Agriculture is the main economic activity in Kenya, with horticulture being a major foreign exchange earner.  The export of high-value and labour intensive horticultural commodities, such as fruits, vegetables and ornamentals play a key role in foreign exchange earnings. However, for the country to fully benefit from international trade opportunities the produce must comply with international standards and the import requirements of the importing countries. Increased access to international markets creates wealth at all levels, from macro-economic growth to poverty reduction both at individual and family levels. At production level, the major challenge is to reduce crop losses from diseases, pests and weeds while safeguarding the environment and a large proportion of crop production expenses go to crop protection activities. As a result of market liberalization, different types of pesticides, crop products and planting materials are imported into the country. This calls for stringent measures to curb entry of insect pests, diseases, noxious and invasive weeds that are capable of destroying various crop enterprises and the environment. However, consumer preferences are towards pesticide-free, quality produce and new regulations such as EUREPGAP have been put in place by importing countries.


The revised MSc. Crop protection curriculum has introduced flexibility in the mode of delivery and incorporates new topics to address the changing job market requirements. Open and distance learning is preferred by employers and self employed people since it allows students to undertake training while still on the job.

The revised curriculum is, therefore, designed to offer client-friendly training in all aspects of crop and environmental protection to produce holistic crop protection graduates well prepared and equipped to meet the current job market requirements.



The objectives are to enable students to:

1.1  Acquire knowledge and skills to offer advisory services in all matters related to crop and environmental protection.

1.2  Design and execute research programmes aimed at solving crop and environmental protection problems.

1.3  Collect, analyse, interpret and present data in crop and environmental protection experiments.

1.4  Acquire competence in pesticide safe handling, usage, disposal and monitoring their fate in the environment.

1.5  Manage crop and environmental protection issues including integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) and other environmentally safe procedures.

1.6  To acquire entrepreneurial skills for use in creating employment opportunities.



The common regulations governing Master’s degree in the University of Nairobi and the Faculty of Agriculture shall apply.

2.1 A holder of a degree with at least Upper Second Class Honours in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Botany and Zoology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry, Horticulture or related plant science degree or Bachelor of Education in Science with botany and Zoology option and any other relevant subject from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by Senate.

2.2 A holder of a degree with at least Lower Second Class Honours in any of the disciplines specified in 2.1 above with two years of relevant experience or a postgraduate diploma in 2.1 above or equivalent from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by Senate. 

2.3 A holder of a pass degree in the disciplines specified 2.1 above with at least five years work experience in agricultural related field.



A candidate may be exempted from some course units and credits transferred from institutions approved by University of Nairobi Senate subject to the following conditions:

3.1 Must have passed in similar course units at postgraduate Masters level or equivalent.

3.2 The applicant can only transfer up to a maximum of one third of the course units.

3.3 The applicant must request for exemption in writing on admission through the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture to the Director of the Board of Postgraduate Studies.

3.4 The application for credit transfer must be accompanied by officially endorsed supporting documents, including the institution’s syllabus for the relevant courses and academic transcripts.

3.5 The applicant must pay the appropriate exemption fees as determined by the University.



The programme will be offered as full time, part time and through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) for students who cannot attend regular University programmes.


4.1  Full-Time

4.1.1        The degree program shall consist of coursework, examinations and thesis.

4.1.2        The course shall cover a minimum of 4 semesters and a maximum of 6 semesters and each semester will be 15 weeks.

4.1.3        Each candidate will be required to take and pass all courses.

4.1.4        Each candidate will be required to undertake a research project leading to an examinable thesis. The choice of the thesis research topic shall be made in consultation with the department and the academic supervisor.

4.1.5        Each course unit shall have 45 hours covered in one semester.


4.2. Part time

As in 4.1 above in addition to the following:

4.2.1        The course shall cover a minimum of 4 semesters and a maximum of 8 semesters and each semester will be 15 weeks.

4.2.2        A student shall be required to take a minimum of two and a maximum of four courses in one semester.


4.3. Open and Distance e-Learning

The mode of delivery of the Masters programme will be through open and distance learning modes involving largely home and/ or office-based media:

4.3.1 Written self instructional study modules issued at registration time

i.               Study course materials like booklets

ii.             Relevant literature

iii.           Interactive devices and self tests

4.3.2 Mediated technical learning materials for example:-

i.      Audio visual

ii.    e-learning materials

4.3.3 Limited face-to-face sessions to provide overview of the course at commencement of semester, mid semester and revision period before examinations.

