Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses to develop bio-products to meet the human needs. Molecular Biology is a subject in basic sciences that aims at understanding the molecular basis of biological activity (micro-organisms, human, animal, plant). It is a multi-disciplinary that creates understanding of the interactions between the various systems  as well as possible manipulations.

Training in biotechnology and molecular biology will provide competency that will contribute towards improving the character of bio-products. As such, relevant areas of molecular biology will provide knowledge appropriate to the attainment of capacity directed towards providing local solutions to problems of food security, environmental sustainability, energy and health

The PhD program will be undertaken within JKUAT-PAUISTI institute. It will provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge required to transform natural resources and their livelihoods. It is envisaged that students graduating from this programme will have attained the necessary competency to face the challenges that abound in local and international research institutions, industry and academia where their contribution is greatly needed.

This program is designed to produce individuals who are researchers, innovators, trainers and consultants in the field of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Target Group

This program is intended for individuals with a Masters degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology or closely related fields who wish to undertake research in Biotechnology. In particular, the program targets the following groups:
i.    Researchers from academic, research institutions and industry intending to carry out research in Biotechnology
ii.    Individuals from industry or government departments who wish to expand their range of expertise in Biotechnology and for continuous professional development
iii.    Individual entrepreneurs who wish to further their studies and improve their technical, research and innovative skills

Aims and Objectives of the Programme

The aim of this program is to produce qualified researchers, innovators, trainers and consultants in the field of biotechnology for economic transformation of Africa. The program intends to develop future leaders of biotechnology with complimentary skills in the area of business and entrepreneurship. By developing links with the industry, the program will facilitate a multi-disciplinary, project oriented learning environment


The Graduates from this program should be able to:
i.    Carry out scientific research in the area of biotechnology  and  be able to effectively disseminate the findings
ii.   Translate current knowledge into technologies
iii.  Design  trans-disciplinary solutions to biotechnology  and social challanges
iv.  Demonstrate Creativity, Innovativeness,  entrepreneurship and leadership skills

Admission Requirements

An applicant should satisfy any of the following requirements:
1.The common regulations for all PhD degrees at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology/ Pan African University shall apply.
2.An applicant should hold a Master of Science degree in molecular Biology or a related biotechnology discipline granted by PAU or by an institution recognized by the university senate from a recognized university.
3.A holder of other qualifications recognized by the University Senate as being equivalent to (2) above.
4.In addition, a candidate shall have submitted a research concept note to be eligible for admission.

Duration of the Programme
The PhD program shall extend over a minimum period of thirty-six (36) months and not more than forty eight (48) months.

Structure of the Programme
i.    The PhD in biotechnology shall be done by course work, examination and thesis.
ii.    The PhD will be offered in any one of the following specialized areas:
•    Pharmaceutical
•    Genetic Bioengineering
•    Food Biotechnology
•    Medical Biotechnology
•    Plant and Animal Biotechnology
iii.    The first year of study shall be devoted to course work and examinations and a candidate shall take six (6) course units in this first year
iv.    A unit is defined as the equivalent of at least forty two (42) 1 hour lectures. For this purpose 2 hours of tutorial and 3 hours of laboratory work is taken to be equivalent to one lecture hour.
v.    A candidate MUST pass the examinations at the end of first year second semester to proceed to second year
vi.    The second and third year of study shall be devoted to carrying out of research, participating in seminars, and presentation of thesis. Candidates may undertake research cutting across in any of the areas above. (6.2 (ii)).


1    Part I Examinations

1.1     Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biotechnology shall be required to pass all the first year units.
1.2     Each course unit in the first year, shall be examined at the end of the semester in a three (3) hour written examination paper.
1.3     For section 1.2, the written examinations shall constitute 60% of the overall mark in each course, the other 40% shall be made up of continuous assessment (comprising tests, assignments and laboratory work).

1.4 The pass mark for each course unit shall be 50%.

Supplementary Examinations

1.5     A candidate who fails in one(1) or two (2) units may, on recommendation of the Board of examiners and with approval of the Senate, be allowed to sit supplementary examinations in the failed unit(s) within a period of  three months.
1.6     The maximum mark for any supplementary examinations shall be 50% and shall not include continuous assessment.


1.7     A candidate who fails in more than two (2) course units in the regular examination shall be discontinued.
1.8     A candidate who fails in any of the supplementary units shall be discontinued.

2    Part II Examinations

2.1     Thesis research project shall be examined by seminar presentation and by assessing project reports, participation in seminars, attitude & cooperation, in addition to the Thesis. Students will be required to attend at least three (3) seminars during the second year of study, and at least three (3) seminars during the third year of study. These seminars shall be organized by students themselves.

In addition, the Department or program coordinator will endeavor to organize a broad range of seminars which will be realized by means of invited speakers, excursions to relevant biotechnology centers, and discussions on recent advances. Students will be required to participate actively in the organized seminars.
2.2     The PhD thesis shall be submitted as specified in the common regulations for the PhD Degree.
2.3     Candidates will be examined according to the University Regulations.

Course Distribution

  • PUB 4100    Philosophy of Biotechnology
  • PUB 4101    Recent advancements in molecular biology
  • PUB 4102    Biotechnology seminar
  • PAU 3105    Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship
  • PUB 4103    Technology commercialization
  • PUB 4104    Patenting, Bioethics and biosafety in biotechnology
  • PAU 3103    History of Africa
  • PAU 3104    Human Rights and Gender