M.S. Thesis Guidelines

Apply for Master's with Thesis

  • M.S. students can apply for the M.S. with Thesis track as early as their second semester.
  • M.S. students are required to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2.  Students who are in programs that only offer M.S. with Thesis degree (Chemical Science and Chemical and Biological Engineering) are exempt from the GPA requirement. 
  • Students are required to submit their application by the ninth week of their second semester at KAUST.
  • Students can work on an M.S. Thesis under the supervision of program affiliated faculty members.
  • Students may select to work on their thesis with a non-affiliated faculty member. The potential non-affiliated thesis supervisor must become a project-affiliated supervisor for this specific thesis project. In this case, the student has to maintain a program affiliated Academic Advisor. The non-affiliated faculty member will be assigned as the Thesis Supervisor.​ The following documents must be submitted to the program’s GPC for the Program Chair approval:
    • M.S. Thesis Application Form.
    • Research proposal submitted by the supervisor providing an over-all research project summary and explaining how the project relates to the student’s home program.
    • This application is subject to approval by the student’s home project faculty members.
    • The student and supervisor will be informed of the decision by the GPC.

M.S. Thesis Timeline

The M.S. Thesis supervisor and student need to define the thesis timeline at the time the application is submitted. The student is expected to complete the M.S. with Thesis degree requirements by the end of their second Spring semester (fifth semester). Students may apply to extend into the Summer semester (sixth semester) by submitting the Request for Time Extension to Complete M.S. Thesis form to their GPC. This is subject to the approval of the Dean of the Division and the Dean of Graduate Affairs.

Writing the Thesis Document

Students must follow the KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines available on the library website when they write their thesis.

The Writing Center provide editorial assistance to students writing their thesis. Students can book a time by sending an email to Skills Lab, skillslab@kaust.edu.sa.

The Student can also use the Turnitin tool in Blackboard to check the Thesis document for plagiarism.
Steps to run the plagiarism report:
  • ​Log into Blackboard.
  • Click on the course titled (“Year”_”Semester”_THES) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.
  • Click on View/Complete under Originality-Check.
  • Fill in your information and Upload your Thesis document.
  • Click on Go to Assignment Inbox.
  • Click on the similarity percentage next to your Thesis Title.
To run the report at a later time:
Log into Blackboard.
  • Click on the course titled (“Year”_”Semester”_THES) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.
  • Click on Course Tools.
  • Click on Turnitin Assignments.

Thesis Committee Formation

Once the student and supervisor agree that the thesis is ready to be examined/defended, the student has to form a Thesis examination committee. The student has to submit the Thesis Formation Committee form to the GPC no later than two weeks before the schedule defense. 

Thesis Committee Members’ selection criteria:
  • The Thesis Committee must consist of at least three members, and typically includes no more than four members.
  • At least two of the required members must be KAUST faculty. The two members (the Chair plus one additional faculty member) must be affiliated with the student’s program. 
  • The third member must be a faculty from outside the program. A Research Scientist may be allowed to serve as the third members.
  • The fourth members is optional. Any KAUST faculty members (inside or outside the program) can serve as fourth member.
​Member Role​ ​Program Status
​1 Committee Chairperson (M.S. Thesis Advisor) Within Program or Affiliated
​2 ​KAUST Faculty Member Within Program
​3 Faculty or Approved Research Scientist Outside Program
​4 Additional Faculty (Optional) Inside or outside KAUST
Click here to download the M.S. Thesis Committee Formation form.

Submitting the Thesis

The division recommends that the student submit the Thesis to the examining committee no later than two weeks prior to the defense. However, the committee chair sets the final requirement for the submission timeline. 

Thesis Defense Date

The deadline to defend the Thesis is no later than two weeks before the last day of the semester. The student must set the date of the Thesis Defense inline with the committee member’s schedules. At the time the student submits the Thesis Committee Formation form, the defense has to be scheduled.

Booking a Venue of the Thesis Defense

It is the student’s responsibility to book a room and make the necessary IT arrangements for the Thesis Defense. Room booking is done thru the student portal under Service Request Management.

Thesis Defense Announcement

The student must submit to their GPC the title and abstract of his/her Thesis a week before defense date. The GPC will announce the Thesis defense to program members. The time and location of the defense must be included in the email.  The student is required to check their program guides for further instructions related to their defense format.
  • An oral defense is required however the Dean can waive this requirement. The requirement of a public or private defense is left to the discretion of the committee.
  • As a general guideline the defense is expected to be a 45-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of general Q&A then a closed-door Q&A session with the committee.

Thesis Defense Evaluation

A pass is achieved when the committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote otherwise the student fails. The final approval must be submitted no more than three days after the defense.

After examination/defense, you will receive one of the following outcomes:
  • Pass: The student will be given one week to apply any corrections required by the committee members. During the following week, the student is required to upload the final draft of Thesis document to Blackboard for format check and to start the submission process.
  • Fail: The student must notify the program GPC immediately of the committee decision.
The student is required to submit MS Thesis Approval form within two days after the Thesis defense regardless of the outcome.

Click here to download the M.S. Thesis Approval form.

Thesis Submission

Once the post-examination corrections are made, the student must do the following:
  • Upload the final draft of the Thesis document to Turnitin through Blackboard under the course titled (“Year”_”Semester”_THES) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.
  • Inform your GPC when this has been done.
  • Submit the M.S. Thesis Final Approval form to GPC, Click here to download the form.
  • Submit the Copyright form available on KAUST Library website to GPC.

The GPC will check for format errors and plagiarism
  • A Turnitin Plagiarism report will be sent to the Thesis Supervisor to confirm the authenticity of the Thesis document. If citation corrections need to be made, the supervisor will let you know and you must re-upload the Thesis after corrections are made.
  • The GPC will inform the student of any format corrections required in accordance with KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.
  • If there are no formatting or plagiarism errors, the GPC will submit the final draft of the Thesis, the M.S. Final Approval form, and the Copyright form to the Library Archive.
  • The library will send the tracking number of the Thesis document to GPC.
  • GPC will add the tracking number to the M.S. Thesis Final Approval form.
  • GPC will send the M.S. Thesis Final Approval form to officially notify the Registrar Office and confirm the completion of the M.S. Thesis degree requirements. A copy of the email will be sent to the student.
  • The registrar office will start the graduation and exit processes at this stage.