Masters Programmes

INTRODUCTION

The 20th century has seen a dramatic increase in our knowledge of nature and natural processes. The applications of biotechnology are so broad, and the advantages so compelling, that virtually every industry is using them. Biotechnology is increasingly becoming important in many aspects of life. Biotechnology is enabling industries and institutions to create new or better products, often with greater speed, efficiency and flexibility. Consumers are beginning to see the benefits in the foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the environment we live in. Thus, time is ripe for African countries to intensify training and utilisation of proven biotechnologies.

Plant biotechnology is a rapidly expanding discipline within the broad field of biotechnology. Horticulture program at Egerton University has developed the critical capacity for training and research, leading to the degree of Master of Science in plant biotechnology. The course is offered in collaboration with experts in sister departments within the University and in plant-based industries. Broad hands-on-experience and industrial applications are emphasised to make the course useful and rewarding to employers, as well as to graduates in employment or private entrepreneurship.

 Among plant sciences such as forestry, horticulture, and agronomy, horticultural sciences are highly valued and rapidly growing worldwide. Contribution of horticulture towards farm incomes, employment-opportunity creation, wealth creation, and food security has lately experienced unprecedented growth, although its vast potential still remains under-exploited. Plant biotechnology promises to be an avenue that will help exploit the vast untapped potential of horticultural and other sciences.

JUSTIFICATION

Plant biotechnology provides a method for mass production as well as for modifying and improving crops and other plants, which enhance the quality of life. It is, therefore, redefining agriculture and all plant-based industries. Plants are now being used to synthesise plastics and medicines (pharmaceuticals), as well as modification of traditional crop products.

Plant biotechnology, thus, requires broad-based knowledge of botany, breeding, genetics, physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as proficiency in applied agricultural sciences such as crop science, crop protection, crop production, horticulture, entrepreneurship, and managerial skills.

The Department of Horticulture is fairly well equipped with expertise and facilities necessary to conduct teaching, research and entrepreneurship in plant biotechnology. The in-depth training in procedures such as micropropagation, genetic transformation, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, gained while working alongside experienced staff will prove invaluable for candidates aspiring to pursue academic-, research-, production-, or management-based careers in plant biotechnology.

OBJECTIVES

The major aims of this programme are to provide opportunities for outstanding graduates to:

  • Prepare for rewarding careers in teaching, research and management in plant biotechnology.
  • Learn the basic and applied sciences behind plant biotechnology.
  • Gain holistic training in procedures such as micropropagation, genetic transformation, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics of plants.
  • Apply the acquired skills to exploit the potential of high-value horticultural and other plants.
  • Learn to conduct and manage plant biotechnology projects as a team or independently.
  • Develop an appreciation of the current scope of plant biotechnology, as well as understand biosafety and bioethical issues surrounding modern plant biotechnologies.

ADMISSION REGULATION

Applications for admission shall be considered for those holding a Bachelor of Science degree, in any of the plant-based disciplines, with a minimum of upper second-class honours, or its equivalent, from Egerton University or any other recognized institution. In addition, each applicant should request three persons, one of who shall have taught the applicant at a university level, to send letters of reference directly to Director of Board of Post-Graduate Studies.

Registration Status

There shall be two categories of registration for the M.Sc. degree in plant biotechnology:

  • Full-time students: - students registered under this category shall be required to complete their degree requirements within three years.
  • Part-time students: - students registered under this category shall be required to complete their degree requirements within four years.

COURSE DETAILS

Regular graduate courses are numbered in 700 series and above.

Earning Graduate Credits

To graduate with a M.Sc. degree in plant biotechnology a candidate shall be required to obtain a cumulative weighted average of grade ?B? or higher. However, to earn a graduate credit, a candidate shall be required to pass with grade ?C? or higher in each course.

Study Load

The usual maximum and minimum load for full-time students registered for M.Sc. in plant biotechnology shall be sixteen (16) and nine (9) credit factors credit factors per semester, respectively. The maximum and minimum load for part-time students shall be nine (9) and six (6) credit factors per semester, respectively. This study loads may vary where a candidate has completed coursework requirements.

Auditing Courses
With the consent of lecturers concerned, a graduate student may audit by attending and participating in all sessions of non-compulsory courses. Taking tests and examinations is optional. Such students shall not earn credit factors for the audited courses, but shall be awarded the "AU" symbol.

Credit Transfer
Subject to recommendation by the Department of Horticulture and approval by the Board of Post-graduate School, a student may transfer a maximum of six (6) credit factors of graduate level course, provided that such credit factors were obtained with grade "B" or above, from recognized institutions.

EXAMINATION

Examinations shall consist of continuous assessment, which shall account for 40% of the final grade and the end of semester examinations that shall account for 60% of the final grade. The examination may either be reports, written, practical, oral, or combinations of all, depending on the course. RESITS: Egerton University Statutes shall apply.

THESIS

All candidates enrolled for the Master of Science degree in plant biotechnology shall be required to conduct independent research leading to writing of a thesis. The thesis shall be awarded the grade of "P" if accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Master of Science degree in plant biotechnology or "F" if the thesis is not accepted.

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Faculty of Agricuture, P.O. Box 536, Egerton.

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