PhD Plant Breeding

Duration (in semesters): 10

Credits (per semester): 12


The overall goal of the PhD Programme is to train the next generation of plant breeders, to breed crops in national
agricultural research stations, for production systems in especially Central and West Africa. The objectives are to:

  • significantly improve the quality of PhD level training in plant breeding offered to students from universities in West and Central Africa
  • create opportunities to develop improved local varieties of the staples grown by smallholders in the sub-regions, using the advances in plant breeding science and molecular biology, and informed by farmers' stated preferences
  • provide the necessary skills to direct and manage local plant breeding programmes to meet local needs, and to respond to indigenous demands
  • develop breeding techniques appropriate to address some of the unique breeding/crop improvement objectives for the sub-regions
  • create a de facto network of functioning plant breeders and their local co-supervisors from the sub-regions

Structure and content:

The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement's Ph.D Programme

The programme consists of two stages: two years of academic study at the University of Ghana and three years of field research at the student's research station/university in his/her home country. Each student will follow a 4 - 5 years programme leading to the award of a PhD (Plant Breeding) upon successful completion.

Crop Focus
The course work and research will focus on the following West Africa food crops:
Cereals: maize, rice, sorghum, millet
Root and tubers: cassava and sweet potato
Legumes: cowpea and groundnut
Vegetables: tomato and pepper.

Selection Criteria/Funding
Scholarships are advertised extensively in all participating countries and applications are reviewed by a panel of local academics. Forty students arriving in cohorts of eight over five academic years will receive support from this innovative plant breeding PhD Programme.

The WACCI programme is specifically for full-time, professional plant breeders who will make their careers breeding new cultivars of food crops. Prospective students must have:

  • an MSc/MPhil in Plant Breeding, Plant Genetics, Plant Pathology, Horticulture, Crop Science, Applied Entomology, Applied Nematology or equivalent degree.
  • a position as an agricultural research scientist in a national research institute or university in the potential student's home country is also essential, so that the student can return to his/her home country to conduct the field research for the PhD thesis.

Applicants should be under the age of 40.
Applicants who have not been instructed in English at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels must have 
a test score of at least 550 (paper test) or 213 (computer test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)-