In the Earth Science and Engineering (ErSE) program at KAUST, faculty and their students engage in interdisciplinary research to understand and model geophysical and geological processes in the complex and changing nature of our planet. The ErSE curriculum provides graduate-level education in earth sciences and their applications in four distinct specializations represented by four tracks:

- Geophysical Fluids and Climate System Science
- Geophysics
- Geology
- Machine Learning in Geosciences

The program is rich with opportunities, for both M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, with a focus on modern computational and advanced data-analysis as well as laboratory and field methods to study geoscience problems. Depending on the chosen track, students in this program receive broad training in numerical methods, mathematical modelling, geophysics and/or geology. M.Sc. students have an option to participate in scientific research activities that include computational and mathematical modelling or field- and/or lab study projects (M.Sc. with thesis). Ph.D. candidates in the program conduct original research publishable in international high-ranking peer-reviewed journals.

Students are admitted to KAUST from a wide variety of programs and backgrounds. In order to facilitate the design of an appropriate study plan for each individual student, all incoming M.Sc. students will be required to take a written assessment during orientation week. There is no grade for the assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether students have mastered the prerequisites for undertaking graduate level courses taught in the program. The Academic Advisor uses the results of the assessments to design, if necessary, a remedial study plan with a list of courses aimed at addressing content areas that may impede a student from successful completion of the degree requirements

Students are encouraged to prepare for the assessment by refreshing the general knowledge gained from their undergraduate education before arriving at KAUST.

Students will be tested on the following subjects:

**1. Engineering Mathematics**

**2. Physics and Mechanics**

**3. Chemistry and Thermodynamics**

Each examination is 25 minutes long, consists of 12 multiple choice questions, and are taken one after the other in the week before the semester formally starts. All examinations are taken online using your KAUST Blackboard account.

In what follows, an outline of the material covered in each of these examinations is given in the document and below.

Engineering Mathematics

1. Concept of the limit and its properties. The calculation of limits. One- and two-sided limits.

Continuity. The Intermediate Value Theorem.

2. Definition of the derivative. Differentiation from first principles. Derivatives for standard

functions including the exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and hyperbolic functions.

Product, quotient, and chain rules. Higher-order derivatives. Derivatives of inverse

functions. Implicit and parametric differentiation. The Mean Value Theorem and Rolle’s

theorem. Differentiability.

3. Application of the derivative to finding the gradient of a tangent to a curve. Stationary

points. Maxima and minima problems. The differential and its application to errors. Rates of

change problems.

4. The primitive function and anti-differentiation. The indefinite integral. Techniques of

integration including substitution, parts, partial fractions, trigonometric substitutions, and t-

substitutions.

5. The definite integral and Riemann integration. Application of the integral to area and

volume. The first and second Fundamental Theorems of Calculus. Improper integrals.

6. Sequences and infinite series. The geometric and telescoping series. Alternating series.

Convergence and divergence of an infinite series. Test for convergence including the nth

term test, direct and limit comparison tests, the integral test, ratio and root tests, alternating

series test. Absolute and conditional convergence. The Alternating Series Estimation

Theorem.

7. Power series. Properties of power series. Radius of convergence. Taylor and Maclaurin

series. Application of power series. Taylor polynomials.

8. Complex numbers, Argand diagram, modulus-argument and polar forms, de Moivre’s

theorem, exponential form.

9. Vectors. Vector addition and multiplication by a scalar. Properties of vectors. Unit vectors

and direction angles. The scalar dot and vector cross products and their associated

properties. The scalar triple product. Vector identities. Application of vectors to three-

dimensional analytic geometry. Equations of lines and planes in space.

**Recommended Reading Material***1. Calculus, J. Stewart. Eight Edition (2015, Cengage Learning).**2. How to Integrate It: A Practical Guide to Finding Elementary Integrals, S. M. Stewart**(2018, Cambridge University Press).*

Physics and Mechanics

**Physics component**

1. Electric charge. Electric fields. Coulomb's law.

2. Gauss’ law and applications of this law.

3. Electric potential. Capacitance and dielectrics.

4. Current, resistance, and resistivity.

5. Direct current circuits. Voltmeters and ammeters (both ideal and real). RC circuits.

6. Magnetic fields. Gauss’ law for magnetism.

7. Magnetic forces. Sources of the magnetic field. The Biot-Savart law and Ampère’s

law.

8. Electromagnetic induction. Faraday’s law. Lenz’ law.

9. Displacement current. Maxwell’s equations.

**Mechanics component**

1. Statics of particles. Forces and moments (torques).

2. Equilibrium of rigid bodies. Centres of mass and centroids

3. Moments of inertia.

4. Stress and strain due to axial loading. Torsion

5. Pure bending. Beam analysis

6. Kinematics of particles (using energy and momentum methods). Newton’s second

law.

7. Planar kinematics of rigid bodies.

8. Planar kinetics of rigid bodies (using equations of motion and energy and momentum

methods).

