The postgraduate programme in Biochemistry is multi-disciplinary. Cross connections in Chemistry, Biotechnology, Agriculture, Medical Sciences enable a broader understanding of biochemical processes occurring at the cellular and sub-cellular levels.

Key research areas currently are:

Flavonoid biosynthesis in anthurium; Regulation of pattern formation in anthurium spathe; Mechanism of disease resistance to witches broom and black pod in Cacoa; Biochemical basis of cadmium uptake in Cacoa; Metabolic diseases; Nutritional content of foods; Carbohydrate profiling in tubers; Tuber development; Molecular evolution and population structure of microbes; Genetic profiling of microbes and plants.

Persons interested in undertaking a M.Phil. or Ph.D. in Biochemistry should initiate discussions and obtain advice from a prospective thesis supervisor in the Department of Life Sciences before applying.



The objectives of the M.Phil. degree in Biochemistry are;

  • To review the state of knowledge in a particular field.
  • To make an independent contribution to knowledge or understanding in relation to a specified research question.
  • To some extent, create and evaluate a new design or novel experiments in Biochemistry and/or Molecular Biology or make an appropriate critique or interpretation of the research question.

The objectives of the PhD degree in Biochemistry are;

  • To make a significant, original and novel contribution to knowledge or understanding of a student’s field of study or research question.
  • To formulate and refine a research question(s) for appropriate investigation.
  • To design and implement experiments that reflect mastery of the subject area under investigation and competence in appropriate research techniques in Biochemistry and/or Molecular Biology.


Entry Requirements

Candidates seeking entry to the MPhil or Ph.D. programmes must satisfy the minimum requirements of the Board for Graduate Studies and Research (Lower Second Class Honours for MSc and Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent for MPhil) AND must hold a BSc degree at the prescribed level in Natural Sciences. The prerequisite for entry into the programme is a bachelor’s degree in one of the following disciplines: biochemistry, biology, chemistry, from an approved University.

With the exception of holders of MPhil degrees from recognised Universities, candidates interested in pursuing the PhD degree are normally required to register for the MPhil Degree in the first instance. Depending on the student’s progress, provisions exist to upgrade his/her registration from the Master’s to Doctoral level without first submitting a Master’s dissertation.


  • M.Phil.
    • Full-time: 2 years
    • Part-time: 3 - 4 years
  • Ph.D.
    • Full-time: 3 years
    • Part-time: 4 - 5 years

Programme Structure/Course of Study

The M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees primarily involve independent study, directed by one or more supervisors.  The programmes culminate with the presentation of a thesis conveying the results of the independent study and research carried out by the graduate student.

M.Phil students may be considered for upgrading to the Ph.D. normally during the second year, but not after the third year of registration, on recommendation of their supervisor(s).


M.Phil./ Ph.D. Thesis and Examination

All research degrees are examined by thesis.
In addition, research students will be required to pass courses amounting to a MINIMUM of
  • 6 credits for the M.Phil.
  • 9 credits for the Ph.D. degree


Graduate Research Seminars

M.Phil. students are required to present at least two seminars and Ph.D. students at least three seminars:

  • GRSM 7004 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 1
  • GRSM 7005 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 2
  • GRSM 7006 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 3
  • GRSM 8004 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 1
  • GRSM 8005 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 2
  • GRSM 8006 - Scientific Presentation and Critique 3

These seminars will be examined and graded on a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ basis. These courses may be used as a forum for these presentations which will be assessed in the manner prescribed for such “assessed seminars”.

Students are also required to attend a minimum of 75% of all Departmental/Faculty seminars. A Seminar attendance register will be kept by all Departments.


Upgrading of Registration

Postgraduate students who are registered for the M.Phil. degree and who wish to be considered for the upgrading of their registration to Ph.D. must apply to do so in the second year of registration on the written recommendation of their supervisor(s).
Applications for upgrading will normally not be considered after the third year of registration. A supervisor must state why he/she considers the student to be outstanding and whether in his/her opinion the work can be developed to the level of the Ph.D.
Applicants for upgrade must submit a written proposal outlining the work done to date and how they propose to develop this work into a Ph.D. and must defend their proposal for upgrading at an open seminar convened for this purpose.
All recommendations from Departments for Ph.D. upgrade registrations are subject to the approval of the Board for Graduate Studies and Research.


Defence of Thesis

  • For the M.Phil. degree the candidate may be required to defend his/her thesis by an examination.
  • Every candidate for the Ph.D. must defend his/her thesis by an oral examination.

A candidate who is unsuccessful in the examination for the Ph.D. may apply to the Board for Graduate Studies and Research for transfer of registration to the relevant M.Phil. and for permission to resubmit the relevant thesis or a revised version of it for examination for a Master’s degree. 

Top of Page