The PhD programme aims at providing inquiry into the experiences, roles, knowledge and achievement of African women, and expose the students to basic theories and concepts related to African Women. The programme provokes discourses surrounding the complex environment in which African women operate and also investigates and challenges theoretical and methodological perspectives around women and gender in global contexts.



As a discipline, African women studies endeavours to orient knowledge bases and functions in all disciplines towards a deeper engagement with the situation of women in Africa. The Centre recognizes that most theories that guide scholarship operate from basic assumptions which do not include African women’s worldview and therefore, need to be interrogated. In addition, research methods including their philosophies, tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation often are blind to the experiences of women, yet they guide our various disciplines in spite of this anomaly. In addition, gender and development approaches and related analytical tools have moved away from addressing gaps that have been identified and instead have been used to negate feminist frameworks that deal with fundamental issues of women’s oppression.  The Centre believes that there is need to examine these theories and methods and ensure they have the capacity to generate and harness African women’s knowledge and experiences. The Centre also recognizes that since gender is entrenched and contextual, African women need separate focus because of the prevailing economic, social and cultural contexts. On the African continent the struggle to generate knowledge based on African women’s experiences remains relatively new and African feminist frameworks are young in their development.


Since 2012 the African Women Studies Centre has been working with PhD and MA students from different disciplines. In the process of their research they engage with traditional theories and philosophies which often do not take into consideration the women’s experiences and world view. Consequently, the students experience difficulties in their research and studies since these theories and research methods lack the tools of analysis and methods that are based on gendered worldview. This programme is therefore meant to address this gap as well as enhance the skills of the PhD students in research and academic writing.


The goal of the programme is to enhance the students’ skills and knowledge to interrogate traditional theories, philosophies and research methods so as to strengthen their capacity to generate and harness knowledge and experiences of African women and provide alternatives for bridging any gaps identified and therefore produce highly qualified graduants.


By the end of the programme, the learner should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate  competence in  theoretical and philosophical bases for women’s oppression;
  2. Interrogate selected theories for their capacity to harness African women’s knowledge and experiences;
  3. Generate innovative theoretical and research methodologies that are African women centred;
  4. Analyze existing research methods and determine their appropriateness in research on African women;
  5. Apply writing and critical thinking skills;
  6. Analyze relevant development theories that have guided Africa’s development and their impact on women’s lives;
  7. Design a PhD research proposal.



The PhD Programme is offered in two modes, namely:

2.1 Face to Face Sessions

The PhD program adopts a seminar mode of delivery. This means that the students will be exposed to a variety of course delivery techniques such as lectures, tutorials, lecture-discussions, class presentations, case studies, demonstrations, fieldwork, videos, student-lecturer consultations, supervised independent research, group projects, or any combination of these.

2.2 Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODeL)

The Open, Distance and E-Learning programme will run for a minimum of four (4) semesters and a maximum of ten (10) semesters of fifteen (15) weeks each. This module is largely home and or office-based and includes:

  1. Written self-instructional study modules including:
    1. Course study materials e.g. booklets
    2. Relevant literature
    3. Interactive devices and self-tests
  2. Face to face introductory tutorials.
  3. Mediated technical learning materials for example: Audio visual; E-learning.
  4. Support study centres at the University of Nairobi.
    1. Access to information through computers at the University of Nairobi and other resource centres.
    2. Use of libraries at the University of Nairobi and other institutions.

