PhD in Agronomy

PhD in Agronomy

  1. Program Goal

To contribute to the national food and nutrition security and sustained domestic production for enhancing industrialization in the country through training of professionals that would bring about increased efficiency and skill for quality food and the creation of enabling environment that supports the commercialization of agriculture.

  2.Program Objective

The major objectives of opening PhD level training in Agronomy are to:

  • Produce highly qualified graduates with the knowledge, attitude and skills necessary for promoting agronomic crops production.
  • Generate and/or adopt appropriate technologies through client oriented, demand driven and problem solving research activities in the areas of agronomic crops, production and processing.
  • Produce highly qualified graduates with the knowledge, attitude and skills in Agronomy who can work independently in research, teaching and consultancy at national and international level
  • Actively involve in the dissemination of appropriate technologies to ultimate users through the college’s well cherished community outreach programs, workshops, net working and consultancy/advisory services.

  3.Professional Profile

  • The training in Agronomy at PhD level will produce professionals that are:
  • Highly qualified in terms of their profession for both practical and scientific aspects of Agronomy 
  • Subject matter experts on production, management, processing, marketing and value addition of food, beverage and feed crops
  • Primary resourceful persons to serve for consultation on investment in Agronomy and policy issue pertaining to their specific field.
  • Agronomic researchers who are capable of planning and conducting of research to bring about changes yield and quality.

 4.Graduate Profile

Students who complete their PhD study in the field of Agronomy will be equipped with the knowledge and practical skills that will enable them to work competently within three broad job sectors:

  • Increase production (food, feed, fuels, fiber and pharmaceutical plants) by using improved technology packages (improved seeds, soil, and weed and pest management recommendations), while conserving the natural resource base and improving environmental quality;
  • Analyze short and long-term climatic data bases, run simulation models, validate results, and recommend site and season specific crop management practices;
  • Conduct research in the scientific and practical aspects of soil, crop, soil-water-plant relations, and management practices;
  • Develop new cropping systems which are resilient to changed climate conditions;
  • Plan, develop, lead and manage agronomic projects;
  • Plan, conduct, monitor, and evaluate agronomic trainings;
  • Increase water productivity through improved water management;
  • Work in team and involve interdisciplinary approaches;
  • Contribute to post-production value addition. 

 5.Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to PhD in Agronomy program must have M.Sc degree in Agronomy, Irrigation agronomy, Forage Agronomy, Crop sciences, Horticulture, Plant breeding, Plant protection, Seed science, Weed science, climatology, Agricultural economics, Soil science, or related agricultural sciences supported with a research thesis. MSc or PhD holders from other related fields would be admitted with bridging courses to bring the candidate to minimum level of proficiency in Agronomy. All graduate students must have adequate background in Agronomy, plant physiology, agricultural statistics (biometry), plant protection, genetics and plant breeding. All applicants should have to develop a concept note of their PhD research and should present sponsorship evidences and must produce two recommendation letters from academic referees. In addition, applicants should fulfill admission requirements set by the university.


      5.1 Administration of Graduate Standards in the Department

  •  Graduate Committee Appointment – The Graduate Committee is appointed by the department head each academic year and is composed of staff actively engaged in advising graduate students. The Graduate Committee chairperson will serve as liaison with the Graduate School. Final decisions on acceptance/rejection of applicants and award of departmental assistantships are made by the department head.
  •  Graduate Committee Duties – During review of the applicants for admission, the Graduate Committee should ensure that established criteria are met. This includes assurance that a suitable advisor is available for any potential graduate student.
  •  Admission Appeals – Appeals of admission are made to the Graduate Committee chairperson.

5.2 Advisory Committee

  •  Appointing advisory committee – Members of the Advisory Committee may be suggested by the student and approved by the major advisor. Committee members should be selected for their background in the area of specialization and their potential contributions as consultants or active participators in the student’s research. The committee should consist of a minimum of three or a maximum of five staff members, including at least one from outside the student’s major department or outside of JU. Membership on advisory committees is a major responsibility that teaching staff should not enter into unless they are prepared to make a commitment to fulfill the responsibilities of a committee member. These responsibilities include careful review of the research proposal with suggestions for improvement, providing technical expertise that complement the skills of the major advisor such that the student has at his/her disposal a wide array of technical skills required to complete a current research problem in Agronomy and a willingness to teach such techniques to the student, thesis/dissertation review to ensure that the research is completed and presented in a manner that facilitates publication, a keen eye to the possibility of ethical breaches, and fair-minded participation on the student’s oral and written examinations.
  •  Changing committee memberships- Changes in a student’s committee will be granted only upon approval of all committee members, new and old. A form will be available at the Graduate School for change in committee composition.

