Africa is rich in natural resources that have the potential to be exploited to provide useful products such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and biocatalysts for industrial manufacturing. However, it is a known fact that Africa is faced with many endemic situations that range from the spread of infectious diseases and an increase in non-communicable/life style diseases. Additionally, food insecurity, continued environmental degradation and prolonged droughts are other areas of concern.

Molecular Biology is a subject in basic sciences that aims at understanding the molecular basis of biological activity while Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses to develop bio-products for human needs.

Training in biotechnology and molecular biology will provide competency that will contribute towards improving the character of bio-products. Relevant areas of molecular biology will be selected in an effort to provide knowledge appropriate to the attainment of capacity directed towards providing local solutions to problems of food security, environmental sustainability, energy and health. Research arising from these areas has contributed immensely to food security, health and environmental conservation in line with MDG and vision 2030

It is envisaged that the biotechnology programme will produce graduates who are adaptive, responsive and creative enough to apply biochemical and molecular techniques to the African situation to exploit the potential. This training programme is in line with the current African Union Strategic Vision. It is expected that graduates from this program will be employed as scientists in academic and research institutions, industries, regulatory bodies and forensic units.

Objective of the Programme
To produce graduates who are responsive, relevant and adaptive to challenges in food security, health, environmental and climate change in Africa and the world at large. Graduates who are able to:
(i)    Apply the genome data bases and bioinformatics in design and development of bioproducts
(ii)    Apply forensic science in solving security and legal issues
(iii)    Use of molecular markers in plant and animal breeding (MAS breeding)
(iv)    Develop renewable energy sources (biomass based)
(v)    Formulate biosafety, bioethics and intellectual property rights policies

Career Opportunities
It is anticipated that students graduating from this program will have attained the necessary knowledge and skills in molecular biology and biotechnology and job opportunities in research institutions, academic institutions, factories and industries, and pharmaceuticals industry.

Admission requirement
An applicant should satisfy any of the following requirements:
1.The common regulations for all MSc degrees in the Pan African University/ JKUAT shall apply.
2.Holders of Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with background in molecular biology and/or biochemistry with at least Second Class Honours (Upper Division) or its equivalent from recognized institutions Or  A holder of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, or Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, or Bachelor of Pharmacy, with an average of credit (B) in Biochemistry courses.
3.A holder of a degree accepted as equivalent to one of the degrees mentioned in (2) above from another University recognized by Senate.
4.In addition to meeting one of the requirements above, shortlisted applicants may be required to sit and pass entry tests.

Duration and Pattern of the course
1.    The duration of the programme shall normally NOT exceed two years.
2.    It shall consist of course work, examination, research and thesis.
3.    The course will comprise of core and elective units, which be offered during the first year of study. Each unit shall comprise lectures which shall include tutorials and discussions. In addition, students will be required to attend/present Departmental seminars.
3.1.    The core units will be compulsory to all students. The electives will be taken in Semester 2 and will enable students to specialize in their area of interest.
3.2.    Students will be required to take (5 five) core units in semester 1. In semester 2, the student will take 3 (three) core and any 2(TWO) elective units.
3.3.    Each unit will consist of 2 hour theory and 3 practical hours which will translate to 3 credit hours per week as follows.
3hrs theory + 3hrs practical = 3 credit hrs, 3 * 15weeks =45, for 10 units; 10units * 45= 450, Maximum for PAU = 450.

In the second year of study, the student will be required to undertake a research project by thesis. This will entail research, seminar presentation (at least two seminars on their research work) and thesis writing.

The students will present a research proposal to the departmental postgraduate board. The student shall commence on the research and present quarterly reports during the course of the study.

Course distribution

Semester 1

  • PUB 3100    Research methodology
  • PUB 3101    Molecular and cellular biology
  • PUB 3102    Advanced techniques in molecular biology
  • PUB 3103    Genetic engineering
  • PUB 3104    Policy and regulations in biotechnology
  • PAU 3101    History of Africa
  • PAU 3104    Human Rights and Gender

Semester 2

  • PUB 3105    Bioinformatics
  • PUB 3106    Proteomics
  • PUB 3107    Drug development and nanoscience


  • PUB 3108   Biotechnology in industrial microbiology
  • PUB 3109   Plant bioengineering techniques
  • PUB 3110   Animal bioengineering techniques
  • PUB 3111    Environmental biotechnologies

Year 2

  • Seminars
  • PUB 3200    Independent Research