The University of Nairobi’s Housing Research Development Unit (HDRU) was initially established as a project unit within the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Development. The Unit was mandated to conduct research towards improving housing conditions and community services in both urban and rural areas. In 1991, the Unit was upgraded to the Housing and Building Research Institute (HABRI) which was managed by a Board and headed by a Director. During the University’s restructuring exercise in 2005, the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Development was reorganized to form School of the Built Environment and School of Art and Design. In the same context, the Department of Architecture was enjoined with HABRI and renamed, Department of Architecture and Building Science. At the time of merging the Department of Architecture and Building Science together with HABRI, the institute was already conducting postgraduate programs leading to Master of Urban Management (MUM) and Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Management. The responsibility of both the Master of Urban Management (MUM) and Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Management were therefore transferred to the Department of Architecture and Building Science where they are currently offered.  


    The Doctoral programme’s philosophy is in line with the University’s which is to provide leadership and stewardship as well as to give hope and faith to the Kenyan society so that graduates can excel in whatever they choose to do with passion, moral responsibility and a strong sense of patriotism.

    This is further deepened by the Department’s philosophy which is based on commitment to the search for authentic Architecture through promotion of a sustainable environment with the pursuit of excellence in order to meet the needs of the built environment at the local, regional and global levels.

    In pursuing this philosophy, the Department expects that doctoral candidates shall undertake research that explores the management of human settlements and advances the knowledge and understanding associated with actions which improve urban living conditions.


    Cities in East Africa are currently being characterized by rapid population growth, shortages of affordable housing, increased poverty and crime rates, urban sprawl, poor governance and low institutional capacities which have contributed to the proliferation of informal settlements, environmental, sanitation and financial challenges at a time when the world is gearing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There is a significant need for concerted efforts in re-examining existing urban policies with a view of enabling decision makers and development partners to explore short and long term intervention strategies for sustainable urban development through technical support and multi-sectoral approaches.

    Kenya has witnessed a rapid rate of urbanization since independence in 1963. According to the 2019 census report, 31.2% of the total population is living in urban areas. Furthermore, the total number of urban centres has risen to approximately 1000 of which 269 urban centres have a population of 2,000 and above. According to the World Bank Report of 2019, Kenya is urbanizing at a rate of 4.4% per annum which is significantly higher than the global and Sub-Saharan Africa urban growth rate of 2% and 4.1% per annum respectively. The high rate of urbanization presents an opportunity for development and poses a serious challenge at the same time. This has made the Government of Kenya recognize the need to manage urbanization as part of its overall development strategy. Kenya’s overall response to urbanization is articulated in the National Urban Development Policy of 2016 of which its overall objective is to provide the framework for sustainable urban development.

    Under the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, county governments have been assigned the responsibility for delivery of basic services at a time when institutional arrangements including structures and mechanisms for intergovernmental cooperation and transfer of resources for delivery of policy priorities, are still evolving. The Urban Areas and Cities Act (UACA) of 2011, amended in 2019 partially addresses this urban governance deficit, by providing procedures for chartering cities and urban areas through Boards and Committees. Such Boards and Committees, appointed by county governments, have delegated responsibilities for the management of cities, municipalities, towns and markets and remain accountable to their respective county governments. However, to date, very few counties have fully established and functional Urban Boards/Committees that manage individual cities, municipalities, towns and markets on a delegated basis. Currently, there are at least 59 municipal boards that have been created through support from Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP).

    A paramount challenge for the new millennium is therefore the management of rapidly expanding urban areas (cities and towns) in the Global South.  It is imperative, therefore, that governments train managers for this challenge.  Urban management calls for multi-disciplinary as well as multi-stakeholder engagement from diverse fields including: architects, planners, engineers, economists, sociologists, managers among several others. It further demands practices that range from development of theory, through decisions on site and supervision to policy formulation and articulation.  Therefore, in acknowledging that there are limited capacities for counties to address urbanization and the deficit in dedicated institutions for urban management, the Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Management is intended to advance knowledge in the areas of urban governance and administration, public finance, infrastructure, environmental management, economics and transportation among others. This is imperative in providing a solid foundation for balanced academic teaching (including theory and research methods) and professional development and practical training relevant to urban management in Kenya and other countries in East Africa and in the region in pursuit of sustainable human settlement development.


    The programme’s overall aim is to advance theoretical as well as practical skills in urban management. As such, the objectives of the programme are: -

    1. To advance knowledge on urbanization processes and urban development praxes.
    2. To induct critical analytical skills for the assessment of global urban development trends based on social, economic, spatial and governance point of view.
    3. To enhance technical and managerial capacities of urban governance in the global context.
    4. To promote successful formulation of urban reform programs within the decentralization and devolution framework.
    5. To enhance skills for successful implementation of urban programmes.

