The Department of Economics is an integral part of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Botswana. Since August 1991, the Department has successfully administered an MA degree programme in Economics, and is a member of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). The Department now seeks to launch an MPhil/PhD programme in Economics.
The MPhil/PhD programme in Economics is designed to produce graduates who are competent in economic theory and practice. The programme will enable students to acquire knowledge and skills through instructions and research.
3.0 The Objectives of the MPhil/PhD Programme are:
(a) To enable Botswana and other students from elsewhere to have the opportunity for advanced training in economics.
(b) To provide a forum for the exchange of research output through projects, theses and seminars.
(c) To enhance the understanding of the Botswana economy and other regional economies through case studies, research and publications.
(d) To contribute to the Staff Development Programme of the University of Botswana.
(e) To contribute to the Vision and Mission of the University of Botswana.
4.0 The Rationale for the MPhil/PhD Programme
To date, over 150 students have graduated from the MA programme since it began in 1991, 56 of whom were local students. In recent years, the number of local students admitted into the programme has been greater than that of foreign students, signifying the increasing popularity of the programme within the country. The 19 years in which the programme has successfully been administered epitomize the maturity of the Department of Economics at UB. In essence, the PhD programme will be a logical extension of the MA economics. Through the programme, the Department will provide Batswana and other students the opportunity to obtain the highest qualification in economics.
The Department is involved in several collaborative efforts, including the AERC. The AERC was established in 1988 and its principal objective is to strengthen capacity in research and training in Sub-Saharan Africa. The training component of the AERC is through the Collaborative MA Pragramme (CMAP) and the Collaborative PhD Programme (CPP) in economics. Participating universities collaborate, among others, by offering electives jointly. The Department of Economics at the University of Botswana is a member of CMAP.
In the AERC, participating universities have been placed into categories A and B. Category
A universities send their students to category B universities because the latter comprise those universities which are deemed to have adequate capacity to offer core courses (Macroeconomics, Microeconomics and Quantitative Methods) and meet jointly determined and enforced standards. The University of Botswana Economics Department has since 1991 being classified as category B because of its ability to offer the core courses and dissertation supervision in CMAP.
In April 2007, the Department of Econonomics was reviewed externally by two eminent economists. The reviewers, among others, observed that the Departmnent’s succcess in running the MA programme should be the basis for offering an MPhil/PhD programme in Economics at the University of Botswana. In section 2.3.4 of his report, one of the reviewers stated:
One important room for improvement is the lack of the PhD programme in Economics. This report would like to encourage the Department and the University to build on the current strength of the Department and the existing successful CMAP in order to offer a PhD programme in Economics, through the Collaborative PhD Programme (CPP) co-ordinated by the AERC, as an award university during the next review of Departments of Economics in Africa. Clearly, this strategy is also consistent with the Vision of the University as ‘a leading academic centre of excellence in Africa and the world’.
The rationale for establishing an MPhil/PhD programme in Economics is the Department’s success in the MA programme and the recommendations of the external reviewers. This is also in line with UB’s strategy of intensifying research performance through increasing and enhancing student research training (UB Strategy for Excellence, 2008). Although, initially, the MPhil/PhD programme will not be part of the CPP, establishing the programmme at the University of Botswana will enable the Department to meet the prerequisites for applying to join the CPP at a later stage.
The proposed doctoral degree in Economics is much more than an extension of an Master’s programme with learning outcomes that go beyond the completion of courses. The programme will require students to demonstrate advanced analytical skills and knowledge, linking teaching and research in the field of economics to develop and adapt the vital skills that facilitate successful graduate students to grow and mature as professionals. With this perspective, the PhD programme will enable students to use applications of economic and statistical methods to solve real world problems in agriculture, forestry, life sciences, finance sector, industry, and beyond.
Through the various courses in the programme, students will acquire the ability to integrate knowledge from formal courses, research activities, independent studies, service learning, and other forms of experience. This framework of programme implementation fosters the University’s commitment to advance knowledge and understanding through research and its application to improvement of economic and social development, as well as high impact engagement with the private sector, the professions, and government.
