Makerere set to graduate highest number of PhD students

Graduates are seen during the 73rd graduation of Makerere University on February 13, 2023. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  •  The university is still in the process of searching for a chancellor to replace Prof Ezra Suruma whose second term in office expired in December 2023

At least 132 students from across different colleges at Makerere University are set to receive their doctorate degrees during a week-long graduation ceremony set to kick off on January 29.
According to data from the country’s oldest public university, this will be the largest number of PhD graduates ever since its establishment in 1922.
During the 73th graduation ceremony last year, only 102 students graduated with Doctorate Degrees. During the 72nd and 71st graduation ceremonies, there were only 100 and 108 PhD graduates respectively. 

Makerere starts search for new chancellor to replace Suruma
The institution's Academic registrar, Prof Buyinza Mukadasi attributed the growth in number to consistent strategic planning which include; reviewing curricula and revitalizing student supervision methods that have happened since Covid-19 recess.
He added that organizing activities such as doctoral conventions, scientific conferences and seminars aimed at making Makerere a more research-intensive and research-led university, have also helped to improve PhD completion rates.
“All colleges and schools have realigned their PhD training approaches to fit into the overall goal,” he added.
There are 47 female and 87 male PhD graduands out of the 6,816 female and 6,097 male students from different colleges.
Out of a total of 12,913 students set to graduate, 11,016 are undergraduates, 24 are undergraduate diploma students, 156 are postgraduate diploma students, 1,585 are Master degree students and 132 are PhDs students. 

Who will confer the degrees? 

Last year, the institution started a search for the new chancellor after Prof Ezra Suruma’s second term in office expired in December 2023.
The council set January 11 as the deadline to receive Chancellorship applications. However, the results are not yet out hence leaving the question of who will sit in to perform chancellor's duties at 74th graduation.

The appointment of the Chancellor is done by the President of the Republic of Uganda upon the recommendation of the University Council.
Section 30 (3) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001, mandates the chancellor t0 preside over the ceremonial assemblies of the university and confer the degrees and other academic titles and distinctions of that university.
However, the same act allows the vice chancellor to perform these responsibilities in the absence of the chancellor under section 31. (1) (b).