Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Environmental and Biosystems Engineering)



This programme will be a follow-up of the respective master’s programmes, except where otherwise provided for. Students will be required to work on areas that have not been worked on before. Originality of research (procedure or area covered) is of paramount importance. The proposed syllabus takes into account recent scientific and technical advances in the education and training of engineers. It is relevant and broad based in line with the requirements of the engineering profession.


To improve on its utility, the programme has been and will continue to be re-aligned to be consistent with the changing needs of the society. It has been developed from a programme of three options to the current five distinct areas of study: Environmental Engineering, Irrigation and Water Resources Engineering, Power and Machinery Engineering, Process and Food Engineering and Structures Engineering, each one addressing a unique engineering need in the society. The programme is targeted towards those graduates who would like to practice at a higher level in industry, research and education.


Therefore, the objectives of the programme are: To give additional knowledge and necessary skills to the engineering graduates to enable them practise at a higher level in the industry

  1. Research
  2. Education

Schedule of Intakes

The Department admits new students at the beginning of every academic calendar year (which is usually September)

Application Information

You will be required to enter some basic information, including your email address and to choose a password. We will then send you an email to the address you entered, so that we can validate your account. When you have clicked on the validation link (sent to you in the email), you will be able to log in to the application system using the "Login" box below

For instructions on how to apply click here

To apply online here

Mode of Delivery

  • Face-to-Face Mode

This is through lectures and tutorials using notes, electronic presentations, instruction manuals, group discussions, practical laboratory demonstrations and fieldwork.

  • Open, Distance Learning and e-Learning

In case of delivery through ODeL, special arrangements shall be made for the practical laboratory, field work and computing sessions. Where not feasible alternative arrangements will be made to do them on campus. 

  • Blended Learning

This is a hybrid of face to face with Open, Distance Learning and e-learning.

Contact of Support Persons


TEL: +254204913522


Notable Alumni

Mr. Agullo Januarius Ondiek

Eng. Dr. Gichuki Muchiri

Dr. Philip Owende

Prof. Bancy M.Mati

DR. Duncan Onyango Mbuge

Prof. Douglas Shitanda

Prof. Lawrence. O. Gumbe

Dr. Pascal Kaumbutho

Eng Mwanzali Shiribwa

Eng. Prof. Gitau Ayub Njoroge

Admission Requirements

The common regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy degrees in all faculties/ Schools of the University shall apply. Admission into the programmes shall be open to holders of Master of Science degree in the respective field of Engineering specialization, either   from the University of Nairobi or from another University recognized by the senate of the University of Nairobi. Provision is given for upgrading of a Master programme directly to PhD. level, if the quality of research is high and the senate allows


Schedule of Intakes

The Department admits new students at the beginning of every academic calendar year (which is usually September).

Application Information

Application for admission of self - sponsored students is done online and it is open throughout the year the requirements for submitting your application are detailed in the link provided (University of Nairobi Online Application Portal)


TUITION            540,000             540,000         540,000            1,620,000
ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)                7,000                 7,000             7,000                 21,000
THESIS EXAMINATION                     -                        -             50,000                 50,000
REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)                4,500                 4,500             4,500                 13,500
ID CARD ( PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
CAUTION - (ONCE)                5,000                      -                     -                     5,000
MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)                6,500                 6,500             6,500                 19,500
ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)                2,000                 2,000             2,000                   6,000
LIBRARY (PER YEAR)                5,000                 5,000             5,000                 15,000
STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
EXAMINATION (PER UNIT @1000)                     -                        -                     -                           -  
Grand TOTAL            572,000             567,000         617,000            1,756,000


Attachment Opportunities

1. Land Surveyors:

Land Surveyors are trained professional who works in Government and private sectors for construction companies and contractors. They measure the land accurately, click pictures, and note the distances and angles between them. An aspirant of Environmental engineering can become a land surveyor and focus on the land's environmental factors that need to be considered. The factors include soil type, vegetation, waterways, etc. One can become a Land Surveyor by doing a Civil Engineering course or an Environmental Engineering course. 

 2. Environmental Scientists:

Environmental scientists are specialists who use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect and improve the quality of the environment and human life. They advise the government and people about pollution hazards and coordinate with industries to reduce waste and develop new techniques in waste disposal. Environmental Scientists are Ecologists who research the environment's physical, chemical, and biological aspects. An aspirant should complete this Environmental Science or Environmental Engineering degree to become an Environmental Scientist.