    5.3 Approving Dissertations

The focus of a plan of PhD degree is an original research project, culminating in a dissertation. The research project is supervised, and the dissertation is evaluated and approved by a committee of three teaching staff members, chaired by the student’s major advisor.

Research proposal– The proposal is expected to be specific and detailed, including the following components:

  •  Introduction a statement as to why the work is important.
  • Review of literature this should be sufficiently detailed to show that the student is familiar with the current state of the literature in the specific area.
  • Objectives one or more short factual statements indicating the nature of the study.  
  • Procedures described in sufficient detail for the committee to assess whether or not they are suitable for attaining the stated objectives.

This proposal need not be lengthy, but should clearly define what the student plans to do. The proposal may change as the results of preliminary experiments are learned. Radical changes to the proposed research should be discussed in subsequent committee meetings. Once the student, with the counsel and guidance of the advisor, has selected a thesis problem, a proposal as outlined above will be prepared for review and approval by the Advisory Committee. 

A dissertation that contributes knowledge of importance sufficient to warrant its publication will be offered by the PhD candidate. Once a student has become familiar with the resources and ongoing research within the department, the student and major advisor select an area of research and then proceed to develop a specific proposal. The research proposal must be approved by the student’s major advisor, and then submitted to the Advisory Committee for final review and approval. 

Dissertation submission- All theses/ dissertations must be submitted electronically and in hard copies checked by the department Graduate committee. Four hard copies of the final copy of the thesis/ dissertation are generally prepared. 

  • The PhD degree examination requires submission of dissertation by the candidate, based on the results of his/her research.
  • At least three months before the dissertation is submitted, the candidate shall, through his/her advisor, give notice of his/her intention to submit the thesis. He/She shall do this in writing to the Chairperson, Postgraduate Studies Committee, submitting at the same time, the proposed title and general scope of the work. 
  • Every dissertation for the PhD degree must be accompanied by declaration by neither the candidate stating that it is the candidate’s own original work and that it has neither been submitted nor concurrently being submitted in any other institution. The dissertation for examination must be submitted in four copies, one for the library, one for the department, one for the major adviser, and one for the student.
  • The dissertation shall contain a statement of copyright by the author. 
  • Every dissertation submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must be satisfactory with respect to its format and Literary presentation.
  •  The dissertation must contain an abstract of not more than 350 words, and this shall concisely indicate the problem investigated, the procedures and research methods employed, the general results and new contributions made, and the major conclusions reached. 
  • A PhD candidate may also submit in support of his/her dissertation any relevant publications of which he/she is the sole or joint author. In case of joint authorship, he/she will be required to state his/her own contribution to the publication.

 6.Examinations and degree award 

The examination process shall comprise two parts, namely (1) Examination of thesis, and (2) Oral Examination. 

  • For every PhD candidate, Postgraduate Studies Committee shall appoint, on recommendation of the relevant Department Graduate Committee, at least three qualified examiners of whom one shall be external to Jimma University. 
  • The Internal examiners shall be required to submit their report about the thesis within a maximum period of one month and external examiners a maximum of two months from the date of receipt. If reports are not received within two months for internal examiners and three months for external examiners, new examiners shall be appointed. Mailing time and other constrains will however be taken into account before new examiners are appointed.
  • Each examiner shall summarize his/her report about the dissertation with a definite recommendation for one of the following action. 
  • The thesis submitted is of an acceptable standard, and that the candidate is allowed to sit for a viva voice examination before incorporating comments and typographical errors suggested by examiners.
  • The Thesis be rejected but may be re-submitted after a further period of research and/or study ranging from 6-9 month.
  • The thesis is rejected outright.
  • A thesis recommended by examiners for re-writing and re-examination after one re-submission and re-examination will be rejected. 
  • Candidates allowed to sit for Viva Voce shall be examined to ascertain that: 
  • The dissertation presented is the original work of the candidate. 
  • The broader subject in which the study is based is fully grasped by the candidate; and.
  • The weaknesses in the dissertation (if any) can be adequately clarified by the candidate.

  The Viva Voce examination panel 

  • At the end of viva voce examination which shall normally not exceed three hours, the panel members shall sign an examination results form, giving specific recommendation for one of the following actions:
  • The PhD degree is awarded to the candidate subject to making minor corrections and revisions in the thesis as detailed in the viva voce proceeding and in the thesis by examiners. 
  • The PhD degree not to be awarded due to failure by the candidate to defend the thesis successfully. The candidate is allowed to re-write and resubmit the thesis for re-examination.
  • Candidate fails outright (reasons detailed in viva voce proceedings). 
  • The Chairperson of the viva voce panel shall submit to Postgraduate Studies committee the recommendation of the panel and a comprehensive report approved by the oral panelists detailing all the questions addressed to the candidate and the answers given to those questions. 
  • The candidate shall be required to submit four corrected hard bound copies and one soft copy of the thesis within two months after viva voce, upon submission and error free certificate will be issued by the Postgraduate Studies Committee. Failure to submit the corrected copies within two months without compelling reasons will mean discontinuation from studies.
  • The Final decision on the award of the PhD degree shall be made by Postgraduate Studies Committee.



