Doctor of Philosophy in Design



    The world is faced with complex challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural resource depletion and widening inequality. The African continent is particularly affected by these global challenges due to the continent’s slow pace of development. In Kenya, development challenges are a major concern for the government. Through its vision 2030, the Kenyan government aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment. To help achieve Kenya’s vision, and Africa’s vision for enriching livelihoods in general, designers need to explore new approaches to problem solving. The PhD programme in design engages with these kinds of complex, interconnected problems by equipping candidates with skills to envision a better future for all.


    The philosophy of the Doctor of Philosophy in Design is to prepares candidates to achieve world class scholarly excellence in design by providing quality research skills and training that embody the aspirations of the Kenyan people and the global community through creation, preservation, integration, transmission and utilization of design knowledge


    The Philosophy of the Doctor of Philosophy rationale arises from the need to have an industry- focused programme that prepares design professionals to participate  in design process in communities and organizations as well as to be a premier centre for design excellence through quality design research and technological innovation

    Goal of the Programme

    The goal of the programme is to prepare:

    1. A more holistic design professional who can consider and integrate technological and social innovations to solve complex challenges.
    2. A design researcher who is more responsive to global trends of environmental sustainability, economic viability and social responsibility.
    3. A design entrepreneur who can create employment opportunities locally and create product solutions with global appeal.


    At the end of this programme the Learner should be able to:

    1. Critically analyse theoretical knowledge and integrate creativity and technical skills to solve complex design challenges.
    2. Demonstrate advanced skills in scientific writing, logical reasoning and communication skills.
    3. Engage stakeholders in collaborative design activities that are geared towards social change and policy advice.

    Schedule of Intakes

    The Department admits new students at the beginning of every academic calendar year (which is usually September)

    Application Information

    You will be required to enter some basic information, including your email address and to choose a password. We will then send you an email to the address you entered, so that we can validate your account. When you have clicked on the validation link (sent to you in the email), you will be able to log in to the application system using the "Login" box below

    For instructions on how to apply click here

    To apply online here

    Mode of Delivery

    • Face-to-Face Mode

    This is through lectures and tutorials using notes, electronic presentations, instruction manuals, group discussions, practical laboratory demonstrations and fieldwork.

    • Open, Distance Learning and e-Learning

    In case of delivery through ODeL, special arrangements shall be made for the practical laboratory, field work and computing sessions. Where not feasible alternative arrangements will be made to do them on campus. 

    • Blended Learning

    This is a hybrid of face to face with Open, Distance Learning and e-learning.

    Contact of Support Persons

    Phone : (254) 020-4913505

    Email  :

    Notable Alumni


    1. The Doctor of Philosophy in Design programme is  offered under one module; full time (Module II). The degree programme, is a  thesis only three year programme that  runs for a minimum of six (6) semesters and a maximum of fourteen (14) semesters from the date of registration.
    2. The student shall be required undertake a research thesis.


    YEAR 1






    BDS 607

    PhD Thesis report


    Thesis Defence




    Minimum Admission Requirements

    Common regulations for PhD degrees at the University of Nairobi shall apply.

    Admission to the PhD in Design is open to holders of Masters degrees in:

    1. Design of the University of Nairobi or an equivalent qualification recognized by Senate;
    2. Any discipline related to Design from the University of Nairobi or other Universities recognized by the Senate.

    Attachment Opportunities

    The Interior Design major focuses on residential and commercial design. Residential interior designers are responsible for the layout and design of spaces where clients live while commercial designers specialize in designing spaces for businesses such as offices, restaurants, stores, and more. Interior Designers are needed in many areas such as:

    • Health Care
    • Hospitality
    • Facility Space Planning
    • Retail Design
    • Consulting Services
    • Lighting Design
    • Exhibit Design
    • Sustainable Design

    Career Prospects

    1. Self Employment
    2. Consultancies
    3. Government Agencies
    4. Parastatals
    5. Non-governmental Organizations
    6. Design Firms
    7. Architecture Firms



    TUITION            480,000             480,000         480,000            1,440,000
    ICT SERVICES - (PER YEAR)                7,000                 7,000             7,000                 21,000
    THESIS EXAMINATION                     -                        -             50,000                 50,000
    REGISTRATION (PER SEMESTER@2250)                4,500                 4,500             4,500                 13,500
    ID CARD ( PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
    CAUTION - (ONCE)                5,000                      -                     -                     5,000
    MEDICAL FEE (PER YEAR)                6,500                 6,500             6,500                 19,500
    ACTIVITY-( PER YEAR)                2,000                 2,000             2,000                   6,000
    LIBRARY (PER YEAR)                5,000                 5,000             5,000                 15,000
    STUDENT ORGANISATION(PER YEAR)                1,000                 1,000             1,000                   3,000
    Grand TOTAL            512,000             507,000         557,000            1,576,000
    Exam Regulations

    The thesis examination will be governed by the general examinations’ regulations of the graduate school of the University.