Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics and Plant Breeding


    Philosophy of the Programme

    The programme is set to connect and inspire Kenyans and her neighbours through addressing some parts of the sustainable development goals in the quest to reduce poverty levels, hunger and quality education by providing leadership in plant breeding to address challenges biotic and abiotic factors that affect production and give hope to the society with excellence. It is also set to address the economic and social pillars of Kenya Vision 2030, anchored on Science, Technology, Innovation and Human Resources Development by educating the learners in advanced plant breeding and biotechnology aimed at empowering learners with the moral responsibility to incorporate proper practices in plant breeding.

    Rationale of the Programme

    Plant breeding has for a long time been focussed on developing varieties better suited for satisfying agricultural needs for food and nutrition, and even for clothing, fuel, drugs and aesthetically pleasing ornamentals. Improved plant materials have led to increased yields, better varieties for new agricultural areas, better agronomic and horticultural characteristics, varieties resistant to heat, cold, or drought and improved quality of agricultural products.The dynamism must urgently be captured by applying strategic capacity building for the benefit of agricultural development of the country. Due to this, Genetics and Plant Breeding programme is tailored to remain versatile in the face of changing climatic conditions and times by incorporating industry focused content and modern student-centred delivery methods.

    The programme content and mode of delivery is structured to meet the learners’ aspirations and open their minds to critical thinking and develop way to improve on what is currently in production with higher focus and efficiency. It will also contribute to the national, regional and international development goals like Vision 2030, Big 4 Agenda, African Union Vision 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to develop human capacity by training researchers of national agricultural research systems (NARS), international research organizations, trainers for tertiary institutions and policy makers for government.

    Objective and Expected Learning Outcomes of the programme

    The goal of the programme is to provide learners with the opportunity to develop confidence and skills to apply basic principles and apply the knowledge and skills acquired in Plant Breeding to address the problems at hand using both conventional and modern methods using the current information.

    By the end of the PhD programme, the candidates will be expected to:

    1. Apply appropriate research methodologies in data acquisition, analysis, packaging and presentation of research data.
    2. Analyze the current international and national agricultural policies and emerging issues in agriculture, food, environment, and gender.
    3. Apply effective communication in dissemination of research findings
    4. Develop a product design through which new varieties can be readily produced
    5. Critique the currently used methods of plant breeding and offer better alternatives to production of new germplas

    Duration and Structure of the Programme

    1. The programme shall take a minimum of three academic years and a maximum of five academic years.
    1. Each academic year shall consist of two (2) semesters of 15 weeks each.
    1. The Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology shall be offered by course work, research, examination and a thesis.
    2. The programme shall consist of five (5) compulsory taught course units and a thesis.

    Mode of Delivery of the Programme

    The PhD in Genetics and Plant Breeding programme will be delivered on a full-time or part-time, through Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) modes of study.The ODeL mode of delivery shall only apply for the taught course units, except the Graduate seminars.The main modes of instruction will be via face-to-face and electronic interactions as lectures, seminars and guided research.


    Students are admitted once every year usually in September with exception of variation that may be caused by unforeseen circumstances. Applications are, however, received all year round and are processed for yearly admission.

    Admission Requirements

    1. The common regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in the University of Nairobi shall apply.
    1. Holders of a Master’s degree in Plant Breeding and related sciences from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by Senate.
    1. In addition, the applicant shall hold a Bachelor of Science degree in any of the following: Agriculture, Biotechnology, Agricultural Extension Education, Soil Science, Seed Science and Technology, Botany and Zoology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry, Bachelor of Education in Science with botany and Zoology option and any other agriculture related disciplines from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by Senate.
    2. The applicant must produce evidence of adequate academic background in the discipline and capacity to carry out original research by submitting a research concept note on the proposed topic of study.
    3. The concept note shall include a brief statement of the problem, research objectives, research hypothesis, brief literature review, summary of proposed methodology, expected outputs, work plan and key references.
    4. Applicants from non-English speaking countries must produce evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English language.

    Application Information

    Online applications are accepted all year round at:

    The following documents are required to be uploaded during the online application:

    1. KCSE/ O-level certificate
    2. Certified copies of undergraduate certificate and transcripts
    3. Applicants with KCSE C (plain) to attach certified copies of a diploma from KNEC in addition to those stated in 1&2
    4. Applicants with KCSE C- (minus) to attach certified copies of a certificate and a diploma from KNEC in addition to those stated in 1&2
    5. Certified copies of masters degree and transcripts
    6. PhD proposal

    International applicants are required to attach:

    1. Documents certified by the university attended
    2. Evidence of accreditation status of the university attended
    3. Proof of English proficiency
    4. Translated documents into English for applicants from non-English speaking countries

    Contacts of Support Persons

    1. Prof.Paul M. Kimani – Programme Leader

              Cell phone: +254 735502345 or +254 724511585; e-mail:

    1. Prof. James Muthomi

             Chairman, Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection

              Contacts: +254 20 4916020; e-mail:

       Year I    Year 2    Year 3   Total 
    TUITION                432,000.00             432,000.00               432,000.00               1,296,000.00
    ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)                     7,000.00                  7,000.00                   7,000.00                     21,000.00
    THESIS EXAMINATION                                  -                                 -                   50,000.00                     50,000.00
    REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)                     4,500.00                  4,500.00                   4,500.00                     13,500.00
    ID CARD ( PER YEAR)                     1,000.00                  1,000.00                   1,000.00                        3,000.00
    CAUTION - (ONCE)                     5,000.00                               -                                  -                          5,000.00
    MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)                     6,500.00                  6,500.00                   6,500.00                     19,500.00
    ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)                     2,000.00                  2,000.00                   2,000.00                        6,000.00
    LIBRARY (PER YEAR)                     5,000.00                  5,000.00                   5,000.00                     15,000.00
    STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)                     1,000.00                  1,000.00                   1,000.00                        3,000.00
    EXAMINATION (PER UNIT @1000)                                  -                                 -                                  -                                       -  
    Grand totals     464,000.00   459,000.00    509,000.00   1,432,000.00