4.3.4 Support study centers at the University of Nairobi

i.               Access to information through computers at the University of Nairobi.

ii.             Use of libraries at the University of Nairobi.

4.3.6 Orientation (immediately after registration):

i.               Orientation in ODL delivery.

ii.             Study, reading and computer skills.

iii.           Time management and techniques of handling assignments.

iv.           Mentorship, guidance and counseling.

v.             Emphasis is on satellite centers that serve as a link between the University and the student in the following manner: registration, collecting reading materials, collecting results and programmes, examination information, posting timetable and holding meetings.

4.3.7 Duration and the course load of the programmes.

The Open and Distance Learning programme will run for a minimum of 4 semesters of 15 weeks each and a maximum of 8 semesters of 15 weeks each. There will be three semesters per academic year. Therefore, the minimum calendar years for completion of the programme shall be 2 years and a maximum of 4 years. The minimum course load per semester will be 2 course units studied through the 15 weeks. Each course unit in the programme has a loading of a minimum of 45 hours. The thesis shall be equivalent to 8 course units.








ACP 601

Plant Mycology and Bacteriology



ACP 602

Plant Virology and Nematology



ACP 603

Crop Disease Epidemiology and Management



ACP 604

Vertebrate and Invertebrate Crop Pests



ACP 605

Weed Science and Management



ACP 606

Pest Management and Applied Pesticide Science



ACS 600

Biometrics for Agricultural Sciences



ACP 608

Environmental Protection and Management



ACP 609

Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques



ACP 610

Entrepreneurship in agriculture



ACP 611

Phytosanitary Legislation, Regulations and Standards



ACP 612

Research Methods and Scientific Communication



ACP 613










6.1. Written examinations

6.1.1        Each course shall be examined by a written paper lasting three hours at the end of each semester in which the course is given.

6.1.2        The coursework assessment shall account for 30% and written examinations for 70% of the final mark.

6.1.3        The pass mark for each course shall be 50 %.

6.1.4        The grading of the courses shall be as follows:

A = 70% and above;

B = 60 – 69%;

C = 50 -59%;

D = 0 – 49% (fail)

6.1.5        A candidate who fails in any paper may, on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners, and approval by the Senate be allowed to take up to two supplementaries in failed papers after paying the appropriate fees.

6.1.6        A candidate who fails in the second supplementary or fails to complete the programme in the prescribed maximum duration of 8 semesters shall, on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners and approval by the Senate, be discontinued.

6.1.7        The mark for a supplementary paper shall be recorded as 50% in the candidate’s academic record.

6.2. Thesis examination

6.2.1        Each student shall present a seminar on the thesis research proposal.

6.2.2        Each candidate shall submit for examination a thesis, with the approval of the academic supervisors, at the end of the final semester. The thesis shall be examined in accordance with the common regulations of the University of Nairobi.

6.2.3        A candidate who fails in the thesis examination may on the recommendation of the Faculty Board of examiners be allowed to resubmit the thesis within six months up to a maximum of two times.

6.2.4        A candidate who fails after the second resubmission or fails to complete the course in the prescribed period shall, on the recommendation of the Faculty Board and approval by Senate, be discontinued.



Candidates who satisfy the examiners in all written and thesis examinations shall be awarded a Master of Science degree in Crop Protection.



ACP 601: Plant Mycology and Bacteriology

General characteristics of fungi; fungi as plant pathogens; symptoms of fungal diseases; isolation and identification of fungi; classification of fungi: phycomycetes, zygomycetes, ascomycetes, basidiomycetes, deuteromycetes; examples of plant diseases caused by different classes of fungi. Economic importance of bacterial diseases; plant pathogenic bacteria; ecology and spread of bacterial diseases; host range; measurement of bacterial growth; diseases caused by plant pathogenic bacteria; entry of bacteria into plants; pathogenicity and virulence factors in bacterial diseases; plant response to bacterial infection; diagnosis of bacterial diseases: symptoms, microscopic examination, isolation, gram stain test, biochemical tests, serological tests, fatty acid-based tests, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based analysis, pathogenicity tests.