The programme staff is competent and devoted to helping graduate students achieve academic, intellectual, personal, and career goals. The overall programme design offers a challenging environment of scholarship, creativity, and intellectual freedom for the graduate students, who will be encouraged to work closely with the programme staff and participate in academic activities as colleagues in the School.
5.0 Needs Assessment
There has been revealed preference for the MPhil/PhD programme in economics. Enquiries about the programme have come from governmental and non-governmental organizations within and outside Botswana.
The Department of Economics also seeks to benefit from the facilities provided by the Collaborative PhD Programme (CPP) for Sub-Saharan Africa. The CPP is categorized into host and non-host degree-awarding universities (DAUs). The DAUs admit students and send them to the regional host to do core courses, before the students take electives at a joint facility for electives (the CPP JFE) in Nairobi, Kenya. Through thesis workshops, the CPP ensures that PhD students complete their theses and produce high quality work. There are PhD thesis workshops at the proposal, post-field-work, and draft stages of the theses. The non-host DAUs supervise PhD theses for the students they admit and award PhD degrees to those who successfully complete the programme.
The Department of Economics at the University of Botswana will gain if it eventually becomes a degree-awarding university in the CPP. The Department will be able to utilize the facilities of the CPP, such as the CPP JFE and the CPP thesis workshops. If UB is a degree-awarding university, it means that the catchment area of potential candidates for the MPhil/PhD in Economics programme is Southern Africa, with the AERC offering scholarships to some students to enroll at UB. To become part of the CPP, however, the Department needs to have a running PhD programme. Therefore, subsequent to the launch of the PhD programme, the Department of Economics at UB intends, by 2014, to be a host degree-awarding university in the CPP.
6.0 Career Opportunities
Employment opportunities for PhD holders in Economics exist in both the public and private sectors, at local, regional and global levels. Studies have shown that the demand for PhD holders in Africa exceeds the supply. This is particularly the case for PhD holders in economics.
7.0 Departmental Regulations for the MPhil/PhD Degree in Economics
The MPhil/PhD degree programme in Economics shall be in accordance with the General Regulations 50.1 and 50.2 for the Degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (UB Graduate Calendar 2009/2010).
7.2 Admission Requirements
7.2.0 MPhil Programme
Admission into the MPhil (Economics) programme shall be in accordance with Regulation 50.1 of the General Regulations for the Degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Notwithstanding the provisions of General Regulation 50.1, candidates admitted into the MPhil (Economics) programme should have a Masters degree.
Admission into the PhD (Economcis) programme shall be in accordance with Regualation 50.2 of the General Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
7.3 Submission of Application for Admission
The procedure for submitting applications for admissions to the PhD (Economics) programme shall be as stipulated in General Regulations 50.2
The procedure for registration for the PhD (Economics) programme shall be a stated in General Regulations 50.3
7.5 Programme Structure
Further to the provisions of the General Regulations, all candidates are expected to complete satisfactorily the following requirements:
7.5.1 MPhil Programme
FSS 800 Advanced Social Science Research Methods (3 credits)
ECO 801 Seminar Topics in Advanced Microeconomics (3 credits)
ECO 802 Seminar Topics in advanced Macroeconomics(3 credits)
ECO 803 Seminar Topics in Advanced Econometrics (3 credits)
ECO 805 Supervised research proposal (3 credits) Semester 3 – 6:
ECO 820 Supervised research and dissertation (MPhil)(12 credits) 9.5.2 PhD Programme
ECO 920 Supervised research and thesis (PhD) (60 credits)
7.6 Duration of the Programme
The duration of the programme shall be as prescribed in General Regulation 50.5.2 and 50.5.3.
7.7 Programme of Study
The programme of study shall be as stipulated in General Regulation 50.6
7.8 Transfer of Registration
Transfer of registration from MPhil to PhD and from PhD to MPhil shall be in accordance with General Regulation 50.7. Candidates registered for the MPhil programme may transfer to the PhD programme after the completion of the MPhil proposal.
The thesis shall be submitted as specified in General Regulation 50.8
Examinations shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of General Regulations 50.9
7.11 Notification of Results and Award of Degree
The notification of results and award of degree shall be in accordance with the provisions of General Regulations 50.10.