Assessment and Evaluation Methods


Teaching and learning methods are based on the competence based education approach. The instructors will look for the optimal combination of methods in order for students to acquire the necessary competencies. This can include class room lectures, group discussions, field and laboratory practical activities, field visits, project assignments/term papers, seminar/presentations, self-study etc. 


Course assessment – Course assessment consists of continuous and final assessment; the students will be assessed using a variety of assessment methods, ranging from presentations, theory tests, practical reports, reflection reports, and case studies. The combination of methods will assess whether the students gained the competencies required in the labor market. Grading of students’ performances will be through the scaling system and student’s academic standing in each course is graded as A, B, and C according to his/her performance while all non-credited courses will be evaluated as satisfactory/unsatisfactory.


Thesis assessment – Research work, compiled into thesis at the end, will be supervised by an advisor and co-advisor. Progress in research and thesis work will be evaluated at the end of each semester. At the end of his/her study, the student must defend his/her thesis in an oral examination administered by appointed thesis defense examination committee. The open thesis defense shall be held at JUCAVM in the presence of well reputed external and examiners in the field of the research undertaken.


Program Evaluation- The curriculum and the PhD program in particular shall be critically evaluated and refined at regular intervals with the active involvement of the major stakeholders vis-à-vis alumni, students, employers, staff, Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) and the different segments of the society at large.

 8. Graduation Requirements


The student must obtain at least a “B” grade in all courses. A publication of one article or a paper accepted for publication in peer reviewed journals shall be a requirement before defense. The prospective graduate must fully satisfy the academic rules and regulations of the University set for graduation.

 9.Duration of the Study


The PhD training in Agronomy is a four years study that consists of course work and thesis research. The minimum residential requirement for the PhD program shall be two years. However, the maximum period within which the student will have to finish his or her study with no justifiable reasons will not be more than five years from the date of admission. The date on which the thesis is submitted shall be taken as the date for the purpose of calculating the maximum time limit prescribed. However, for reasons beyond the capacity of the student, an extension of an additional specified time can be allowed by approval of the academic commission. All requests for extension should be received in written through the PG school three months in advance of the last date from submission of thesis.


 10. Degree Naming



Doctor of Philosophy in Agronomy



Amharic version በ አግሮኖሚ የዶክትሬት ዲግሪ



 11. Quality Assurance and Program Evaluation

Quality assurance entails the systematic, structured and continuous attention given to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of the program. It is a measure of the value of what we do and the system of benchmarks that we use to make sure those standards are maintained and improved where possible on a continuous basis. Quality assurance aims to meet and keep to accepted standards of excellence, and is essential to maintain the reputation of the institution in general and the department in particular.

Generally, quality is assured through various mechanisms including having well qualified teaching staff in terms of the mix of qualifications and experience. In addition, the quality of teaching can be assured through making available suitable reference books and text books, teaching materials, laboratory manuals, better laboratory facilities, access to internet and computer services. The department will employ appropriate teaching, learning and assessment methods to ensure effective implementation of its programs. 

The college also has internal quality audit team, which monitors the standards of the exams. Open thesis defense is examined by examination board composed of an external examiner, internal examiner and chair person appointed by the graduate program council. Regular evaluation takes place to evaluate the quality of the course content and the teaching staff and to see what needs to be revised or improved. Involved in this evaluation are students and teaching staff. In the near future alumni and stakeholders from the labor market will participate as well.


Required Courses by Semester

Year-I sem-I

Course Code

Course Title

Cr. Hrs


Agrn 711

Applied Crop Ecology and Cropping Systems



Agrn 712

Crop Nutrient Management and Soil Microbial Interactions



Agrn 713

Stress Physiology and Physiological Aspects of Crop Yield



Agrn 714

Biostatistics for Agriculture



Agrn 715

Seminar in Agronomy



Agrn 716

Integrated Crop Pest Management (E)



Agrn 717

Advanced Crop Improvement (E)





12 + 2


Year-I sem-II

Course Code

Course Title

Cr. Hrs


Agrn 721

Systems Analysis and Crop Modeling



Agrn 722

GIS and Geospatial Analysis

2 (1+1)


Agrn 723

Sustainable Intensification of cropping systems



Agrn 724

Irrigation Agronomy



Agrn 727

Agroclimatic Analysis  and Risk Management in Crop Production



Agrn 725

Research and Scientific writing



Agrn 726

Advanced seed science and technology (E)








Year-II sem-I


Course Code

Course Title

Cr. Hrs


Agrn 728


30 (0+30)