Faculty of Arts

Welcome to Faculty of Arts
arts@abu.edu.ng | +234 803 060 1051

The Faculty of Arts is located within the core of the Main Campus, Samaru. As one of the twelve Faculties of Ahmadu Bello University, is reputed to have existed before the formal establishment of the University. As a foundation Faculty that soon metamorphosed into the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty was, from its inception, poised to play a leading role in the administrative development and academic accomplishments of the University. The intricate relationship between the Faculty of Arts and Ahmadu Bello University can be better appreciated by going into the history of the University itself. The idea of a University in Northern Nigeria came up following the recommendations of the Ashby Commission on Higher Education in Nigeria appointed by the Federal Government in 1959. By dint of hard work of the personages assigned to the task, the seed sown by the Lord Eric Ashby Commission quickly matured into fruition and the first University in the North was born on 14th October, 1962. By a unanimous decision of the Northern House of Assembly, it was named after Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, in recognition of his invaluable services to the North and the nation. If Zaria became the site of the new University, it was because of the concentration of relevant academic institutions in this ancient city at the birth of the University.


African Languages and Culture

The Department was established in Zaria in 1976 to teach the appreciation of the phenomenon of language through the systematic study and effective usage of particular indigenous Nigerian and other African languages in their major manifestations including literature and culture. Prior to this date, however, the ABU had for over a decade been turning out graduates of two African languages (Hausa and Arabic) in two distinct departments at its Kano (Abdullahi Bayero College) Campus, which henceforth attained full University status. The Kano Campus also commenced postgraduate graduate programmes during that period.


The Department of Arabic was established in March, 2011 following a split of the former Department of Nigerian And African Languages into two distinct Departments: - Department of Arabic, and - Department of African Languages and Cultures The Department of Arabic aims at teaching appreciation and conducting research in the assorted phenomena of Arabic language through systematic study and effective usage of the language in its major manifestations including linguistic characteristics, literature and culture. Prior to this date, however, the University had for over half a century been turning out graduates of Arabic at its Kano (Abdullahi Bayero College) campus, which attained full University status. The Kano Campus also commenced postgraduate programmes during that period.


Archaeology as a discipline has been in the academic environment of the Ahmadu Bello University since the 1960’s. It came into being as a part of the defunct Centre of Nigeria Cultural Studies (as a research arm of the centre with its focus on the documentation and study of the early history of Nigerian). Scholars such as Sutton, Thurstan Shaw and Connah all played active roles in this formative stage of the archaeological enterprise in Ahmadu Bello University. Apart from the above, Ade Obayemi was also part of the Pioneers of the work in ABU. These scholars conducted research in and around Zaria as well as all over northern Nigeria. In 1976 the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences strongly recommended to the Academic Planning Committee to Establish a Department of Archaeology within the Faculty. Approval for the running of Archaeology teaching programme as... Read More


English at Ahmadu Bello University is a challenging discipline. It is made up of a number of courses in Linguistics and Literary Studies aimed specifically at enabling students, first to improve their linguistic and communicative competence: second, to learn to think critically and imaginatively through systematic exposure to the best literary materials available in fiction, poetry and drama: and third, to be creatively engaged in producing new literature and drama in English. The Department was one of the first to be established in 1962 in the University under the leadership of a renowned literary scholar, Mr. A.J. Creedy, a Reader, assisted by Miss Margery Morris (who set up the English Language Laboratory). Miss Anderson, James Simmons (a poet), and two others, all from Leeds University, United Kingdom. They worked hard to develop an integrated language, hoping to produce competent users and writers in English in the northern part of Nigeria.


French studies were introduced into the then Faculty of Arts in 1962, as a Unit within a Department of English and Modern European Languages, with a Unit Head to take care of French, under the ferule of the Head of the large Department. As time wore on, and with the increase in students’ numerical strength in French, it was deemed necessary to create a Department of French, very distinct from the former large Department, which had become, simply, the Department of English. This was in 1986. The newly created Department of French had its own Head of Department, with its own curriculum, different from what it had been previously. And as a Department, it mounted two (2) syllabuses, namely Syllabus A and Syllabus B, both of which ended in the BA (Honours) in French. Syllabus A was for those who had Higher School Certificate (HSC) or GCE, Advanced Level, while Syllabus B took in candidates who had no HSC/GCE, A/L. These two syllabuses differed only in the beginning, but ended finally in the same BA Hons. Later, more HSC/A/L holders came in, and it was found necessary to harmonize and the two syllabuses merged into one syllabus for BA Hons. French Degree. This... Read More.


The Department of History of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was established in 1962 the same year the University was founded. One of the pioneering academic departments in the University at its take-off, the Department of History had had the good fortune of developing a tradition of excellent historical scholarship under the leadership of eminent scholars who have served as Heads of the Department3 over the years The first among the sixteen senior academics who have served as Heads of Department from 1962 to date (2012) is the Late Professor Henry Fredrick Charles Smith (Later Abdullahi Smith) who joined the services of Ahmadu Bello University in 1962 from the University College Ibadan where he served in the University’s Department of History. At Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, he became the founding Head of the Department of History in 1962.


The history of the Department of Philosophy in Ahmadu Bello University started around 1996 and 1997 when Prof. Yakubu Nasidi was the Dean of Arts. The Dean formed a committee to work out the procedure of establishing the department in the Faculty of Arts. After considering report of the Committee by the Faculty Board of Arts it was recommended to the University in 2004. The university returned it to the Faculty for more input in 2008. The Dean, Prof. Adebayo A. Joshua then, assigned Prof. M.L. Aminu to handle the issue and pursue the matter. The proposal was updated and subsequently presented and defended by Prof. M.L. Amin in 2010 after succeeding Prof. A.A. Joshua as the dean of Arts. The proposal was then approved by both the APC and the Senate of A.B.U. in 2010. The University’s cognizance of the fact that the Department will face staffing problem agreed that academic activities should commence with postgraduate programmes in order to develop manpower to handle the Department. Thus, the first sets of students admitted are the newly recruited staff of the department. ... Read More.

Theater and Performing Art

The Theatre and Performing Arts Department was created on the 2nd of June 2006. The programme was formerly called Drama which existed as a sub unit under the Department of English and Drama, a status which it has maintained for 31 years before it now became a full fledged department. As a result of the change of nomenclature and status our courses have to be re-designated and new ones taken on board in order to bring our programme in line with what operates in similar departments all over the world. In addition, we have responded to the NUC accreditation report and our curriculum review and strategic plan by coming up with innovative programmes to add relevance to our catchment area and the nation in general. We have adequate staff available to run the various programmes and courses which have been designed to make our students job creators instead of job seekers.


  • African Languages & Culture
  • Arabic
  • Archeology
  • English
  • French
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Theater & Performing Art
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