The University for Development Studies (UDS) is Ghana’s first public University in the North. It was established in May, 1992 by the Government of Ghana (PNDC Law 279) to “blend the academic work with that of the community in order to provide constructive interaction between the two for the total development of Northern Ghana, in particular, and the country as a whole (http://www.uds.edu.gh/about-us/history-and-facts. Retrieved October 10, 2018).
UDS was borne out of the new thinking in higher education which emphasizes the need for universities to play a more active role in addressing problems of the society, particularly in the rural areas (Effa, 1998).
The University by its mandate and constituency has a pro-poor focus. This is reflected in its methodology of teaching, research and outreach services. The specific emphasis on practically-oriented, research and field-based training is aimed at contributing towards poverty reduction in order to accelerate national development.
It began academic work in September 1993 with the admission of forty (40) students into the Faculty of Agriculture (FoA), Nyankpala and currently has student population of 19,720.
With six (6) Schools, nine (9) Faculties, three (3) Institutes and 4 Centers (including two Centers of Excellence), the University operates a multi campus system: The Faculty of Integrated Development Studies (FIDS), Faculty of Planning and Land Management (FPLM), School of Business and Law(SBL)and French Center are located on the Wa Campus. Faculty of Education(FoE),School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), School of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS), Graduate School, Institute of Inter-Disciplinary Research and Consultancy Services (IIRaCS), Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are on the Tamale Campus. Whereas the Nyankpala Campus houses the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment (FNRE), Faculty of Agriculture (FoA), Faculty of Agribusiness and Applied Economics (FAAE), Faculty of Communication and Cultural Studies (FCCS) and School of Engineering (SoE); the Navrongo Campus has the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAS), Faculty of Mathematical Sciences (FMS) and the Faculty of Earth & Environmental Sciences (FEES). The oldest Faculty is FoA and the youngest is the FEES. The two Faculties were established in 1993 and 2017 respectively. The UDS currently runs both graduate and undergraduate programmes at the various campuses of the University. The University also runs community-outreach activities and research programmes geared towards creating an enabling environment for sustainable community development and economic growth. This is a combination of the academic and community-based field practical work known as the Third Trimester Field Practical Programme (TTFPP).
The University is envisaged to be a Home of World Class Pro-Poor Scholarship. This is reflected in its motto: “Knowledge for service” as well as its methodology of teaching, research and outreach programmes.
The mission of the University is to:
Promote equitable and socio-economic transformation of communities through practically-oriented, community-based, problem-solving, gender- sensitive and interactive research, teaching, learning and outreach activities.
Provide higher education to persons suitably qualified for and capable of benefiting from it.
Position itself as a national asset in the facilitation of lifelong learning.
Develop its Information and Communication Technology infrastructure as the driving force for the education of more people, more rapidly and the improvement of efficiency and academic quality in order to advance community and national development.