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MS Degree

Admissions

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

General Degree Requirements

The MS degree at KAUST is a 36-credit program. Students are expected to complete the MS 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 MS thesis work. With permission of the MS 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 MS experience.
  • PhD Level Courses: Courses numbered 300 or greater. Any course in the PhD core requirements that is passed with a minimum grade of B– may be used towards meeting the core PhD requirements of the program if the student chooses to continue for a PhD degree at KAUST.

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

Committee Structure and Thesis Defense

A committee comprised of the MS thesis advisor and two other faculty members performs the evaluation of satisfactory completion of MS thesis work. The chair of the committee must be a faculty member within the program. One external faculty member, or one Research Scientist may be allowed. 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.
  • PhD Level Courses: Courses numbered 300 or greater. Any course in the PhD core requirements that is passed with a minimum grade of B– may be used towards meeting the core PhD requirements of the program if the student chooses to continue for a PhD 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 might be able to also combine courses to satisfy the six-credit requirement. For example, a student could take one PhD-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.

For a list of eligible faculty advisors, click here.

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.

Program Descriptions

The Master's and Doctoral degree program requirements represent general university-level expectations. The specific details of each degree requirements are outlined in the descriptions of the individual degree programs.

The MS/PhD Program

The MS/PhD program is an attractive option for students looking for fast entry into the world of research. Students can apply for the PhD program after completing a BS degree and are engaged in exciting research from the beginning of their program. The program typically takes four to five years to complete and students may complete a MS degree on the way to their PhD.

Contact the Office of Admissions

Mailing Address
Graduate Affairs,
Engineering Building (Building 9), Suite 4328,
4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology,
Thuwal 23955-6900,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

admissions@kaust.edu.sa
KSA Office: +966 (0)2 808 3428