General Degree Requirements
The M.S. degree at KAUST is a 36-credit program. Students are expected to
M.S. degree in three semesters and one summer
session. Degree requirements are divided into three sections:
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
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 academic advisor and will involve
a combination of research and other capstone experiences that build on
the knowledge gained in coursework.
At least 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 academic advisor.
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 semester. A minimum
of six 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 academic 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
Students are permitted to register in more than 12 credits of M.S.
thesis research as necessary and with the permission of the academic advisor.
Committee Structure and Thesis Defense
A committee comprised of the academic advisor and two other faculty
members performs the evaluation of satisfactory completion of M.S. 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 M.S. 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 academic advisor.
The student is responsible for scheduling the thesis defense date with
his/her academic advisor 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.
Research requirement: A minimum of six 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
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
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
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
Please Note: individual programs may have
additional requirement to those listed above.
The Master's and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree program requirements represent
general university-level expectations. The specific details of each degree
requirements are outlined in the descriptions of the individual degree
The M.S./Ph.D. Program
The M.S./Ph.D. program is an attractive option for students looking for fast
entry into the world of research. Students can apply for the Ph.D. program after
completing a bachelor's degree. They will be engaged in exciting
research from the beginning of their program which typically takes four to
five years to complete. Students may complete a M.S. degree while working toward