3. Natural Resource Specialist:

Natural Resource Specialists are professionals who study, maintain, develop and conserve natural resources. They research the habitats, advance regulations on natural resource, evaluate environmental impacts, and aims to protect vulnerable animals and plants. Natural Resource Specialists are appointed by the Government or State agencies to conduct surveys and research about a particular field. An aspirant should complete this Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or Resource Management degree to become a Natural resource Specialist. 

4. Environmental Consultant:

Environmental consultants are professionals who give expert advice about managing ecological issues. They indulge in detailed research and prepare a scientific report. The candidate must have technical expertise, scientific knowledge, and keen observational field skills to have a career as an Environmental Consultant. The candidates need to focus on the areas like control of pollution and noise, upshots of agriculture on wildlife and plants, and the sequel of waste management and recycling. An aspirant should have completed a degree in Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science and have a few years of experience to get this post.

5. Wastewater Engineer:

Also known as Sanitary Engineering, Wastewater Engineering is the study of enhancing sanitary methods of human communities by providing the extraction and disposal of human waste. Wastewater Engineers will plan, design, create, manage and repair the wastewater treatment plants. An aspirant should have completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering. They are held responsible for the daily operations at water treatment plants and repairs. 

6. Energy Efficiency Engineers:

Energy Efficiency Engineers is the study that uses the principles and tools of engineering to develop energy distribution systems. The primary purpose of energy efficiency is to use less energy for some tasks and produce the same results as when more power is used. Energy Efficiency Engineers will use the principles of Maths and Science to conserve energy and protect the existing sources. An aspirant should have completed Environmental Engineering or Energy Systems Engineering to have a career as an Energy Efficiency Engineer.

7. Geotechnical Engineer:

Geotechnical Engineering uses the principles of soil mechanics and rock mechanics to bring solutions to its engineering problems. The subject is most concerned about the engineering behaviour of earth materials. Expertise in Maths, Science and having good Geological knowledge is necessary for a Geotechnical Engineer. An aspirant should have a degree in Environmental Engineering or Geotechnical Engineering. 

8. Environmental Compliance Specialist:

An environmental Compliance Specialist is also known as Environmental Compliance Officer. They are responsible for monitoring the Environmental Laws for land, water, gas, energy, etc., which are induced and ensures they are being appropriately followed in the companies, organisations, industries, agencies, etc. An aspirant should have an undergraduate degree in Environmental Law, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Science or any associate field of study. 

9. Water Treatment Plant Operator: 

The primary role of the Water Treatment Plant Operator is to reduce waste and maintain water resources efficiently for drinking purposes. They also ensure proper care of the waterways like canals, reservoirs, sewage, etc. The other significant work of the workers is to conduct tests on the water quality. It is enough for an aspirant to complete his high school diploma to become a Water Treatment Plant Operator. However, it is preferred for the candidates to have a degree in Water Treatment, Waster Water Management, or Environmental Science.

10. Professor:

Lastly, an aspirant of Environmental Engineering can get into the teaching profession and give lectures on environmental and ecology topics. To become a professor in college, a candidate must complete his Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science and clear the state and national level entrance exams. The professors assist the students in choosing their stream after completing Environmental Engineering.

Career Prospects

phd (Environmental and Biosystems Engineering)

Sectors in which Environmental and Biosystems Engineers find work

  • Food Security
  • Water for crops, livestock and communities
  • Manufacturing
  • Renewable Energy
  • Environment




Exam Regulations

The degree shall be done purely by research and thesis. The candidate will seek admission and thereafter develop a project proposal. Once the proposal is approved, the candidate will carry out research work and write a thesis which will be examined according to the rules and regulations for PhD studies at the University of Nairobi

Regular Ph.D programmes in the School are by thesis only.  Candidates will be required to undertake research guided by at least two supervisors competent in the subject area and field of research in which the candidate proposes to work.  The main supervisor must come from the Department where the student is registered. After the research, the candidate shall be required to submit a thesis for examination.  The programme shall take a minimum period of three (3) years and a maximum of six (6) years.

