Master of Science in Agronomy



    Agronomy was traditionally defined in the context of a speciality area of arable agriculture

    emphasizing field crops. While breeders attempt to match varieties to the environment,

    agronomists attempt to adapt them to the environment and management. Agronomy,

    therefore, is the cornerstone of all crop productivity which must be driven by the necessary

    education, training, research and capacity building in light of the following imperatives: use

    of improved seed and other inputs, knowledge in plant and cell physiology, management of

    rhizosphere dynamics, decision-making related to biological and environmental constraints.

    In the changing times, emerging interest in precision agriculture and the sensitivity of

    agriculture to climate widens the scope of agronomic education, training and research. For

    instance, possible changes of climate and their effects on plants, soil, pests and diseases;

    effects on agricultural potential, on production and land use; implications for food security

    and adapting to climate change are a few of the emerging concerns for contemporary crop

    production. The agronomy discipline is thus called upon to provide capacity that will

    produce abundant agronomic products in the 21st Century and beyond.

    The programme is thus tailored to meet the needs of a wider public clientele than has

    traditionally been the case. It is made more flexible and versatile to allow any course to

    be taken in an occasional mode or a carry-over on its own as a unit (or its fraction)

    toward the prescribed parts of the programme. Two specializations (one in field crop

    production and the other in environmental agronomy) do broaden the programme

    horizons as options students may wish to take relative to the prevailing job market

    opportunities and the emerging advances in the field of agronomy. More over, the

    programme is structured in such a way as to fit more library time, self-study and part-time

    learning where full time undertaking is not possible.

    The objectives of this programme are therefore: -

    (i) To produce graduates with ability to identify research problems, design and execute

    research projects aimed at solving the problems within a changing agricultural

    environment. At the same time, the training is to update the agronomists with the

    latest developments in the field of crop production and/or environmental agronomy.

    (ii) To train highly skilled agronomists who will help optimise the country

    • The degree programme shall consist of 7 core courses, 4 specialization courses and a research project.

    • The minimum duration of the course shall be four semesters and the maximum shall be 12 semesters (extended duration). Each semester shall consist of 15 weeks or equivalent. For extended duration, the minimum number of course units taken in a semester shall be three.

    • A course unit shall be defined as consisting of 45 contact hours of lectures, tutorials, practicals or demonstrations and seminars, separately taken or in combination.

    • The core courses shall be taken in the first semester or equivalent while the specialization courses shall be taken during the second and third semesters of study or equivalent. Each student shall be required to major in only one of the two speciality areas.

    • Candidates shall be required to take 11 level-600 courses, which must include all the six compulsory courses plus four specialization (option) courses. The project report shall be separate.

    • The minimum number of course units taken in a semester shall be 3 and the maximum 6.

    • The project shall be regarded as equivalent to ten course units.

    • Candidates shall be required to participate in Research Methods and Graduate Seminars as an examinable course unit


      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.

    Minimum Admission Requirements

    The following are eligible for admission:

        1. A holder of a degree with at least Upper Second Class Honours in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Horticulture, Botany and Zoology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry, 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. Holders of a degree with at least Lower Second Class Honours in any of the degrees specified in common admission regulations with two years of relevant experience or a postgraduate diploma in common admission regulations or equivalent qualification from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognised by Senate.
        3. Holders of a pass Bachelor’s degree in disciplines specified in common admission regulations above and a postgraduate diploma or its equivalent from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by the senate.
        4. A holder of a pass degree in the disciplines specified in common admission regulations with at least five years relevant work experience.

    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.

    Career Prospects/Attachment Opportunities

    Researcher in Agronomy and Agricultural areas

    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

    COURSE DURATION: Two (2) years


    The programme philosophy is anchored on the increasing demand for competent manpower to sustainably intensify food production systems in the advent of climate change and higher input costs while conserving the environment. Therefore, based on this training need, the programme envisions better adaptation strategies in crop systems for the provision of adequate food, feed, industrial raw materials and improved livelihoods.

    This philosophy is in line with the University of Nairobi’s philosophy to be “a world-class university committed to scholarly excellence”. By training competent manpower, the programme is aligned to the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS, 2019 to 2029), Kenya’s Vision 2030, Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other economic blue-prints by applying innovative research and transfer of knowledge to the beneficiaries.


    The agriculture sector plays a vital role in Kenya’s national economic development as a source of livelihood, industrial raw materials and employment. The Kenya government’s ASTGS, which is in line with Vision 2030 seeks to transform agriculture to grow the economy and alleviate poverty. This strategy underpins the need to build capacity that will drive increased crop productivity while managing resources and the environment sustainably. Universities will contribute to the realization of the Country’s development goals such as food security and agro-raw materials by developing curricula that strengthen manpower capacity to meet the needs of the agriculture sector.

    The major challenge of increasing crop productivity to meet the needs of an increasing population is to do so efficiently while safeguarding the environment as well as crop quality and safety. Crop productivity is primarily influenced by biotic (weeds, insect pests and diseases) and abiotic stresses (such as low soil fertility, drought and heat stress) and the interaction between crop genotypes and the environment. Under these yield-limiting conditions, increasing crop yields while conserving the environment will require multiple skills that enable an agriculturist to integrate knowledge on crop-environment interaction, as well as robust analytical and communication skills. The programme is geared towards developing professionals that are knowledgeable and skilled in generating and applying new technologies in crop production and environmental protection.


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

    1. Explain concepts, key principles and practices in agronomy
    2. Design field and laboratory-based experiments as well as modelling studies to solve existing research problems.
    3. Analyse experimental data using robust statistical procedures and software
    4. Diagnose crop production constraints in crop systems, environments and socio-economic conditions.
    5. Develop and implement sustainable crop production technologies, innovations and management practices
    6. Apply effective communication skills in the dissemination of research outcomes to a diverse audience.


    Application Information

    Application for admission to Master programmes


    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

    Department of Plant Science and Crop Protectiion

     Contacts: +254 20 4916020; e-mail:

    Dr. Onesmus Kitonyo

    Prof. James Muthomi ( Chairman)

    Notable alumni

    Prof. Ratemo W. Michieka- Professor of Agronomy, University of Nairobi

    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. Isabel Wagara – Associate Professor, Egerton University