ACP 602: Plant Virology and Nematology

History and economic importance of viral plant diseases. Biology of plant viruses and their classification. Transmission of plant viruses and their movement in plants. Diagnosis of viral diseases and characterization of the causal agent. Management of diseases caused by plant viruses. Introduction: historical perspective, economic importance of plant parasitic nematodes; biology, dissemination, survival mechanisms and ecology of plant parasitic nematodes. Quantification of nematode numbers in fields. Classification of plant parasitic nematodes. Mechanisms of injury by nematodes and host parasite relationships. Symptoms associated with nematode infections. Important  diseases caused by nematodes and their management.


ACP 603: Crop Disease Epidemiology and Management

Importance of plant diseases; disease cycles; disease progress; factors affecting plant disease epidemics; quantitative epidemiology: measurement of environmental variables, host growth stages, measurement of inoculum, disease assessment, crop loss assessment; modelling plant disease epidemics: inoculum production and disease progress; methods of generating artificial epidemics; epidemiological basis of plant disease management; plant disease forecasting.Exclusion of the pathogen: plant quarantine, crop inspection, crop isolation, use of disease-free planting materials; eradication of pathogen inoculum: crop rotation, host eradication, sanitation, improved crop growth environment, heat treatment, seed and soil treatment, use of trap crops and antagonistic plants; host resistance; chemical control; biological control; role of Integrated pest Management (IPM) in disease management. 


ACP 604: Vertebrate and Invertebrate Crop Pests

Introduction; systematics and biology of insect pests and mites of important orders in agriculture Pest damage to crop plants; types of damage; host plant interactions. Control of insect pests and mites; cultural physical, mechanical, chemical, biological, legislature, plant resistance; identification and management of insect pests of crops: industrial crops, horticultural crops, food crops and oil crops of economic importance in Kenya; postharvest losses due to insect attack identification and management of storage insect pests of food and other processed crop products of importance in Kenya; biology behaviour, ecology and population dynamics of rodents and birds as crop pests; damage caused by rodents and birds on crops and food stuff, rodent and bird control methods; mechanical, trapping, biological, poisons and fumigation, shooting, trapping, scaring, chemical and physical exclusion.


ACP 605: Weed Science and Management

Botanical nature, identification, classification and economic importance of weeds. Weed biology and ecology. Dissemination of weeds. Weed seed dormancy. Weed-crop interference: competition and allelopathy. Weed control and vegetation management: prevention; physical; cultural; mechanical; chemical; biological and integrated weed management. Critical period of weed competition in crops. Yield losses due to weeds and loss assessment. Weed identification and management food, industrial, vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and fibre crops of economic importance in Kenya. Management of parasitic weeds: Striga; Orobanche and Cuscuta spp. Weed management in aquatic environments: lakes; ponds; rivers; and canals. Management of weeds in pastures and lawns. Techniques for measuring and analysing crop response to weed control. Weed competition and economic threshold; methods to study allelopathy.


ACP 606: Pest Management and Applied Pesticide Science

Concept of pest management; population dynamics of pests. Sampling pest populations; insect pest and damage assessment; pest scouting, monitoring, pest surveillance, pest forecasting, pest modelling; pest risk analysis (PRA); crop loss assessment; economic pest management; decision making and decision tools for pest management; philosophy concepts and techniques; integrated pest management: concept, principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), components of IPM, types of IPM systems, planning and development of IPM systems, implementation of IPM programmes, IPM farmer field schools (FFS), examples of IPM systems for specific crops. Range and classification of pesticides: herbicides, insecticides, nematicides, fungicides and rodenticides; pesticide formulation, physical and chemical properties of pesticides; mode of action; restance to pesticides; toxicology and food safety: risk assessment and management of pesticide residues in agricultural crops, pesticide residues and maximum residue limits, public health aspects, international trade implications; pesticide regulation, legislation and registration and marketing; Techniques and equipments for pesticide application; choice of appropriate pesticides; environmental fate of pesticides: persistence, inactivation and disposal, safe handling and storage of pesticides.


ACS 600: Biometrics for Agricultural Sciences

Review of descriptive statistics and basic inference.  Overview of sampling concepts: simple random sampling and proportional sampling. The concept of power and sample size determination.  Principles of experimental design: randomization, replication, error control. Modeling: translating study designs into statistical models considering both treatment and blocking structure; assumptions underlying a model; approaches to model fitting; correct handling of continuous and factor explanatory variables; data analysis, presentation and interpretation of coefficients and model output; Techniques for generalized linear models. Principles of survey and questionnaire design.


