Curriculum for Cross Cutting Courses


In the era of globalization and internationalization of universities, Makerere University has re-positioned herself as a research-led university to meet the changing needs of the times. The university has put in place supportive frameworks. These include development of supportive policies such as quality assurance policy, research and Intellectual management policies, gender policy, sexual harassment policy, and increasing the proportion of graduate students in the university among others. These are highlighted in the university strategic plan 2007-2017.

Following the Mujjaju Report (1999) requiring the PhD qualification in order to be hired as a lecturer at Makerere University, this led to a number of initiatives. Among these was the increased support by staff development to academic staff to study towards attainment of the PhD degree. Until then, academic units were offering PhD degrees by research only. With regard to value addition and intellectual discourse, PhD degree programs by research alone were considered inadequate. Subsequently, a few faculties such as Faculty of Computing and Information Technology, School of Education, and the Faculty of Economics and Management developed PhD programs by both course work and research. Feedback from the students showed that 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. Areas identified included Research methodology, Data analysis, Information Management, Philosophy of Method and Scholarly writing and communication. These courses would enhance the knowledge and skills of doctoral students particularly to conduct quality research.

Realising the need by PhD students to be grounded in the above areas identified, the School of Graduate Studies with support from development partners (namely Sida/SAREC of Sweden, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Norad of Norway) and in collaboration with some units of the university, a number of courses were developed and offered as cross-cutting courses to PhD students that has attracting over 400 participants.

Quality in content and delivery was attained by identifying staff from mainly within the university having competences and expertise in these courses, who were then asked to participate in the development of the course content as well as course delivery. Since inception, there has been a lot of interest by the PhD students indicated by the number of applicants whenever any these courses is advertised. There has been satisfaction from the participants with respect to both content and delivery of these courses, and this is evident from the feedback/evaluation of the various courses by the participants.  In the process, students have indicated the need to have these courses taken for credit, especially PhD students on joint degree programs or registered in other universities collaborating with Makerere.

Makerere university has entered into collaborative agreements with a number of universities both in the south and the north, including offering joint PhD degrees pioneered by the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden that has already graduated four PhD students under this arrangement. This means that courses can be taken for credit and transferred  to either of the collaborating institutions.

On the part of Makerere University, this calls for a curriculum defining and detailing such courses. The details are in the document below: