Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Operations (SuMO)



    The Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Operations (SuMO) programme was developed to contribute to the competitiveness of agro-based industries and other business organizations through an embodiment of sustainable business management policies, principles and practices. To attract domestic and international private-sector investments, developing countries such as Kenya need compelling business models capable of contributing to poverty reduction and food security, and sustainable resource management. The programme, placed in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, and implementated within a collaboration framework with Faculty of Business and Mangement Sciences, provides exposure to students to business models for a wide range of domestic, regional and international socio-economic and environmental problems affecting agro-industries and other businesses in Kenya and beyond. The real-life case studies are used to expose students to sustainability cases and problems. The programme is tailored to provide Kenyan agro-industries and other businesses with the personnel they need to be regionally and globally competitive in sustainability aspects. Thus, the MSc graduates in Sustainable Management and Operations will contribute to the economic development process by applying novel knowledge, skills, experience and attributes in sustainability aspects in businesses and especially food trade and agro-industries. The hallmark of the training is innovation, creativity, freedom of thought and expression, and excellence, considering the prevailing national and international policies. Some global concerns and trends were incorporated into the syllabus such as globalization, industrialization, agribusiness and entrepreneurship (value addition and private sector development), sustainable development gender mainstreaming and environmental issues in higher education.

    Philosophy of the programme

    The programme is founded on the concept of sustainable development; a broad, dialectical notion that balances the need for economic growth with environmental protection and social equity. While businesses and their supply chains are the engines for economic development, there is a need to balance them with social, equity and environmental protection. The Master of Science in Sustainable Management and Operations is anchored on the increasing demand for competent manpower to sustainably manage businesses in the economy. Therefore, based on this training need, the programme envisions better managed businesses that would lead to improved liveliboods, economic growth as well as sustainable utilization of environment and natural resources. This philosophy is line with the University of Nairobi’s philosophy to be “a world-class university committed to scholarly excellence”. In training competent manpower, the programme is aligned to the global Sustainable Development Goals and country economic blue-prints that emphasize application of innovative research and transfer of knowledge to the beneficiaries.

    Rationale of the programme

       -Needs assessment/market survey/situation analysis

    The programme responds to the concerns of various stakeholders including students, trade and agricultural sector actors, agro-industries and other industries. To improve the management of organizations, there is need to build knowledge, skills and understanding of sustainable management and operations in businesses to promote rural development and economic growth. The findings from the situational analysis and stakeholders’ contributions reveal that there is a dire need for manpower with sustainable management and operations skills in business enterprises in the country. The programme is anchored on Kenya’s Vision 2030 and other national frameworks that foster sustainability in food security and job creation. The programme is also aligned with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that enhance the green economy and reduction of green-house gas emissions. The global, regional and local development frameworks call for organizations to contribute to the sustainable development agenda aimed at sustaining future generations. For example, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seek not only to harness food suppy chains and the large market size of Africa but also to establish mechanisms to support vibrant African economies while protecting people’s rights and the natural environment. Consequently, there has been increased pressure on both the public and private sectors to embrace sustainable management in their daily operations. These economic sectors are compelled to adhere to international standards and declarations to develop sustainable strategies geared at fostering circular economies. As a result, there is an increased demand among practitioners for graduates trained in sustainable management and operations.

       -Justification of the need for the programme

    Kenya as one of the emerging economies cannot operate in isolation from international pressure on issues related to sustainability and particularly in agro-industries. In addition, the need to increase foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Kenya calls for professionals in sustainable management and operations of agribusinesses. Most of the FDIs adhere to international standards aimed at cherishing sustainable development, hence requiring such experts. The programme adopts an inter-disciplinary approach that allows students from various fields such as agriculture, environment, food, health and nutrition, business, agribusiness management, logistics and supply chain management, forestry, entrepreneurship and agri-preneurship. In Kenya, particularly at the University of Nairobi, there exists no academic programme (at any level) that addresses the needed skills for sustainable development of businesses and agrienterprises. Few students get opportunities for such training abroad. Thus, the programme provides an opportunity for students to attain specialized skills both locally, regionally and internationally. The programme responds to the needs of the Kenyan businesses, agro-industry and other corporations, as well as capacity building and training institutions.

    Goal of the programme

    The goal of the programme is to produce skilled, motivated and internationally competitive graduates that will work effectively in a globalized business environment. The programme intends to equip the learners with knowledge, skills, attitudes and attributes of creative thinking and innovativeness towards enhancing sustainability. The graduates are expected to develop a mindset of self-reliance and make them sustainably utilize the limited resources in a continually changing business environment. Specifically, the programme empowers the learner to understand the interrelationships among social, environmental, technological and economic systems.

    Expected learning outcomes

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

    1. Describe important attributes in the operation of businesses and particularly small agroenterprises that enhance economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the society;

    2. Apply appropriate principles and practices of sustainable management and operations to provide solutions to the challenges facing business operations;

    3. Analyze appropriate knowledge and skills required for sustainable management of industries and particularly small agribusiness enterprises;

    4. Disseminate effectively information on sustainable management of businesses that is tailored to benefit communities through good leadership of their enterprises

    5. Evaluate sustainability and operations management policies that regulate food trade, logistics, and supply chains in the country and region.

