PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics



    The Department of Agricultural Economics originated in 1970 when the University of Nairobi and the Faculty of Agriculture were established.  Its distinct character for many years was a commitment to provide excellent formal training in Agricultural Economics at the MSc degree level.  In 1999/2000 academic year, the department introduced new undergraduate degree programmes in BSc Agribusiness Management, BSc Agricultural Education and Extension.  The programs rolled out the first undergraduate graduates in 2003/2004.  In 2004/2005 academic year MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics was launched in the department.  This is a regional program under the name CMAAE offered in 16 universities with a third semester taken at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.  CMAAE first cohort enrolled in 2005/2006.  In 2008/2009, another regional (ASARECA) MSc programme in Agricultural Information and Communication Management (AICM) was rolled out in the department with a distinct focus on the enhancement of skills in Agricultural Information.  The first cohort in MSc-AICM enrolled in 2008/2009.  In 2011/2012 BSc Agricultural Extension/Education and MSc-AICM were put in ODEL mode of delivery and progress is underway to put all the programmes under e-learning.  PhD by research is offered in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Information and Communication Management.  In summary, the following degree programmes exist in the department:

    The PhD programme in Agricultural and Applied Economics aims to produce professionals with knowledge and skills in agricultural economics needed to transform African economies. The underlying premise of the program is that highly trained professionals in Agricultural and Applied Economics will be produced to address the problems of low agro-industrialization, poor innovation, and weak agribusiness development that continue to characterize much of African economies. Such professionals will be key to addressing challenges posed by smallholder agriculture, climate change, trade and marketing, policy, technology transfer, and natural resource management. These issues underpin the aspirations of African Union Heads of State and Government’s Maputo Declaration 2003 that established the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The PhD programme is expected to play a key role in the achievement of the Maputo Declaration and CAADP. It will also accelerate the achievement of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which envisions inclusive growth and sustainable development for Africa‘s transformation.
    The proposed PhD programme in Agricultural and Applied Economics resonates well with the Social Pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 which identifies education and training as the key drivers of the country into a middle-income and industrializing economy by 2030. The Vision emphasizes the provision of globally competitive quality education, training, and research to Kenyan citizens for development and enhance individual well-being. Thus a PhD programme in Agricultural and Applied Economics is urgently needed not only to give more space for CMAAE graduates from the University of Nairobi to advance their careers but also to respond to the high demand for postgraduate training and research skills in the Eastern Africa region.
    This PhD programme, which will be implemented by Coursework, Examination, and Thesis, is keeping in with the current market trends and best practices in higher education worldwide. The programme focuses on transformative education for quality training and applied research to meet the demand for skills required not only to manage the agricultural sector but also to address diverse issues in agricultural policy, trade, poverty, employment, and natural resource management. It therefore responds to the high and growing demand for highly skilled human resources in innovation, creativity, research, and community service in both public and private sectors.

    The objectives of the programme are to:


    • Equip learners with knowledge and skills in economic aspects of agricultural value chains, natural resources, poverty, policy, and other relevant areas
    • Provide quality training in applied agricultural research to meet the high demand for human capital development in Kenya, regionally, and in the African continent.
    • Produce professional agricultural economists, policy analysts, and researchers who can devise new techniques and policies for solving real-world problems affecting agriculture, food security, poverty, natural resources, and related areas.

    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.

    The coursework for the PhD Programme shall be delivered through either face-to-face sessions or through Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL).

    Face-to-Face Mode

    • There shall be full residential session for face-to-face teaching in two semesters of 15 weeks each.
    • Subject to staff-student schedules and space availability in the University, the face-to-face learning may be conducted during evenings and weekends in a semester of 15 weeks.
    • The course shall be conducted through lectures, discussion groups, seminars, guided field visits and industry tours, case studies and assignments.

    Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODeL) Mode
    The ODeL mode is a promising method of programme delivery whose feasibility will be utilized in the PhD coursework and will involve media delivery as follows:

    • Students will engage in self–study using developed requisite content to learners, learner support services such as multi-media approaches and limited face-to-face delivery sessions for course introduction and revision period before final examinations.
    • The programme shall run for a minimum of six semesters each of 15 weeks and a maximum of 15 semesters from the date of registration.
    • Self-instruction study modules shall be issued by the Department after payment of semester fees. These study modules will consist of:

    a) Course study materials.
    b) Relevant references.
    c) Interactive devices and self-tests.
    d) Access to information through computers and the e-learning platform.
    Library services.

    Students will be introduced to:
    a) ODeL delivery.
    b) Self-study, library services and computer skills.
    c) Time management, handling assignments and student/lecturer communication.
    d) Visits, office hours, collection of study materials, receipt of results, timetables and University scheduled activities.

    • Holders of a Master of Science degree in agricultural related disciplines, biological sciences, environmental sciences or in natural resource management or equivalent qualification from an institution recognized by senate.

    • Holders of Masters degree in relevant social sciences recommended by the faculty board and approved by the senate.


    Apply here:


    Programme Co-ordinator

    Prof. Jonathan Nzuma

    Email -

    Telephone:  020 - 4916019

    Contacts of Support persons

    Agripina singa -

    Emmanuel Guantai -

    Dorcas Nduati -


    Notable Alumni

    Dr. Fridah Maina

    Dr. Henry Mwololo - National Drought Management Authority (NDMA)

    Dr. Davis Muthini

    Dr. Mercy Mbugua - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

    Career Prospects/Opportunities


    Attachment Opportunities

    • IFPRI -International Food Policy Research Institute
    • ICRAF - World Agroforestry Centre
    • ILRI - Internation Livestock Research Institute
    • ICIPE - International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology
    • CIAT - Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
    • KARLO - Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
    • ICRISAT - International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
    • CIMMYT - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

    Agriculture Economics Expert



       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


    Exam Regulations
    1. Each course shall be examined separately by a three-hour written paper at the end of the semester in which the course is offered.

    2. The final examination shall account for 50% of the marks in each course, while continuous assessments shall account for the remaining 50%. The continuous assessments will involve seminars covering current issues in dryland resource management, international dryland development issues, and the rigours of proposal preparation. Apart from students giving seminars, and interacting with invited speakers, the course will involve a two-week prerequisite exposure to dryland conditions in Kenya whereby the students will give a seminar on topical issues based on the trip.

    3. The pass mark for each course shall be 50%. The Graduate Seminar course shall be examined by oral presentations of prepared papers on topical dryland resource management issues and shall have a pass mark of 50%. A candidate failing six (6) or more papers shall be discontinued.

    4. A candidate who fails in any paper may, on the recommendation of the Faculty Board of Examiners, and approval by the Senate, be allowed to sit the supplementary examination for a maximum of two times. A candidate who fails in any second supplementary examination or fails to complete the programme within the prescribed period shall, on the recommendation of the Faculty Board of Examiners and approval by Senate, be discontinued.

    5. The pass mark obtained after a supplementary examination shall be recorded as 50%.

    AAE 6200 Thesis

    1. The research project shall be examined by a written thesis and oral presentation. Students theses will be examined by two internal (within the University) examiners and one external examiner, followed by oral presentation/examination at the Faculty where the student is registered.

    2. Candidates will be expected to submit at least two publishable papers to peer-reviewed journals before graduating.

    3. A candidate who fails in the thesis shall be allowed two re-submissions; and shall be discontinued after a fail in the second re-submission.

    4. The thesis topic shall be agreed upon between the candidate and the approved academic supervisors.

    5. Each candidate shall be required to present a minimum of two seminars in the course of their research work.