The WACCI PhD is a four-year programme consisting of two stages: one year of academic study at the University of Ghana and three years of thesis research at the students’ research station/university in their home countries. Students return in the last six months of the final year to complete and submit their theses.
The course work and research of students will focus on the following West African food crops:
- Cereals: maize, rice, sorghum and millet
- Root and tubers: cassava and sweet potato
- Legumes: cowpea and groundnut
- Vegetables: tomato and pepper.
The focus is on West Africa, with initial emphasis on Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Applicants from Cameroon, Senegal and Sierra Leon may also be considered.
Scholarships are advertised extensively in all participating countries and applications are reviewed by a panel of academics at the University of Ghana.
Components of the Four Year Programme
In the first year, students take courses and modules on special topics in plant breeding, genetics, biotechnology and related subjects. Modules on special topics are presented by guest lecturers. Students are required to take at least six core courses (18 credits) and two additional elective courses (6 credits) in the first and second semesters. A minimum of 18 credits must be passed, which must include all core courses for the programme. In addition, students will be required to pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their course work, before the commencement of their research projects.
PhD students are required to defend their thesis proposals in a seminar at the end of the first year prior to returning to their home country for the research phase of the programme. Students will be required to present annual seminars on the progress of their research. Seminars will be graded as “pass” or “fail”. Students will earn 3 credit units each for seminars given in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years. The dissertation will contribute 48 credit units towards a student’s graduation.
In the second to fourth year, students return to research institutions in their home countries to conduct their theses research. Students shall undertake research projects in consultation with their supervisory committees for at least 30 months and submit their theses for examination. Students return to the University of Ghana during the last four months of their final year to write up and submit their dissertations.