Unlike many other programs offered in institutions of higher learning in the region, the collaborative Masters program has its distinctive features that make it world-class training programme. The programme design was informed by through visits to best–practice institutions to understand how best agricultural economics as a training discipline is offered. The programme has also been validated through stakeholder consultations to ensure that it offers what is best for market.
The program intends to have a broadened intake profile where applicants will be drawn from diverse disciplines rather than restricting intake to those with agricultural background. Through this, it will create the required capacity for the diverse groups of professionals directly and indirectly involved in agricultural development. The broad intake targets those with background in agriculture, engineering, humanities and science. Unlike in the mainstream agricultural economics programmes where exposure to institutional setting is rare, students will have an exposure to Behavioural and Institutional Economics as a way of re-thinking the institutional settings, the way they operate in the region, their strengths and challenges in agricultural development.
The programme is demand driven and this has been reflected in design stage, operation, and financing. The clients demand side has been involved in the planning phase to ensure that the program will tackle the existing problems facing the public and private sectors in agricultural development. Moreover, the program intends to involve stakeholders even as the programme comes into operation to ensure that it retains its relevance and quality. The programme will stress staff development through doctoral training and/or retooling, and learning to strengthen capacity in the participating departments. Many departments in the region have few qualified staff or are lacking. The programme intends to alleviate this deficiency through provision of scholarships in areas of relevance to the programme.
The Collaborative MSc Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics aims to equip
professionals with knowledge and kills essential for transforming the currently under developed agro-food sectors and rural economies of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa to perform well in an environmentally sustainable fashion. Its underlying premise is that such highly trained local professionals must address the challenges posed by far reaching changes in global and local economies, technology, and marketing by adapting their advanced knowledge and methods to the particular institutional, political and economic circumstances of the region. Sixteen heads of departments of agricultural economics in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, which formed the Agricultural Economics Education Board (AEEB), spearheaded the program. The program will offer students the opportunity to undertake specialized study in one of the following fields:
i) Agriculture and Rural Development
ii) Agricultural Policy and Trade
iii) Agribusiness Management
iv) Environment and Natural Resource Management
These fields were identified at the stakeholders meeting as meriting priority attention in the region.
The common regulation for the master‘s degree as specified in the university statutes shall apply in admitting candidates for the masters in agribusiness management. Applications will be accepted from graduate in any field and professionals in mid-career, provided they satisfy prerequisites considered necessary to succeed in a rigorous program of study and research. Any missing prerequisites will be acquired prior to entry through courses offered by the collaborating departments and other reputable institutions within and outside the University.
Course Structure and Duration
The program of study comprises five semesters over 20 to 24 months. Applications will be entertained from graduates in any field and professionals in mid-career, provided they satisfy prerequisites considered necessary to succeed in a rigorous programme of study and research. Any missing prerequisites will be acquired prior to entry through courses offered separately or jointly by the collaborating departments and other reputable institutions within and outside the region.
The first two semesters of 15 weeks each will focus on core subject material in macro-
economics, production and household economics, econometrics, mathematics, research methodology and issues in agricultural and applied economics. The third semester, to be held in a shared facility in the region, will offer the student an expanded selection of elective subjects from which two courses will be taken along with a foundation course in his/her preferred field of specialized study. The selection will be guided by the student‘s interest and guidance from the supervisor. All students will also pursue a novel course in institutional and behavioural economics that they can better adapt more conventional analysis to the political and economic realities of the region. Qualified subject specialists from within and outside the region will teach courses.
Over the fourth and fifth semesters, the student will complete a thesis mentored by subject specialists from his/her home university and where desirable, other collaborating universities within the region. Successful candidates will be awarded the MSc degree by their home university.
An Agricultural Economics Education Board (AEEB), currently comprising representatives of the 16 collaborating departments, will approve program content. A Program Executive Committee will guide the AEEB. Ongoing consultations with regional and national bodies, with employers in the public sector, government, not-for-profit sector, and international donor community will also facilitate the development and institutionalization of a relevant curriculum. The AEEB will set out the criteria and procedures for accrediting collaborating departments to offer the program and conduct various valuations to ensure continued quality and relevance. Upto four departments are expected to receive accreditation by September 2005, the date planned for the first intake of students. Based on current projections, upto six others may be accredited by the end of the first five-year phase.
A major aim of the Program is to attract female students, including professionals in mid-career as well as those with a first degree in other disciplines. A side from facilitating their entry through expanded access to prerequisite courses, the Program will use other modalities, including scholarships and sponsorships, to advance female participation, not only in graduate study, but also in professions and pursuits contributing to agricultural and rural development. The male students will, however, not be discriminated against.
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 MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics degree programme is not classified.