MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PLANT PATHOLOGY
Masters
2

 

REVISED REGULATIONS AND SYLLABUS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PLANT PATHOLOGY

 

1.0          INTRODUCTION

Agriculture is the main economic activity in Kenya, with horticulture being a major foreign exchange earner and the staple crops are important to food security.  However, for the country to attain food security and to fully benefit from international trade opportunities, pre- and post harvest crop losses due to plant diseases must be reduced to minimum levels possible. Increased access to markets creates wealth at all levels, from macro-economic growth to poverty reduction both at individual and family levels. The postgraduate training programme in plant pathology will cover causes of plant diseases, factors that influence plant disease epidemics and their management, including training on pesticide use, efficacy and their effects on the environment. Host-pathogen relationships, plant disease resistance and biotechnology aspects will also be addressed. In addition, the trainees will be taught research methodologies to equip them with tools required in experimental design, data collection, analysis, interpretation andcommunication of research findings. Therefore, the training programme will produce competent personnel capable of handling all issues relating to plant diseases, their management and making enlightened decisions in this field.

 

The revised MSc. Plant Pathology curriculum has introduced flexibility in the mode of delivery and incorporates new topics such as entrepreneurship and phytosanitary regulations in order to address the changing job market requirements. Open and distance learning mode is preferred by employers and the self employed since it allows students to undertake training while still on the job.

The revised curriculum is therefore, designed to offer client-friendly training in plant pathology to produce graduates well prepared and equipped for the modern job market.

 

 

The objectives of the programme are to:

1.1 Train qualified personnel in the field of plant pathology who will be competent in identifying and managing plant diseases using environmentally safe procedures.

1.2    Equip the candidates with the necessary tools to undertake research in all fields of plant pathology.

1.3 Train the candidates on how to collect, analyse, interpretcommunicate and present their research findings in seminars, workshops and scientific publications.

 

2.0          ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

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 degrees 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 with a postgraduate diploma in the above relevant disciplines or its equivalent from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by the senate.

2.4 A holder of pass degree in any of the degree categories specified in (2.1) above with at least five years relevant work experience.

 

3.0 TRANSFER OF CREDITS AND EXEMPTIONS

3.1 A candidate may be exempted from taking some course units and be allowed to transfer credits of the same up to a maximum of one third (⅓) of the taught units provided that these are from institutions recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.

3.2 A candidate seeking transfer of credit shall send a formal application to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, through the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, justifying and supporting the request.

3.3 Transfer of credits shall be processed only after payment of the prescribed non-refundable fees.

 

4.0 COURSE STRUCTURE AND DURATION

The programme will be offered as full time, part time and through Open and Distance e-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 and a maximum of 8 semesters and each semester shall be of 15 weeks duration.

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 shall be of 15 weeks duration.

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, Distance and 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 Face to face introductory tutorials

4.3.3 Mediated technical learning materials for example:-

i.       Audio visual

ii.      e-learning materials

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

4.3.5 Support study centers at the University of Nairobi

i.                Access to information through computers at the University of Nairobi and other resource centers.

ii.              Use of libraries at the University of Nairobi and other institutions.

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 e-Learning programme will run for a minimum of 4 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.

 

 

5.0 COURSE OUTLINE

Code

Course

Hours

Semester

APP 601

Principles of Plant Pathology

45

1

APP 602

Plant Mycology

45

1

APP 603

Plant Bacteriology

45

1

APP 604

Post harvest and Seed Pathology

45

2

APP 605

Applied Pesticide Science and Environmental Management

45

2

ACP 602

Plant Virology and Nematology

45

2

ACP 603

Crop Disease Epidemiology and Management

45

3

ACS 600

Biometrics for Agricultural Sciences

45

1

ACP 609

Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques

45

3

ACP 610

Entrepreneurship in agriculture

45

2

ACP 611

Phytosanitary Legislation, Regulations and Standards

45

3

ACP 612

Research Methods and Scientific Communication

45

1

APP 613

Thesis (Equivalent to 8 course units)

360

All

 

TOTAL

900

 

 

6.0 EXAMINATION REGULATIONS

6.1. Written examinations

6.1.1Each 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%;

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 Board of Postgraduate studies 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.

 

7.0 AWARD OF DEGREE

Candidates who satisfy the examiners in all written and thesis examinations shall be awarded a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology of the University of Nairobi.

 

8.0 COURSE DESCRIPTION

APP 601: Principles of Plant Pathology (45 hrs)

Concepts; importance, nature and classification of plant diseases;  plant-pathogen interactions; pathogenesis: inoculation, penetration, infection, production, liberation and dissemination of inoculum; diagnosis of plant diseases: symptomatology, culturing, histopathology, proof of pathogenicity; principles of disease resistance: variability in plant pathogens and development of new pathogen strains, types of host resistance to diseases: tolerance, vertical and horizontal resistance; physiology of parasitism.

 

APP 602:  Plant Mycology (45 hrs)

Economic importance of fungi in agriculture; characteristics, nutrition, growth, reproduction, taxonomy and nomenclature of fungi; a general survey of important groups of fungi;  morphology, taxonomy, life histories and economic importance of pathogenic forms in different groups: phycomycetes, zygomycetes ascomycetes, basidiomycetes and deuteromycetes; management of fungal diseases.

 

APP 603:  Plant Bacteriology (45 hrs)

Economic importance of bacterial diseases; morphology, structure and reproduction of bacteria; growth and survival of bacteria and environmental factors affecting them;  physiology of bacterial plant pathogens: symptomatology and epidemiology of bacterial disease of plants; diagnosis of bacterial diseases with reference to important bacterial diseases of crops in Kenya; management of bacterial diseases.

 

ACP 602: Plant Virology and Nematology (45 hrs)

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 (45 hrs)

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. 

 

APP 604:  Post harvest and Seed Pathology (45 hrs)

Importance economic importance and losses due to seed borne diseases; examples of seed borne diseases; symptoms of seed infection; seed infection routes and location of inoculum; detection and quantification of seed borne inoculum: direct examination, blotter and agar plate methods, seedling symptom test, growing on test, serological and molecular techniques; International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) rules for seed health testing. Post harvest diseases of cereals: storage fungi and deterioration during storage, factors influencing deterioration, mycotoxins; post harvest diseases of fresh produce: vegetables, fruits, tubers and roots; management of post harvest diseases.

 

APP605: Applied Pesticide Science and Environmental Management (45 hrs)

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.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.

 

ACS 600: Biometrics for Agricultural Sciences (45 hrs)

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 609: Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques (45 hrs)

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 (45 hrs)

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 (45 hrs)

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 (45 hrs)

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.

 

APP 613: Thesis (360 hrs)

In consultation with their supervisors, candidates will choose a topic from the field of plant pathology for their thesis research. At the beginning of the thesis research, the students will be required to prepare and present 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.

 

Regulations

Documents

 

Courses