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MAKERERE UNIVERSITY REVIEWS ITS PhD CURRICULUM

By: Jackson Namu
Prof. Buyinza, Director of Research and graduate training at the School of Computing and Information Technology presented a Curriculum Review on the 7th June 2016 at the College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere University.

Makerere University’s Doctoral training programme has seen a number of minor and major changes. One of the fundamental changes is the gradual shift from a research only doctoral degree to a combination of coursework and research. Makerere University was offering PhD (Research) only but according to global intellectual discourse, PhD (Research) alone was considered inadequate. Subsequently, a few College’s like College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS), College of Education and External Studies (CEES), and College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS) developed PhD programs by both coursework and research.

“Although the courses offered dealt adequately with the technical aspects in the various disciplines, there was inadequacy in terms of content in basic courses required for sharpening the students’ skills in research and publication.” Professor Buyinza said.

The Makerere University School of Graduate Studies (SGS) program introduced a number of cross cutting courses on generic topics that were useful for all doctoral students regardless of their field. This was intended to enhance the knowledge and skills of doctoral students to conduct quality research.

The goal of the curriculum review is to create excellence in PhD training and research internationally, produce quality doctoral graduates and to mount courses of generic utility. The review is also meant to have graduate research and training that links advances in basic and applied humanistic and biological sciences.

The courses are run on a modular basis with each course offered once a year and the core courses are a requirement for all PhD students. The delivery of each course is in form didactic lectures, with the major part devoted to practical’s, tutorials and problem based seminars. The maximum semester load is 18 credit units while the minimum program load is 24 credit units. The program runs on a semester based system and each course unit assessed on the basis of a 100% total marks with written examination taking up 40% and continuous assessment taking up 60%.

The program review has value addition to students and supervisors since they acquire increased academic self confidence, improved disciplinary self understanding and readiness for interdisciplinary research which makes students more independent.

The only challenge is that cross cutting courses are given as short, intensive courses which do not suit all participants well.

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