Master of Science in Plant Pathology


    The course in plant pathology aims at training and equipping technical personnel in all matters pertaining to plant disease and their management. Issues on crop protection play a key role in agriculture and in the horticultural industry which is now the fastest growing industry in Kenya.

    In-depth studies on the causes of plant diseases, factors that influence plant epidemics and effective management of the diseases will be taught. Training on pesticide efficacy and effects on the environment in relation to risks and proper usage of the chemicals will be given. Host-pathogen relationships, plant disease resistance and biotechnology aspects including biosafety aspects on transgenics and living modified organisms (LMO) will be addressed. The candidate will be taught research methodologies and will be equipped with the necessary tools, for undertaking research. The training will produce competent personnel capable of handling all issues relating to plant diseases and their management and capable of making enlightened decisions in the relevant field.

    Objectives of the program are to:

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

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

    c)   Develop competence in pesticide safe handling, usage, disposal, monitoring and evaluation in the environment.


    d)      Guide the candidates in carrying out a research project aimed at solving identified problems in plant pathology.

    e)      Train the candidates on how to communicate and present their findings in the form of seminars and publications.

       The degree program shall consist of coursework, examinations and project.

    (b)The course shall cover a minimum of 4 semesters and a maximum of 15 semesters and each semester will be 15 weeks.

    (c)   Each candidate will be required to take and pass in all the 9 compulsory courses.

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

    (e)  On successful completion of coursework, each candidate will be required to undertake a research project leading to an examinable project paper. The choice of the project shall be made in consultation with the department and the academic supervisor.

    (d)  Each course unit shall have a minimum of 45 lecture hours and 15 practicals and shall be covered in one semester.

    (g)The project will start at the second semester of study.


    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.

    1. Minimum Admission Requirements

      The following shall be eligible for admission:

        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. A holder of a degree with at least Lower Second Class Honours in any of the degrees specified common admission regulations with two (2) years of relevant experience or a postgraduate diploma in common admission regulations or equivalent from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by senate.
        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 and two (2) years’ relevant experience.
        4. A holder of a pass degree in any of the degree categories specified in common admission regulations with at least five years relevant work experience.
    2. Credit Transfer and Exemptions

        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.
        2. A candidate seeking transfer of credit shall send a formal application to the Academic Registrar, through the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, justifying and supporting the request. The supporting documents shall include an official transcript indicating courses that may be equivalent and descriptions and syllabi/ outlines of the courses in which the applicant is seeking transfers of credit or an exemption.
        3. Transfer of credits shall be processed only after payment of the prescribed non-refundable fees.

    Application for admission to Master programmes



    Career Prospects/Attachment Opportunities

    Pests and Diseases control
    Pesticides testing and production
    Non-Governmental Organizations
    Entrepreneurial self-employment in agricultural production
    National and international research organizations
    Lecturers in tertiary technical and academic institutions


    Year 1

    Year 2






    Tuition (KES 20,000/ unit)








    Thesis Supervision




    Thesis Examination




    Laboratory and field fee




    ICT services








    ID Card




    Caution money (Refundable)




    Medical fee




    Activity Fee




    Student organization









    Additional Charges (Ksh)

    1. Convocation                                                                      - 1,000
    2. Late registration                                                                 - 1,000
    3. Retention of registration*                                                  - 2,250/ semester
    4. Extension of studentship                                       -           10,000/ semester
    5. Remark of examination                                                     - 1,000/ paper
    6. Issuance of transcripts                                                       - 500
    7. Appeal                                                                               - 1,000
    8. Replacement of lost ID card                                              - 500
    9. Thesis processing                                                               - 8,000
    10. Extension of Correction period                                          - 2,000 per month
    11. Extension of revision period                                              - 3,000 per month
    12. Extension of supervision   period                                     - 6,000
    13. Examination of revised thesis                                            - 9,000
    14. Hire of academic dress                                                      - 4,000


    *For students who defer, or temporarily withdraw from their studies


    Guidelines for research money for the MSc degree is approximately KES 200,000 but the actual cost will depend on the type of research.

    Philosophy, Rationale
    1. COURSE DURATION: Two (2) years


      The philosophy of this programme is to train and produce world-class University graduates who will provide leadership and excel in research, academia and crop production with respect to issues on plant diseases and their management. The programme will provide quality training that embodies the aspirations of the Kenyan people and the global community through creation, preservation, integration, transmission and utilization of knowledge. The hallmark of the training will be innovation, creativity, freedom of thought and expression and excellence, taking into account the prevailing national and international policies.


      Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and represents about 34 per cent of GDP. Agricultural produce accounts for 65 per cent of Kenya’s total exports and the sector accounts for 18 per cent of total formal employment in the country. Horticulture and beverage crops such as tea and coffee are a major foreign exchange earner while staple crops like cereals and legumes are important for food and nutrition security in Kenya. However, major losses of up to 40 per cent are incurred due to diseases in the field, rejection of export produce due to the presence of disease-causing pathogens and during storage, in addition to contamination with mycotoxins in cereal grains.

      Therefore, 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 the minimum levels possible. Increased access to markets creates wealth at all levels, from macro-economic growth to poverty reduction both at the individual and family levels. The programme will produce competent plant pathology professionals who will be capable of handling all issues relating to plant diseases, their management and making enlightened decisions in this field.


      At the end of the MSc programme, the learner should be able to:

    2. Describe the biology of the causal agents of plant disease and how they interact with crop plants
    3. Analyse the current and emerging crop diseases challenges affecting agricultural production and food safety
    4. Analyse and design cost-effective and environmentally safe crop disease management strategies
    5. Apply the current phytosanitary policies regulating movement and trade in agricultural commodities
    6. Apply appropriate research methodologies in data acquisition, analysis, packaging and presentation of research data
    7. Design and apply effective methods to communicate and disseminate research findings and innovations/ patents
    Application Information
    Mode of Delivery

    Face-to-Face Mode

    Lectures, seminars, discussions, tutorials, guided practical experiments and demonstrations.

    Open, Distance and E-Learning Mode

    Home and/ or office-based media using a variety of self-instructional electronic and online self-study materials, such as; written self-instructional study modules, online interactive devices and self-tests, cloud-based content, videos of lectures mediated technical learning materials e.g. audiovisual and e-learning materials

    Blended Learning Mode

    A combination of face-to-face and online learning approaches.

    Contacts of Support Persons

    Prof. Maina Muiru

    Contacts: +254 20 4916020, e-mail:

    Prof James Muthomi

    Contacts: +254 20 4916020, e-mail:

    Notable alumni

    Prof. Daniel M. Mukunya – Retired Professor, University of Nairobi

    Prof. Agnes W. Mwangómbe – Professor, University of Nairobi

    Prof. Rama D. Narla         - Retired Professor, University of Nairobi

    Prof. Eunice W. Mutitu    - Retired Professor, University of Nairobi

    Dr. Robin Buruchara - CIAT Regional Director in Africa CIAT

    Prof. Ezekiel Kiprop – Professor, University of Eldoret

    Prof. John W. Kimenju - Professor, University of Nairobi

    Prof. Isabel Wagara – Associate Professor, Egerton University

    Dr. William Maina Muiru – Senior Lecturer, University of Nairobi