With the entry of the Adventist Church in Uganda in 1927 came also the first Adventist educational institution in Nchwanga in West Central Uganda. As in most cases of pioneering ventures, the primary function of the institution was to train pastors and church workers. In 1948 the institution moved to a newly purchased property of 640 acres in Bugema, 34 Kilometers from Kampala. Two years later a secondary education at ‘O’ level was started.

By 1970 a junior college began its operations training pastors for the field. Four years later, the denomination upgraded the institution into a four-year seminary, granting bachelor’s degrees in theology (BTh). In 1985 business was added, and in 1990 education. In 1994, the institution obtained a government license to operate as a university. The Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA) visited the University in 1995 and recommended accreditation to Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Business Administration (in Management and Accounting), and Bachelor of Arts in Religion.

Subsequent visit of the AAA and International Board of Education (IBE) allowed the university to restructure their programs under two schools: School of Arts and Social Sciences and School of Business. The former includes four departments: Development Studies, Education, Social Work, and Theology and Religious Studies. The later includes three departments: Accounting and Finance, Management, and Information Technology. Under these departments, the university offers 12 degree programs with various majors and several vocational certificates and professional licenses.

In year 2000, the university had student population of 800. There was a need to expand the offerings in various departments especially in the Department of Education. As a result, the following teaching courses were introduced in education: Geography, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English Language and Literature in English. The school of Social Sciences also expanded to include Development Studies. During the AAA evaluation of 2004 the student population was 1,236. Students come from 15 countries of Africa.

In 2008, the administration embarked on an extensive promotion for the university in Central, South and East Africa. In this same year the AAA evaluation team visited Bugema and found the enrollment at 2000 students. The growth of the university was appreciated by both the AAA and the National Council of Higher Education in Uganda which in turn recommended Bugema to the President of Uganda to be given a Charter on June 29, 2009. His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni signed the Charter on April 26, 2010. As all chartered universities in Africa are expected to do, Bugema started a Graduate School. The subsequent visits of IBE (2010) and AAA (2011) allowed the University to run a Graduate Program in Business Administration (MBA), in Education (MA), in Development (MA), and in Counseling Psychology (MSc), and an MPH program.

Bugema University holds accreditation from AAA and chartered by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Uganda through the National Council of Higher Education, as an institution of higher learning. The university has developed a quality assurance document which delineates self-regulating and self-maintaining procedures to maintain standards of quality in excellence in academic delivery and performance.

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