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Makerere’s Doctoral Completion Rates Improve



“By the power of the authority vested in me, I confer upon you the Degree of the Doctor of Philosopy of Makerere University,” declares the Chancellor as he confers a Doctoral Degree upon a successful candidate, on completion of his/her study.

“By the power of the authority vested in me, I confer upon you the Degree of the Doctor of Philosopy of Makerere University,” declares the Chancellor as he confers a Doctoral Degree upon a successful candidate, on completion of his/her study.

To the casual observer, this doctoral award process is all too repetitive and laborious, considering that the Masters and Bachelors awards are done en mass! Unknown to them however, this unique award practice is just the tip of the iceberg, the icing on the cake that has taken over five and in some cases seven years of careful planning, meticulous research, laborious poring over countless theses, books and stacks of references, and finally fervent and on occasion argumentative defence of your work before a panel of experts.

Makerere produces the highest number of PhDs in the region, with this year’s tally alone coming 57. However, this figure could have even been higher, had more candidates managed to complete in time. This Dr. Bruno Ocaya, School of Statistics and Planning, College of Business Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere Universitywas the focus of the 8th PhD Dissemination series featuring Mr. Robert Wamala from the School of Statistics and Planning, College of Business and Management Sciences. Mr Wamala’s paper; Likelihood of Completion and Extended Candidature of a PhD: A Five-year Analysis of Studies at Makerere University was based on data from 295 doctoral students at Makerere University in the enrolment cohorts from 2000 to 2005.

In his remarks, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah the Academic Registrar, noted the importance of dissemination, as an avenue of public information, so as to help turn research into policy and hence help increase Makerere University’s visibility and relevance to the community.

Dr. Bruno Ocaya , Senior Lecturer-School of Statistics and Planning and Mr. Wamala’s supervisor, commended him for his persistent research, whose data is now being used to teach fellow graduate students, unlike in the past where data from institutions outside Uganda was used.

Mr Robert Wamala, School of Statistics and Planning, Makerere UniversityMr. Robert Wamala started off his presentation by objecting to the assertion that Makerere’s doctoral completion rates had declined over the last 5years, as his research had proved otherwise. He then observed that whereas academic scholarships made life easier for candidates at Makerere, extended candidature was more common among science-based, financially supported candidates. And while a high Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) is every undergraduate student’s dream, Mr. Wamala observed that this CGPA was not a strong determinant of timely completion. Candidates with relatively low CGPA on enrollment had the same completion times and sometimes even better ones than their counterparts who had higher CGPAs.

He further noted that completion rates are not purely affected by factors within the PhD study but also prior factors such as age; younger candidates had better completion times, and nationality; international students register better completion times than their Ugandan counterparts. Factors during, such as financial support as noted earlier, were only found to actually increase completion time and extend candidature.

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, Deputy Director, Research and Graduate Training, Makerere UniversityPer capita expenditure per student in any country is vital for the promotion of research in Universities. Whereas it was observed that Uganda’s per capita expenditure per student paled in comparison to her South African counterparts, Makerere University’s doctoral completion rates were higher than some South African institutions and her attrition rates fared favourably with other International Universities.

The discussant of the day Dr. Xavier Mugisha a Senior Research Fellow at the Economic Policy Research Centre commended Mr. Wamala for his great presentation, “Robert has done great work, and as far as his paper is concerned, I found it flawless.”

He further congratulated Makerere University on her completion rates considering the support received, but challenged the institution to perform even better. He noted that the institution has a good catchment area with academics that have a drive to succeed and excel. He further noted that with good remuneration, Makerere could easily register the highest doctoral completion rates in Africa.

Professor Buyinza Mukadasi, Deputy Director, Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), Makerere University and the day’s Chief Guest thanked Mr. Wamala for his elaborate presentation and acknowledged that the Directorate would surely benefit from the paper. He reiterated the directorate’s vision to make Makerere the leader in research and graduate training in the region, by ensuring even better completion rates.

Student interaction with peers and faculty is an enhancer of graduate training, and Prof. Buyinza pledged that the Directorate would promote these interactions, as enabling pillars of PhD completion.


PhD Abstract-Mr. Robert Wamala: doc(24KB), pdf(11KB)

8th PhD Dissemination Series Programme: pdf(23KB)

8th PhD Dissemination Attrition and Completion Rates: pdf(27KB)

8th PhD Dissemination Attrition and Completion Rates Table: pdf(46KB), Public Relations Office

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise



One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.


(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission



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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution



Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative



By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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