2.3 Blended Learning/Hybrid Learning

This is combination of traditional, face-to-face learning and online digital learning


4.1 Student Obligations

The learners shall:

  1. Sign attendance register every time they attend classes; Learners should attend at least two- thirds(2/3) of  contact hours for a course unit
  2. Engage in individual study and class presentation as required;
  3. Develop a proposal in the fourth semester and submit it for examination.
  4. Design and execute  a research proposal leading to a thesis
  5. Fill the Lecturer Evaluation form at the end of the course
  6. Any learner who is unable to attend classes should fill the Permission to be away form.
  7. ODeL learners shall interact with their tutors through the e-learning platform

5.2 Lecturer Obligations

The lecturer should:

  1. Regularly attend lectures and other routine duties;
  2. Sign attendance register every time after the lecture;
  3. Deliver the course content;
  4. Facilitate the presentation and discussion of the students research topics;
  5. Set and mark assignments and examinations according to the examination regulations.
  6. For ODeL, the lecturer shall ensure continuous interactivity with learners through the e-learning platform

3.1 Minimum Admission Requirements 

  1. The common regulations for admission requirements for PhD in the University of Nairobi shall apply.
  2. In addition, applicants must be holders of a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree  from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.

3.2 Credit Transfer and Exemptions

      1. The common regulations for credit transfer and exemptions of the University of Nairobi shall apply.
      2. A student shall be allowed to seek credit transfer or exemptions for up to one-third of the total taught course units provided that they are equivalent to those offered by the University of Nairobi and were taken at equivalent level of study from an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
      3. Grades for transferred course units shall be entered in the candidate’s transcript while the exempted course units shall be entered as ‘exempt’.
      4. Credit transfers in the case of exchange students shall be applicable only to specific Memoranda of Understanding or Agreements signed in advance between the University of Nairobi and the collaborating universities/institutions for joint programmes.




6.1 Continuous Assessment Tests

Course units will be evaluated through continuous assessment tests which shall include; class assignments, term papers, timed tests, group work presentations. Continuous assessment will account 40% of the final grade. Attendance of students and lecturers will be done through filling and subsequent monthly analysis of attendance forms.

6.2 End of Semester Examination

The learner will be expected to sit for a three hour examination at the end of the semester for the course units where written examinations are a requirement. The examination will account for 60% of the final grade.

6.3 Other Assessment

The learner will be expected to carry out research and write a thesis which shall be examined in accordance with University regulations.


70% – 100% = A

60% – 69%   = B

50% – 59%   = C

  1. 49%       = Fail


8.1 Written Examinations

  1. The common regulations for written examinations of the University of Nairobi shall apply.
  2. The candidate shall have their course units examined at the end of the semester in which the courses have been taken.
  3. Each course unit shall have a three hour examination at the end of the semester.
  4. The end of semester examination shall constitute 60% of the total marks, while the continuous assessment tests (CAT) will constitute 40%.
  5. The pass mark shall be 50%
  6. A candidate who fails in up to one-third of the course units in an academic year shall be allowed to take supplementary examination(s) in the course unit(s) failed, when such examinations are next scheduled.
  7. A pass obtained in the supplementary examination will be recorded as 50%.
  8. A candidate who fails a supplementary examination shall be allowed to repeat the failed supplementary examination one more time .
  9. A candidate who, for a good cause, fails to sit for an examination may be allowed to take a special examination, when such examinations are next scheduled. The results of a special examination shall be treated like the results of an ordinary first attempt examination.
  10. A candidate who fails in more than one-third of the course units in an academic year or fails a supplementary examination at the second attempt or fails to complete the programme within the stipulated period shall, on the recommendation of the AWSC Board of Examiners and approval by Senate, be discontinued.

8.2 Examination Malpractices and Disciplinary Action

Examination malpractices such as cheating shall face disciplinary action in accordance with the University of Nairobi rules and regulations.

