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Master's Program

Admissions

Admission to the M.S. program requires the satisfactory completion of an undergraduate B.S. degree in a relevant or related area, such as Engineering, Mathematics or the Physical, Chemical and Biological Sciences.

General Degree Requirements

The M.S. degree at KAUST is a 36-credit program. Students are expected to complete the M.S. degree in three semesters and one summer session. Degree requirements are divided into three sections: (1) Core Curriculum; (2) Elective Curriculum; and (3) Research/Capstone Experience.

  1. Core Curriculum (9-15 credits): This portion of the degree program is designed to provide a student with the background needed to establish a solid foundation in the discipline over and above undergraduate studies.
  2. Elective Curriculum (9-15 credits): This portion of the degree program is designed to allow each student to tailor his/her educational experience to meet individual research and educational objectives. Depending upon the program and the objectives, this may be met by added coursework or by additional research experience.
  3. Research/Capstone Experience (12 credits): The details of this portion of the degree program are also uniquely determined by the student and his/her advisor and will involve a combination of research and other capstone experiences that build on the knowledge gained in coursework.

At least thirty-six (36) degree credits must be completed in graduate-level courses and research projects. These courses should be 200-level or above and must be approved by the program advisor.

Thesis Requirements

Students pursuing the Thesis option must apply by the eighth week of their second semester. Thesis students are expected to conduct research and compose the thesis during the summer and subsequent fall semesters. A minimum of 6 credits of thesis research (297) is required, although it is expected that a student will enroll in 12 credits of M.S. thesis work. With permission of the M.S. thesis advisor, a student who enrolls in only 6 credits of thesis research may use one of the following options to earn the six remaining credits of degree requirements:

  • Internship: Research-based summer internship (295). Students are only allowed to take one internship.
  • Broadening Experience Courses: Courses that broaden a student’s M.S. experience.
  • Ph.D.-Level Courses: Courses numbered 300 or greater. Any course in the Ph.D. core requirements that is passed with a minimum grade of B– may be used towards meeting the core Ph.D. requirements of the program if the student chooses to continue for a Ph.D. degree in at KAUST.

Students are permitted to register more than 12 credits of M.S. thesis research as necessary and with the permission of the thesis advisor.

Committee Structure and Thesis Defense

Evaluation of satisfactory completion of MS thesis work is performed by a committee comprising the M.S. thesis advisor and two other faculty members. The chair of the committee must be a faculty member within the program. The evaluation of MS thesis credits comprises of a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade. The requirement of a public seminar based on the student’s work is left to the discretion of the MS thesis advisor.

The student is responsible for scheduling the thesis defense date with his/her supervisor and committee members. It is advisable that the student submits a written copy of the thesis to the thesis committee members at least two weeks prior the defense date.

Non-Thesis Option

Research requirement: A minimum of 6 credits of directed research credits (299) is required. Summer internship credits may be used to fulfill the research requirement provided that the summer internship is research-based. Summer internships are subject to approval by the student’s academic advisor.

Students must complete the remaining credits through one or a combination of the options listed below:

  • Broadening Experience Courses: Courses that broaden a student’s M.S. experience.
  • Ph.D.-Level Courses: Courses numbered 300 or greater. Any course in the Ph.D. core requirements that is passed with a minimum grade of B– may be used towards meeting the core Ph.D. requirements of the program if the student chooses to continue for a Ph.D. degree in at KAUST.
  • Internship: Research-based summer internship (295). Students are only allowed to take one internship.

It should be noted that a student may also combine courses to satisfy the six-credit requirement. For example, a student could take one Ph.D.-level course and one graduate-level course in another program. A student may not enroll in two summer internships.

Thesis format requirements are described in the KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

View a list of eligible faculty advisors.

Students may select a KAUST faculty member from another program to act as a research advisor (for either thesis or directed research), but must provide a one-page description of the research and an explanation of how such research would be relevant to the degree program. Upon approval by the program and the Dean, the faculty member would be allowed to act as an affiliated faculty member and advisor for the student. Please Note: Degree Programs may have additional requirement to those listed above.