The Department of Mechanical Engineering is among the first departments set up in this university in 1956 in the then Royal Technical College. This college was later transformed and upgraded by an Act of the East African High Commission on 25 th June 1961 into the second University College in East Africa under the name "Royal College Nairobi".

On 20 th May 1964, the Royal College Nairobi was renamed University College Nairobi and on attainment of "University College" status, the institution was admitted into special relation with the University of London in February 1961. From this stage the Department of Mechanical Engineering started training students in East Africa for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (University of London).

In June 1963, the University of East Africa was inaugurated and students started enrolling for B.Sc. Degree in Mechanical Engineering of the University of East Africa. The University of East Africa was later dissolved in July 1, 1970 and through an Act of Parliament the University of Nairobi was set up. Henceforth students enrolling in the department prepared for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering of the University of Nairobi. The department continued training students in Mechanical Engineering from the three East African states i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania up to about 1980. Thereafter, the majority of students trained have largely been Kenyans