9.0Written Examination Schedule




MAW 980

Research Methods

1 x 3 hours

MAW 981

Academic Writing and Critical Thinking

1 x 3 hours

MAW 982

Gender/Women and Development Approaches

1 x 3 hours

MAW 983

A Critical Appraisal of Feminist Theories and their Application to the African Context

1 x 3 hours

MAW 984

Historical Development of Women and Gender Studies

1 x 3 hours

MAW 985

African Feminism: Historical Perspectives

1 x 3 hours

MAW 986

Theoretical and Philosophical Basis for Women Oppression

1 x 3 hours

MAW 988




9.1. Thesis Assessment

  1. The common post graduate regulations and policy of University of Nairobi  for submission and examination of PhD thesis shall apply.
  2. The Director of the Center shall, in consultation with the Programme Leader recommend to the Director Graduate School the appointment in respect to each candidate presenting a thesis, a Board of Examiners.
  3. The External Examiner and Internal Examiners shall each be required to submit to the Director, Graduate School an independent written assessment.
  4. Upon receipt of the examiners’ reports, the Director Graduate School in consultation with the Director of the Center shall convene a meeting of the Board of Examiners for the candidate’s oral examination.
  5. Each candidate shall provide proof of publication of at least two academic papers in peer reviewed journals.
  6. A candidate who fails to satisfy the Board of Examiners shall be allowed one re-submission.
  7. A candidate who fails in the re-submission, or fails to complete the thesis within the prescribed period shall, on the recommendation of the Center’s Board of Examiners and approval by Senate, be discontinued.

9.2. Moderation of Examinations

The University of Nairobi rules and regulations as pertains to internal and external moderation of examinations shall apply.


10.1 Award of the Degree

Upon completion of the course work and successful defense of the thesis, the candidate shall be recommended for the award of Doctor of Philosophy Degree in African Women Studies (AWS).

10.2 Classification of Degrees

There shall be no classification for the degrees.


11.1 Rationale of the Thesis

The   thesis is to enable students to independently carry out investigations and contribute to knowledge and problem solving in African Women Studies. 

11.2 Facets of the Thesis

The thesis shall consist of an abstract; introduction and background to the study; statement of the problem; objectives; research questions; justification, hypothesis, literature review; theoretical framework; methodology; discussion; conclusion and recommendations; bibliography; and appendices.

  • Use the link below to apply:

Contacts of support persons : Chairman’s office , Examination’s officer  and Programme  coordinator:

-TEL. 0204913217

-Department Email:



  1. Medical Facilities (Hospitals and Clinics)
  2. Correctional Facilities (Police Stations & Prisons)
  3. Children Homes
  4. Safe Haven Facilities (From Domestic Abuse)

Notable alumni:

  • Dr. Humphrey Jeremiah Ojwang (IAGAS)
  • Dr. Fabu Carter: Senior Outreach Specialist with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and works for the African American and Native American Communities.
  • Dr. Diana Ondieki. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Josephine Muthami; Counseling Psychologist  at The University of Nairobi
Course Work - 6units      
TUITION           40,000.00    
EXAMINATION (PER UNIT @1000)              1,000.00    
LIBRARY (PER YEAR)              5,000.00    
MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)              6,500.00    
ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)              7,000.00    
REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)              2,250.00    
CAUTION - (ONCE)              5,000.00    
ID CARD ( PER YEAR)              1,000.00    
ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)              2,000.00    
THESIS EXAMINATION           50,000.00    
STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)              1,000.00    
total units=6      
Sem1  1unit           70,750.00  
   2 units        111,750.00  
   3 units        152,750.00  
   4 units        193,750.00  
   5 units        234,750.00  
Sem2  1unit           43,250.00  
   2 units           84,250.00  
   3 units        125,250.00  
   4 units        166,250.00  
   5 units        207,250.00  
Sem2  1unit           65,750.00  
   2 units        106,750.00  
   3 units        147,750.00  
   4 units        188,750.00  
   5 units        229,750.00  
1  Semester 1   3 Units                152,750.00
   Semester 2   3 Units                125,250.00
Totals                   278,000.00
2  Tuition fees                  240,000.00
   Others charges                     27,000.00
Totals                   267,000.00
3  Tuition fees                  240,000.00
   Other charges                     27,000.00
   thesis examinations                     50,000.00
Totals                   317,000.00
Grand totals        862,000.00