Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Development

Programme Name and Duration

The programme name is Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Development.  The Doctor of Philosophy in Rural development program is designed to take a minimum of Four (4) years (8 Semesters), and a maximum of Seven (7) academic years.  The PhD in Rural Development is by both course work and research. Students are expected to take one year of course work at Bugema University and at least two years of research preferably in their home countries. It accommodates both full-time and part-time students with the minimum period being Four years while the maximum is seven years. The core courses and seminar series for this program are outlined below. Students can also offer any electives courses from among the MSc or PhD programmes within the university.

Programme Description

The purpose of the programme is to produce top-level skilled professionals with trans-disciplinary orientation to facilitate the development of institutions and structures for sustainable utilization of knowledge and technologies in rural development in an integrated way.  The focus is on catalyzing value chain efficiency through innovations generated by knowledge, science and technology to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of rural communities.  The programme grooms rural development champions with a wide mix of expertise including organizational and leadership skills, cross-cutting professional skills and the requisite mindsets to influence utilization of knowledge and technology driven innovations for development.

Programme Rationale

The need for the PhD in Rural Development rose from the demand and a need for Doctorate holders to be teachers in institutions of higher learning and to train leaders to enhance development programs in the rural areas of Uganda and the sub-Saharan region.  Not only that a number of people in the development sector have expressed a need for more skills in order to cope with the ever increasing challenge in this area. Education in Uganda has superior quality and is relatively cheaper in terms of fees and cost of living. Many parents and sponsors send their students to Uganda because they cannot afford the high-cost of education in other countries. This has resulted in Uganda attracting many international students.

Given that the economy of Uganda and the rest of Eastern Africa is rural based, and with the knowledge that most of the jobs in these countries are agricultural based, a PhD in rural development will produce a well-rounded professional who will guide development in various aspects, to spearhead growth in rural economies of Uganda in particular and Eastern Africa.   This program will train individuals who will make significant contribution to Bugema University in particular and to other Universities in the region, in their attempt to build capacity and human resource. Hence, the benefit of this course is intended for all professionals in all aspects of development and the beneficiaries stretch beyond the borders of Uganda to the Sub-Saharan region.

Africa is rich in natural resources most of which are found in the rural areas. With an introduction of a PhD in rural development, the continent will benefit in the exploitation of its natural resources. Africa needs individuals who are trained in the African context to handle its rural development programs. Currently, most of the existing man-power with PhD in this area is trained outside Africa. It is hoped that professionals who are trained within the region will have more impact on regional development.

Lastly, considering the job market, this program will provide learners with the opportunity to enhance their existing skills and competencies with a Christian perspective. The program will transform the attitudes, and corrupting tendencies that have pledged the workforce. That means resources will be exploited to the maximum and will be justly be utilized to benefit the communities where they are found.


Introduction to the PhD Program

Bugema University sees a need to expand its curriculum to embrace PhD programs.  Modern society needs critical minds trained at an advanced level with skills and competences in creating new knowledge and analyzing rural development issues.  These issues include a specialized ability to introduce development in rural areas.   Which can be designed to train graduates with broad knowledge, competencies and skills. The program is inter-disciplinary in its focus, especially in the course work components.  The curriculum of the program has been designed to ensure that all participants:

  1. Gain substantial competency in the core subject matter and research methodologies that are central for generating new  knowledge;
  2. Obtain a firm understanding of the broad intellectual tradition of development, environment, communication and education;
  3. Become global scholars who can conduct excellent scientific research into development, environment, communication and education problems with the capacity to organize seminars and workshops that will attract international scholars;
  4. Apply the knowledge gained through coursework to research problem and write acceptable research proposals and dissertations within the chosen area of specialization; and write scholarly papers and publish in international refereed journals.

Programme Objectives

The objectives of this programme are to:

  1. Provide a curriculum that will support the development of skills and knowledge that will enable students to identify and assess needs of populations, plan, implement and evaluate programs to protect and promote rural development.
  2. Require students to complete core courses that provide foundation concepts in Rural Development.
  3. Promote research activities through course work and field experiences the will enable students and faculty to address important rural development issues and problems.
  4. Respond to community agencies’ requests for student and faculty involvement in service projects that focus on providing assistance and solutions to rural community in development problems.
  5. Provide continuing education and professional development opportunities for the public.
  6. Provide students and faculty the opportunity to participate in development and management of professional organizations.

The objectives of the programs will be achieved in the following ways:

  1. To equip students with skills, knowledge and attitude that will help improve the current practices in the development of rural areas.
  2. To increase the number of development professionals with high ethical and moral values in our educational institutions;
  3. To provide men and women with an introduction to a number of academic development and management disciplines and to enable them to think critically and honestly; We thus seek to train students who will adhere to our motto: Excellence in Service;
  4. To fulfill our commitment to humanity through post graduate education, professional development, spiritual growth, and ethical formation;
  5. To include in all activities instruction and research; and
  6. To play a role in the establishment of quality in rural development and management, preparing programs which are nationally/internationally recognized as a vehicle for our commitment to quality.