    Mode of Delivery

    • Face-to-Face Mode

    This is through lectures and tutorials using notes, electronic presentations, instruction manuals, group discussions, practical laboratory demonstrations and fieldwork.

    • Open, Distance Learning and e-Learning

    In case of delivery through ODeL, special arrangements shall be made for the practical laboratory, field work and computing sessions. Where not feasible alternative arrangements will be made to do them on campus. 

    • Blended Learning

    This is a hybrid of face to face with Open, Distance Learning and e-learning.

    Schedule of Intakes

    The Department admits new students at the beginning of every academic calendar year (which is usually September)

    Contacts of Support Persons


    Telephone: +254-020-491 3519,

    P.O Box 30197-00100, Nairobi

    Email:  architecture@uonbi.ac.ke

    Located at ADD Building, along State House Road, Opp. YMCA

    Notable Alumni

    Notable alumni of the programme include:

    • Gathoni Juliet Muiga: obtained both degrees of Master and Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Management in 2009 and 2016 respectively. She is engaged in academia and is currently a Senior Lecturer and the Chairman, Department of Construction Management, Kenyatta University, Kenya.


    • Daniel Giti Mutegi obtained both degrees of Master and Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban Management in 2016 and 2020 respectively. He is currently a Senior Housing Officer in charge of Public Private Partnership Management in the Department of Housing, Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Government of Kenya. Apart from being a part-time lecturer in public and private universities in Kenya, he is also a consultant on housing issues.


    Admission Requirements

    The common regulations for the Doctoral Degrees in all Faculties of the University of Nairobi shall be applicable.  The following shall be eligible for registration for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Management:


    1. A holder of a Master of Urban Management degree from the University of Nairobi or any other University/Institution recognized by Senate as being of comparable academic status.
    2. Under special circumstances holders of Master of Architecture, Building Economics, Land Economics, Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Geography, Government, Law, Social Work, Sociology, Urban and/or Regional Planning or any other relevant discipline from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by Senate as being of comparable academic status may be admitted if their proposed areas of study falls within the specialised areas of urban management. In this case, such candidates must have relevant work experience in the national and county governments, multilateral organisations, voluntary agencies or private sector organizations concerned with planning, provision of services or construction in the urban areas.

    Credit Transfer and Exemptions

    1. There shall be no credit transfer in the Doctoral programme in Urban Management
    2. There shall be no exemptions in the Doctoral programme in Urban Management

    Application Information

    You will be required to enter some basic information, including your email address and to choose a password. We will then send you an email to the address you entered, so that we can validate your account. When you have clicked on the validation link (sent to you in the email), you will be able to log in to the application system using the "Login" box below

    For instructions on how to apply click here

    To apply online here

    TUITION            480,000             480,000         480,000            1,440,000
    ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)                7,000                 7,000             7,000                 21,000
    THESIS EXAMINATION                     -                        -             50,000                 50,000
    REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)                4,500                 4,500             4,500                 13,500
    ID CARD ( PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
    CAUTION - (ONCE)                5,000                      -                     -                     5,000
    MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)                6,500                 6,500             6,500                 19,500
    ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)                2,000                 2,000             2,000                   6,000
    LIBRARY (PER YEAR)                5,000                 5,000             5,000                 15,000
    STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
    Grand TOTAL            512,000             507,000         557,000            1,576,000


    3 Years

    Attachment Opportunities

    • Attachment in Policy development in the area of urban management with both National and County Government and international organizations

    Career Prospects

    • Doctoral graduates of the programme acquire strong skills in critical analysis of urban problems, plannning, implementation, coordination of activities and negotiation skills for the implementation and  development of projects. They attain strong capabilities for generating policy options, innovative strategies and solutions to global and local problems, designing and implementation of urban development programs and projects. They further take on strong attitudes towards pro-poor urban development programmes, improvement of service delivery and customer satisfaction, collaborative attitudes to work in partnership with different urban actors, proactivity and commitment to capacity-building and motivation towards opportunity creation. 


    • With opportunities provided by devolution as enshrined in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, a Doctor of Philosophy graduate in Urban Management has numerous opportunities and directions for career growth in the public sector within the counties, in multi-national organisations, academia and private sector as urban management consultants, NGO specialists, development practitioners and advisors as well as liberal politicians.


    • A number of the academic staff members involved in the programme are practicing in their fields of specialisation and their teaching material is made up of their real-life case studies. This has enabled learners to apply theories learnt in the classroom to actual situations, so once they graduate they have the practical skills that employers are looking for. Therefore, participating in the programme provides a gateway to an international network of urban professionals, institutes, capacity building initiatives, contacts with donor agencies and training centres. Wherever one goes in the world every city needs urban managers. Ultimately, 65% of our alumni are currently working in the public sector and multilateral agencies implementing urban initiatives.

    The Doctor of Philosophy degree shall be carried out by research as recommended by the School of the Built Environment Board and the Board of Postgraduate Studies and approved by Senate.