Fully Funded Master and PhD Scholarships at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

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Master of Science Degree​

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Admissions

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

Application Deadlines ​

We are currently accepting applications for Spring and Fall 2020

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:

  • ​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 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.

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 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 greater. 

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.

Non-Thesis Option

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 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. 
  • 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.

Program Descriptions

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 programs.

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 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 M.S. degree on the way to their Ph.D.

Ph.D. Program ​

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Admissions

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program requires the satisfactory completion of an undergraduate or master’s degree in science in a relevant or related area, such as Engineering, Mathematics or the Physical, Chemical and Biological Sciences. 

There are three phases and associated milestones for Ph.D. students: 

  • ​Passing a qualifying exam
  • Passing an oral defense of the dissertation proposal
  • Dissertation phase with a final defense milestone

Application Deadlines ​

We are currently accepting applications for Spring and Fall 2020

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires a three and a half year residency for students entering with a bachelor’s degree and two and a half years for students entering with a master’s degree. Qualification and advancement to candidacy are contingent upon: (i) successfully passing Ph.D. coursework, (ii) designating an academicadvisor, (iii) successfully passing a qualifying exam, and (iii) writing and orally defending a research proposal. Possible outcomes include pass, failure with complete retake, failures with partial retake, and failure with no retake. Students not permitted to retake the exam, or who fail the retake, will be dismissed from the University. The maximum allotted time for advancement to candidacy for a student entering with a master’s degree is two years, and three years for students entering with a bachelor’s degree.
Satisfactory participation in the KAUST Summer Session and Winter Enrichment Period (WEP) is mandatory. Summer Session courses are credit bearing and apply toward the degree. WEP courses do not grant credit towards the degree.

The required coursework is outlined below: 

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree

  • Core courses
  • Elective courses 

Ph.D. Degree

  • Two or more courses at the 300 level
  • Graduate seminar if required by the program

Some degree programs may require an assessment entrance exam as the basis for admission, and students may be required to complete additional coursework. If the master’s degree is from a subject other than the Ph.D. degree program, there may also be additional courses required and specified by the advisor. 

Candidacy​

Achieving Ph.D. candidacy is contingent upon successfully passing a qualifying examination, acceptance of a written research proposal, and successfully passing an oral defense examination. Details should be confirmed in the individual degree program material. Click here  for a list of eligible academic advisors for any degree program.

Passing the qualification phase is achieved by acceptance of all committee members of the written proposal and a positive vote of all, but at most, one member of the oral exam committee. If more than one member casts a negative vote, one retake of the oral defense is permitted if the entire committee agrees. A conditional pass involves conditions (e.g., another course in a perceived area of weakness) imposed by the committee, with the conditional status removed when those conditions have been met. Once constituted, the composition of the qualification phase committee can only be changed upon approval by both the academic advisor and the division dean.

Dissertation Research Credits

Besides coursework (six or more credit hours), dissertation research (397) must be earned during the first (proposal preparation and defense) and second phases of the Ph.D. program. A full-time workload for Ph.D. students is considered to be 12 credit hours per semester (courses and 397) and six credit hours in summer (397 only). There is a minimum residency enrolment period at KAUST of 2.5 years for students entering with an master’s degree, and 3.5 years for students entering with a bachelor’s degree. The maximum enrolment period is five years, extendable upon approval of both the academic advisor and the division dean.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense​

The dissertation defense is the final exam of the Ph.D. degree. It involves a public presentation of the results of the dissertation research followed by a question and answer session. The dissertation and defense committee consists of four members of which at least three must be KAUST faculty members. The committee chair plus one other member must be an affiliated faculty member. The committee must also include one external examiner who must write a report on the dissertation and attend the defense. Qualified visiting professors may be involved as on-campus committee members. 

It is the responsibility of the student to inform the dissertation committee of his/her progress and meet deadlines for submitting a defense date and graduation forms. It is expected that students will submit their dissertations to their committee six weeks prior to the defense date in order to receive feedback from the committee members in a timely manner. However, the academic advisor may approve exceptions to this expected timeline. The dissertation format requirements are described in the KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

The result of the defense will be made based on the recommendation of the committee. There are four possible results: (1) Pass: the student passes the exam and the dissertation is accepted as submitted; (2) Pass with revisions: the student passes the exam and the student is advised of the revisions that must be made to the text of the dissertation; (3) Failure with retake: normally this means the student must do more research to complete the dissertation. The student must revise the dissertation and give another oral examination within six months from the date of the first defense; and (4) Failure: the student does not pass the exam, the dissertation is not accepted, the degree is not awarded, and the student is dismissed from the University.

Program Descriptions​

The master’s and doctoral degree program requirements listed above represent general university-level expectations. The specific details of each degree requirements are outlined in the descriptions of the individual degree programs. 

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