Programme Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme students should be able to:

On completion of this program, participants should be able to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in the core development and communication disciplines namely: financial and material resources management, project planning, social and behavioral sciences e.g. social inequalities in development and service use. Our learners will also be equipped with key competencies and skills that will enable them to identify and assess public developmental problems in “developing” countries and evaluate policies and program designed to improve development and management   in communities. These include leadership and analytical skills, financial planning and management skills, communication skills and cultural competency and Christian values.

It is expected that on completion, the graduates should have the appropriate mindsets, exhibit ethical and professional values in their undertaking and should be able to:

  1. Facilitate learning in tertiary education institutions as well as in non-academic institutions.
  2. Inform, educate, and empower communities about development issues and engage critically in current development issues and debates;
  3. Facilitate and build networks and partnerships that foster communication, learning, inter-personal relations, multi-stakeholder engagement, and empowerment of different interest groups.
  4. Exhibit characteristics of creativity and entrepreneurship and inculcate the same among various stakeholders.
  5. Provide visionary leadership, quality advisory services as managers or private consultants.
  6. Advocate, lobby, mobilize and manage resources for different institutions and communities.
  7. Think in a critical, reflective way and take effective action in addressing priority development problems and provide strategic direction to the development and management of policies and services;
  8. Design, develop and implement community empowerment projects with specific leadership capacity to mobilize community participation with regard to development and management problems;
  9. Influence evidence-based policy development and support their implementation to benefit the targeted groups.
  10. Facilitate development and management of agricultural and rural value chains.
  11. Conduct quality impact oriented research to influences development change.
  12. Facilitate integration of scientific and indigenous knowledge and enhance its sharing and application.
  13. Evaluate program, and School changes required to improve their functioning;
  14. Critically evaluate published studies on rural development problems;
  15. Collaborate with other rural development professionals on development issues providing consultancy services where appropriate;
  16. Apply learning to own work situation;
  17. Demonstrate critical thinking in written submissions;


Entry Requirements

For admission into the programme, a candidate must satisfy all of the following requirements:

  1. A holder of Master of Rural development or related field from Bugema University; Or
  2. A Master’s degree from any other recognized institution of higher learning in the related field;  Or
  3. An equivalent qualification approved by the Senate.

Student Obligations
The following are the requirements for students in relation to class attendance;

  1. The doctoral student is required to register for all the courses as prescribed in the programme;
  2. Attend all classes for the registered courses each Semester;
  • Undertake all Course works and End of Semester exams;
  1. Undertake research and write a thesis report.

 Core Requirements

Students are expected to complete all course work, a qualifying examination, and a comprehensive exam in their areas of concentration by the 3rd year of the program. A candidacy exam, completion of a dissertation, and an oral defense of the dissertation are the final requirements for completing the program.

 Departmental Affiliation & Committees

The Graduate School has six departments: Business, Education, Counseling Psychology, Development Studies, Public Health and Environmental Management. Students take their courses and conduct their research according to their departmental requirements and research orientation. Prospective students must indicate the preferred department of affiliation at the time of entry in line with their research interests. PhD students should try to identify and attach to a thesis supervisor during the first year of the program. Students need to constitute a PhD thesis committee of one supervisor and two committee members within two years.

 Year 1 and 2: Coursework, Summer Paper and Qualifying Examination

Coursework: PhD students take doctoral level courses. Some of these courses are core courses conducted by the department. The remaining courses are electives conducted in other departments or faculties.

Summer Paper:

To help the PhD student’s kick-start their research early, a summer paper requirement will be introduced into the program. All first year students will be required to submit a summer paper at the end of their study in Year 1.

Qualifying Examination:

After finishing their coursework, the students appear for a qualifying examination, usually at the end of the second year. A qualifying examination is a comprehensive test of the student’s knowledge of the field and is made up of paper(s) set by the department. Passing the qualifying examination is the signal for the student to embark on the dissertation.

Year 3: Proposal Defense:

After clearing the qualifying examination, the doctoral student begins to put together a proposal for the thesis. The proposal is an original idea for investigation put forth by the candidate, after an extensive study of the topic. The student is expected to detail the research question and also provide an outline of the study design. The proposal needs to be defended before the thesis committee and other examiners.

Year 4: The Dissertation:

The doctoral candidate begins the final leg of the dissertation following the successful proposal defense. The dissertation is finally evaluated by internal and external examiners. Following this examination, there is an oral defense of the thesis before final submission. The PhD is awarded when the candidate meets all the requirements of the program and the dissertation is certified for passing by the examiners.


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