reforms are underway in the different sections and units of AAU. 


One of the striking developments in the recent history of AAU is graduate program expansion. It was in the 1978/79 academic year that Addis Ababa University stretched its arms to graduate level education in a limited number of academic programs. The graduate programs went on for about two decades with minimum growth until the year 2000. In the 2001/02 academic year, the University entered a new phase of graduate expansion.

The current graduate enrolment is more than 7,127 students, which is fast increasing as a result of expansion of existing programs and launching new ones. There are 230 postgraduate programs (160 masters, 2 postgraduate diploma, 14 specialty certificates and 54 PhD) at AAU. This year, AAU has presented over 2000 graduates with MA/MSc, Specialty Certificates and 15 PhD degrees. Many of these new programs have graduates while the rest will have graduates in the coming years. New graduate programs will open soon. 

This clearly demonstrates that AAU is fast catching up with the growing needs of the country in high level trained human resource in diverse academic fields. Graduate Programs at AAU is firmly linked with undergraduate education and research.


For more information, please contact:
Communication Office,
Office of the President,
Addis Ababa University
Tel: 251 111 239705
Email: commoffice@aau.edu.et OR emrakebassefa@aau.edu.et



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