JKUAT was started in 1981 as a college (Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology) by the Kenyan government with the support of the Japanese government.
In September 1988 JKCAT was declared a constituent College of Kenyatta University and it operated this way until December 1994 when it was established as a full university, thus changing its name to JKUAT.
The university offers a range of science related online courses and programs, such as building sciences, architecture, engineering and science, to cope with the high demand for higher education in Kenya.
JKUAT emphasizes on science and technology and it has the following college and institutes: College of Engineering, Institute of Energy & Environment Technology, Institute of Computer Science & IT, Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Institute for Biotechnology Research.
In recognition of the potential benefits of distance education, JKUAT Vice Chancellor appointed a committee of Open Learning, Distance Learning and eLearning whose mandate is to create modalities for delivering education through eLearning.