Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) make up to about 80% of the total land mass in Kenya. The ASALs are characterized by limited and unreliable rainfall, fragile soils and relatively high temperatures. Currently, the ASALs in Kenya are largely underutilized for economic benefit of the local communities and the country at large. It is against this background that a curriculum on Dryland Agriculture and Resources Management has been developed as a strategy for building on human capital to harness the available resources for economic benefit. The curriculum will produce graduates with relevant knowledge and skills to manage and conserve dryland ecosystems. In particular it will equip the graduates with skills to identify challenges and opportunities of ASAL system and innovatively harness resource utilization within sustainable community livelihoods and socio-cultural systems.
The ASALs forms one of the national resources yet to be integrated in economic development. This has resulted in the regions inordinately low contribution to the national economy often characterized with high poverty indices and low food security. There is need for effective management of resources in the ASAls to stimulate economic growth and improve livelihoods while maintaining a healthy ecosystem. It is with this in mind that the, Kenya‘s vision 2030 emphasizes the importance of the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) as an important component in the economic pillar. The Government plan in ―Strategy for Revitalization of Agriculture for 2004-2014‖ also recognizes the importance of agriculture in national growth and development and commits to expand agriculture production in ASALs through expanding irrigation. These can be realized by investing in a focused training of personnel capable of identifying opportunities and resources for utilization and development in the drylands. These personnel have to be skilled at integrated approaches that are not only effective but ecologically sustainable. The MSc curriculum in Dryland Farming is designed to address these needs.
The programme aims at providing an in-depth theoretical and practical understanding of the subject matter and research skills in Dryland Agriculture. Upon successful completion of the training, the graduates will be expected to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to innovatively utilize and conserve resources, and improve livelihood in Drylands.
The common university rules and regulations for the Master's degree programmes specified in the Egerton University Statutes will be applicable. Admission shall be offered to holders of a first degree in Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources, and related disciplines, with a minimum of second class honours (upper division) or equivalent qualification from recognised institutions. In exceptional cases, University Senate may also admit to the masters programme, non-holders of upper second class honours degrees, provided such candidates can, on the basis of research and academic work the applicants have done, show that they are well qualified to undertake post graduate work by passing qualifying examinations.
Course Structure and Duration
The programme consists of course work, examination and thesis. Candidates will qualify for the award of M.Sc degree in Dryland Farming by fulfilling the following requirements. Candidates are required to successfully complete at least 30 credit factors of their course work and in addition successfully complete 15 credit factors of a thesis to qualify for the award of the Masters degree.
Candidates for M.Sc Dryland Farming degree shall be registered as full time students for a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of thirty six (36) months, and register for a minimum of nine (9) credit factors per semester. Candidates wishing to register as part-time students shall be registered for a maximum of forty eight (48) months out of which twelve (12) months must be in residence. The candidates must register for a minimum of six (6) credit factors per semester. In the coding, the acronym ―AGRO‖ refers to Agronomy. The first digit represents level of training which is 7 for Masters programme. The second digit refers to sub-disciplines within agronomy or crop science as follows:
0: Foundation courses/Basic Principles
1: Crop Physiology and Environment
2: Crop Improvement and Biotechnology
3: Crop Protection
4: Seed Science and Technology
5: Crop Management
8: Interdisciplinary courses.
9: Biometry and Experimentation, Research and Seminars.
The third digit is a serial number for the various courses within the sub-disciplines.
All examination for this programme shall be conducted in accordance with the examination regulation as stipulated in the Egerton University statute XXIX.
The grading of examination for this programme shall be conducted in accordance with Egerton University statute XXIX.
To graduate, a student shall be required to take and pass ALL scheduled courses within the stipulated period.
The Master of Science in Dryland Farming degree programme is not classified.