ACP 608 Environmental Protection and Management

Introduction and definitions; mother earth and life support components; interrelationships in survival mechanisms and use of natural products; balanced ecosystem; sources of pollution and man’s activities; natural disasters – volcanic, flooding, storms tsunamis; pollutants from agriculture, persistent organic pollutants, urban, industrial wastes and effluents emissions; environmental degradation; environmental impact assessment and audit; state of environment; air, water and noise pollution; Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, (EMCA) 1999; Climate Change; protocols conventions, agreements; millennium development goals; conservation of biodiversity and agrobiodiversity; erosion, agroforestry,  waste management and utilization; environmental education and awareness.


ACP 609: Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) structure, replication, mutations and repair: chemical composition; enzymes involved; replication model in prokaryotes; chemical mutagens. Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) structure, synthesis and processing. protein synthesis: gene coding; translation; initiation; elongation and termination. Protein targeting. Control of gene expression in prokaryotes. Eukaryotic chromosomes and gene expression: structure of eukaryotic chromosomes; repetitive DNA sequences; transcription factor and homeo box genes. Production of transgenic organisms: gene cloning methods; methods for transforming plant cells; selection of transformed cells, case studies; Tissue culture; use of Bacillus thuringiensis; transgenics for herbicide resistance; transgenics for increased protein storage capacity; molecular farming: production of pharmaceutical products, incorporation of vaccines in plant systems, disease control using genetically engineered transgenic plants, engineering for efficient biological nitrogen fixation; production of industrial enzymes and bio-degradable plastics. Biotechnology policies.  Biosafety rules and regulations.


ACP 610: Entrepreneurship in agriculture

The entrepreneurial perspective: nature and importance of entrepreneurs; entrepreneurial opportunities; creating and starting a venture: creativity and business idea, legal issues for entrepreneurs, the business plan; financing the new venture: sources of capital, informal risk capital and venture capital; managing, growing and ending the new venture: preparing for the new venture, managing early growth of the new venture, new venture expansion strategies and issues, going public, ending the venture; records in business management.


ACP 611: Phytosanitary Legislation, Regulations and Standards

Phytosanitary considerations in agricultural trade; technical trade barriers; World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement; International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and its committees; Codex Alimentarius Commission; WTO SPS Committee; Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); agrobiodiversity;Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; national biosafety regulations; National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs); International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs); Codex standards; regional standards; industry standards (EurepGap, KEBS, KenyaGAP ); principles of plant quarantine: import and export certification system, regulated non-quarantine pests, guidelines for phytosanitary certificates,code of conduct for import and release of exotic biological control agents, national legislation and regulations; certification; glossary of phytosanitary terms.


ACP 612:  Research Methods and Scientific Communication

Research process: problem analysis, literature review, developing the research question, hypotheses and objectives; understanding outputs/outcomes/impact; log frames and budget planning; research quality control including protocol development and critical review of research instruments such as questionnaires, field manuals, debriefing documents. Data management: disciplined use of spreadsheets for data entry, data validation, audit trails and archiving.  Scientific communication: thesis, scientific papers, power point slides, technical reports, posters, brochures, videos, policy briefs and press releases.


ACP 613: Thesis

In consultation with their supervisors, candidates will choose a topic from the field of study for their research. Before embarking on research, the students will be required to prepare a proposal which will be approved by the department. At the end of the research, they will write a thesis, present a summary of research findings and submit a thesis for examination.





Titlesort icon Course Code Course Hours Semester Year
Biometrics for Agricultural Sciences ACS 600 45 1
Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques ACP 609 45 3
Crop Disease Epidemiology and Management ACP 603 45 2
Entrepreneurship in agriculture ACP 610 45 3
Environmental Protection and Management ACP 608 45 2
Pest Management and Applied Pesticide Science ACP 606 45 2
Phytosanitary Legislation, Regulations and Standards ACP 611 45 3
Plant Mycology and Bacteriology ACP 601 45 1
Plant Virology and Nematology ACP 602 45 1
Research Methods and Scientific Communication ACP 612 45 1
Thesis ACP 613 360
Vertebrate and Invertebrate Crop Pests ACP 604 45 1
Weed Science and Management ACP 605 45 2