    Programme Co-ordinator

    Prof. John Mburu

    Email -

    Telephone:  020 - 4916019

    Contacts of Support persons

    Agripina singa -

    Emmanuel Guantai -

    Dorcas Nduati -

    Schedule of intake

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

    Duration and structure

    The programme has a total of twelve (12) course units and one (1) thesis. Each unit has 60 lecture hours. To facilitate collaboration and student exchange with partner universities in Tanzania and Germany, the course units are subjected to the European Credit Transfers System (ECTS) where one (1) ECT equals to ten (10) hours. Six (6) ECTS per course unit were adopted as informed by the benchmarking report.

    12.2.1 The programme shall be offered by course work, research, examinations and a thesis.

    12.2.2 The programme shall take a minimum of two (2) academic years and a maximum of four academic years.

    12.2.3 There shall be two (2) semesters per academic year and the duration of each semester shall be 15 weeks.

    12.2.4 The programme shall consist of twelve (12) compulsory taught course units and a thesis.

    12.2.5 A course unit shall be defined as 60 instructional hours comprising lectures, seminars, term papers and guided research work.

    12.2.6 Each course unit has a loading of a minimum of 60 hours.

    12.2.7 A candidate shall carry out supervised thesis research, for a minimum period of one academic year, and a maximum of two (2) academic years, culminating in a Master’ thesis.

    12.2.8 The thesis shall be equivalent to twelve (12) course units which are equivalent to 720 hours.


    Mode of delivery

    Face-to-face mode

    This will be through lectures, discussion groups, seminars, guided field visits and industry tours, case studies and assignments

    Open distance and e-learning mode

    This will be through self-instructional and online self-study materials, including self-instructional study modules such as booklets, relevant literature to the course, and online interactive devices and self-tests; technical learning materials such as audiovisual, e-learning materials and video clips.

    Blended learning mode

    This will combine both face-to-face and online learning approaches including but not limited to: the use of online tools and resources such as Google classroom, YouTube, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Moodle and Blackboard; Hand-on practical exercises in the field, face-to-face group work in classrooms and face-to-face tutorials between online lessons; and use of cloudbased content and learning course management system application to connect with students online.

    Minimum admission requirements

    The common regulations for a Master’s Degree as approved by the Senate of the University of Nairobi shall apply. In addition, the eligible candidates for the programme should be at least:-

    3.1.1 Holders of a degree with at least Upper Second Class Honours in areas related to agriculture, environment, agribusiness, business, social science and natural sciences of the University of Nairobi or an equivalent degree from a university recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate, or

    3.1.2 A holder of a degree with at least Lower Second Class Honours in any of the degrees specified in (3.1.1) above with two years of relevant experience or a postgraduate diploma in (3.1.1) above or equivalent from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by senate.

    3.1.3 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 years relevant experience.

    3.1.4 A holder of a pass degree in any of the degree categories specified in (3.1.1) above with at least five years of relevant work experience.

    Regulations for credit transfers

    The common regulations governing credit transfer and exemptions of courses of the University of Nairobi shall apply.

    3.2.1 Candidates may transfer credits up to 1/3 of the total courses approved by the University of Nairobi Senate on the recommendation of the Faculty Academic Committee.

    3.2.2 Candidates seeking such credit transfer shall apply in writing, to the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, specifying the courses for which the transfer is desired and attaching relevant supporting documents. The supporting documents shall include an official transcript indicating courses that may be equivalent and descriptions and syllabi of the courses in which the applicant is seeking transfers of credit or an exemption.

    3.2.3 Transfer of credits shall be processed only after payment of the prescribed nonrefundable fees.


    Apply here:


    Programme Co-ordinator

    Prof. John Mburu

    Email -

    Telephone:  020 - 4916019

    Career Prospects/Opportunities

    • Shipping Companies
    • Imports and Exports Enterprises
    • SuMO PhD

    Attachment Opportunities

    • Kuehne + Nagel
    • Merck
    • DHL
    • FeDex

    Fees Structure

    SN Item Year 1 Year 2 Total (Ksh)
    1 Registration 4,500 4,500 9,000
    2 Tuition (KES 20,000/ unit) 260,000 160,000 420,000
    3 Examination 13,000 - 13,000
    4 Thesis Supervision - 100,000 100,000
    5 Thesis Examination - 30,000 30,000
    6 Laboratory and field fee 124,000 124,000 248,000
    7 ICT services 7,000 7,000 14,000
    8 Library 5,000 5,000 10,000
    9 ID Card 1,000 1,000 2,000
    10 Caution money (Refundable) 5,000 - 5,000
    11 Medical fee 6,500 6,500 13,000
    12 Activity Fee 2,000 2,000 4,000
    13 Student organization 1,000 1,000 2,000
      Total 429,000 441,000 870,000

    The guidelines for research money for the MSc degree is approximately KES 500,000 but the actual cost will depend on the type of research.


    Exam Regulations

    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 in Sustainable Management and Operations (SuMO).