The College of Natural and Applied Sciences was established in April, 2009, formally known as Faculty of Science established in 1965 and was among the oldest Faculties at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Initially the Faculty comprised the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, and Zoology. After its establishment the main function of the Faculty of Science was to train science teachers for secondary schools and colleges, civil servants with a basic scientific knowledge and researchers for research institutes, most of which were at that time under the East African Community.
The Faculty was also involved in training of staff for the University's staff development programme, although to a great extent advance training for this category of staff was mainly done abroad. During the academic Year 1999/2000, the Faculty has established the new Department of Computer Science.
During the early 1970, a need was identified to train science graduates in water resource management and therefore a Hydrology Unit was established within the Faculty which started to produce graduates with B.Sc.(Hydrology) degrees. In no time, however, this programme was transferred to the new Faculty of Engineering.
In the mid 1970s the Chemistry Department initiated an M.Sc. Programme in Applied Chemistry which ultimately gave birth to the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering.
Another degree programme which was established in early 1970s was a B.Sc. in Geology, this being offered by the newly established Department of Geology which was housed in the Department of Chemistry. In the same period various undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes were established by the faculty, with the aim to diversify the scientific training offered by the Faculty in relation to the national manpower requirements.
The economic hardships which started to face Tanzania during the 1980s seriously affected the development of the Faculty of Science. Thus, beside the establishment of the Applied Microbiology Unit in the Department of Botany, no other major scientific programs were initiated during this period. In the fields of research and consultancies the Faculty has been experiencing an unfavourable situation.
The high financial resource inputs required for establishing research laboratories in science and the corresponding requirements for research student funding and consumable serially affects the development of scientific research in the Faculty of Science, especially geared towards research and development. Furthermore, the generally weak university/industry relations which are brought about by, among other things, the general weakness of the Tanzanian industrial sector and therefore lack of vision towards research and development. This situation also makes the capability of the Faculty in offering consultancy services to the Tanzanian socio-economic sector not to be fully utilized, especially in the fields of contracted research and R and D.