Modern higher education in Ethiopia began with the founding of the University College of Addis Ababa on March 20, 1950. When formal lectures started in the College on December 11, 1950, the Faculty of Science, one of the only two Faculties then, had only two departments or sections, known as Section A and Section B. In Section A, students were given basic training in Engineering, which would enable them to go abroad to specialize in one of the many branches of Engineering, whereas those in Section B were prepared for Medical School as well as for further studies in Biology and allied fields.
In 1956-57 the Faculty took a step forward by changing the three-year Section B program into a four-year B.Sc. degree program in Biology. By 1959-60, there were three B.Sc. degree offering programs in the following combination of subjects: Course A -Mathematics and Physics; Course B -Biology and Chemistry; and Course C -Chemistry and Geology. Similarly, in 1959-60, the Section A program was amalgamated with the newly established Engineering College.
When the Haile Selassie I University was established in 1961, the Faculty of Science was reorganized into five teaching Departments, all offering B.Sc. degree programs. These were the Departments of: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics. A Forestry Department, the Natural History Museum and the National Herbarium were established a little later, while a Statistical Training Centre was opened in the Department of Mathematics, center that developed into a full-fledged Department of Statistics in the early 1970s.
The Geophysical Observatory was founded in response to a request made by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics to the University College of Addis Ababa. A permanent geomagnetic observatory was opened on the campus of the College in 1957 as the contribution of Ethiopia to the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. A seismic unit was subsequently installed in 1959.
Current status of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences
The College of Natural and Computational Sciences in its more than 50 years of establishment has gone through various stages of development. Currently, the College comprises eight departments, two schools, two institutes, and three multidisciplinary programs offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
The College of Natural Sciences has a Dean and three Associate Deans (Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, and Associate Dean for Research and Technology Transfer).