Examination  shall comprise two parts: (i) Independent written assessment of the thesis by Internal and external examiners (ii) oral examination of the thesis by a board of examiners as prescribed by the University of Nairobi statutes. 

Degree Award

Successful candidates shall be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the respective area of specialization. Where a candidate’s thesis is assessed and found to require major revision, it shall be re-submitted once only for re-examination in a revised form within twelve months. Beyond this period, the candidate shall be discontinued.

Research Proposal Format (PHD AND MSC)

The proposal should be between 15 and 30 pages in length (News Time Roman-Font 12, double spaced OR Arial Font-12, 1.5 spacing). The left and right margins should be 25 mm (1 inch) and the top and bottom margin 30 mm (1.25 inches) and 20 mm (0.75  inches) respectively.

All proposals shall consist of the following sections: 

Front page, Table of ContentsIntroduction (Study Background, Problem statement, Objective), Literature reviewMaterials and methods / MethodologyReferencesWork plan / Schedule of activities, Budget, Appendices.

The following shall be the format of the research proposal:


The front page will consist of the following:

  • University Logo followed by University of Nairobi and School of Engineering
  • Project Title:  This shall be short, precise and descriptive of the study.
  • Candidate:  Full name and admission number followed by space for signature and date.
  • Supervisor(s):  Names of all supervisors, followed by signature and date.
  • Chairman of Department:  Signature and date.
  • Chairman SPSC:  Signature and date.
  • Dean FoEng:  Signature and date.
  • Statement:  “A proposal submitted in fulfillment for the Degree of (insert name of degree)in the (insert Department where candidate is registered) in the University of Nairobi”.
  • Date:  Date of submission of proposal (month and year).


The second page should contain a table of contents with page numbers.


The body of the proposal should consist of the following subsections.



This section shall provide a brief overview of the proposed area of study.  It should be short (maximum four (4) pages); telling the reader what the study will be about and why it is important and timely. 

      Problem Statement / Statement of Research Problem

This section should provide brief information identifying the gaps in knowledge or problems to be addressed in the study.


      These should clearly state how the problem will be addressed. Research questions or

      hypothesis should be included and tally with the objectives.


This section shall present information on the evolution and present state of theory, practice and research of the topic proposed for investigation.  A candidate is expected to demonstrate review of most recent and relevant publications which must be properly cited in the references. This section may be organized with subheadings to represent different areas of emphasis. 


  • Focused on addressing the objectives of the study.
  • Detailed enough that the study is repeatable and reproducible.
  • Where standard methods are used, adequate reference should be provided  


The work plan should indicate the duration of planned activities in a logical sequence.


  • Shall be based on all envisaged activities of the study.
  • Shall comprise costs relevant to the above activities, including all the materials and contingencies.


There are two widely used methods of citing references in documents such as a thesis or project report.   In the first method, the reference is cited as a number in the text, thus:  “These results are similar to those that have been found by other researchers [1, 2]”.   In this method, it is not necessary for the authors’ names to appear in the text, though they frequently appear.  In the references section, the cited references are then listed, in proper numerical sequence, as follows. The IEEE format also falls under this category.

1. WISMER, R. D. and H. J. LUTH.   Off-road traction prediction for wheeled

    vehicles. Journal of Terramechanics, 10(2):49-61.  1973.

2. KEPNER, R. A., R. BAINER and E. L. BARGER.  Principles of Farm Machinery,

    AVI Publishing Co., Inc. 1972.

In the second method, the authors’ names and the year of publication of cited literature are used in the text, in citing the literature, thus:  “These results are similar to those that were found by WISMER and LUTH (1973) and by KEPNER et al. (1972)”.  In the references section, the cited references are then listed, without numbering but in proper alphabetical order, as shown below:

KEPNER, R. A., R. BAINER and E. L. BARGER, (1972).  Principles of Farm Machinery, AVI Publishing Co., Inc.

WISMER, R. D. and H. J. LUTH, (1973).  Off-road traction prediction for wheeled vehicles.  Journal of Terramechanics, 10(2):49-61.

Note:All web-based cited references should be of reputable institutions to facilitate independent verification.

7. Appendices

The appendices should be clearly labelled and placed after the reference section.  The labelling system should be e.g. Appendix A (A1, A2 …), Appendix B (B1, B2), etc.  They should be listed in the table of contents.