**Recommended Reading Material***1. Sears and Zemanskys University Physics: With Modern Physics. Young, H. D., Freedman,**R. A., Ford, A. L., and Sears, F. W. (Addison-Wesley, 2021).**2. Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and Dynamics (Twelfth edition). Ferdinand P. Beer,**E. Russell Johnston, David F. Mazurek, Phillip J. Cornwall, and Brian P. Self (McGraw-Hill,**2019).*

Chemistry and Thermodynamics

**Chemistry component**

1. Matter and energy. What is chemistry? Atoms, molecules, and ions. Substances, ele-

ments, and mixtures. Changes and properties of matter. Periodic Table, Periodic Law.

Chemistry divisions. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

2. Scientific method: observation, law, hypothesis, experiment, data, results, and theory.

Accuracy and precision. Significant figures. Scientific notation. Basic experimental

quantities. Unit conversion. Basic statistics for data analysis.

3. Timeline of atomic theories and models. Elementary particles. Quantum numbers for

different orbitals. Electron configuration of atoms. Valence electrons and the octet rule.

4. Atomic/ionic radius. Electron affinity. Electronegativity. Ionization energy.

Polarizability. Isoelectronic configurations.

5. Lewis structures. Covalent, ionic, and metallic bonds.

6. Molecular geometry. The valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory.

7. Intermolecular interactions. Phase changes. Gaseous, liquid, and solid states.

**Thermodynamics component**

1. Fundamentals of thermodynamics.

2. Work and heat. The zeroth and first laws of thermodynamics.

3. Pure substances.

4. The second law of thermodynamics.

5. An ideal gas.

6. Carnot cycle.

7. Entropy.

**Recommended Reading Materia**l*1. Denniston, K. J.; Topping, J. J.; Dorr, D. R. Q.; Caret, R. L., General, Organic, and**Biochemistry, McGraw-Hill, 10th edition, 2020.**2. Smoot, R. C.; Smith, R. G.; Price, J., Chemistry: A Modern Course, Merrill Publishing**Company, 1990.**3. Chang, R.; Overby, J., Chemistry, McGraw-Hill, 13th edition, 2019.**4. Goldberg, D. E., Fundamentals of Chemistry, McGraw-Hill, 5th edition, 2007.**5. Gaffney, J.; Marley, N., General Chemistry for Engineers, Elsevier, 1st edition, 2018.**6. Çengel, Y. A.; Boles, M. A., Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach, McGraw-Hill, 5th**edition, 2006.*

Elective Courses
### Geophysics Track

#### Elective Courses (12 credits)

### Geology Track

#### Elective Courses (12 credits)

### Machine Learning in Geosciences Track

#### Elective Courses (12 credits)

Students must choose at least four courses from the following:

AMCS 312 | High Performance Computing | 3 |

AMCS 350 | Spectral Methods for Uncertainty Quantification | 3 |

CE 202 | Advanced Transport Phenomena | 3 |

CS 207 | Programming Methodology and Abstractions | 3 |

CS 229 | Machine Learning | 3 |

ErSE 201 | Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I | 3 |

ErSE 212 | Geophysical Geodesy and Geodynamics | 3 |

ErSE 214 | Seismic Exploration | 3 |

ErSE 217 | Structural Geology | 3 |

ErSE 218 | Geophysical Field Methods | 3 |

ErSE 221 | Magmatic Systems | 3 |

ErSE 222 | Machine Learning in Geoscience | 3 |

ErSE 260 | Seismic Imaging | 3 |

ErSE 294 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

ErSE 323 | Igneous Geochemistry | 3 |

ERSE 326 | Computational Geophysics | 3 |

ErSE 327 | Multiscale Modeling of Geological Reservoirs | 3 |

ErSE 328 | Advanced Seismic Inversion | 3 |

ErSE 331 | Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) in Earth Sciences | 3 |

ErSE 360 | Mathematical Methods for Seismic Imaging | 3 |

ErSE 394 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

ERPE 270/ME 214 | Experimental Methods in Research | 3 |

ERPE 310 | Sequence Stratigraphy | 3 |

ERPE 311 | Carbonate Diagenesis | 3 |

ERPE 315 | Energy Geoscience | 3 |

ME 305A | Computational Fluid Dynamics | 3 |

MSE 200 | Mathematics for Material Science and Engineering | 3 |

Students must choose at least four courses from the following:

ErSE 210 | Seismology | 3 |

ErSE 212 | Geophysical Geodesy and Geodynamics | 3 |

ErSE 214 | Seismic Exploration | 3 |

ErSE 218 | Geophysical Field Methods | 3 |

ErSE 219 | Field Geology | 3 |

ErSE 226 | Marine Geology – The Oceanic Crust | 3 |

ErSE 294 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

ErSE 323 | Igneous Geochemistry | 3 |

ErSE 331 | Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) in Earth Sciences | 3 |

ErSE 394 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

ERPE 200 | Energy and the Environment | 3 |

ERPE 220 | Sediments: Properties and Processes | 3 |

ERPE 230 | Rock Mechanics for Energy Geo-Engineering | 3 |

ERPE 270/ME 214 | Experimental Methods in Research | 3 |

ERPE 310 | Sequence Stratigraphy | 3 |

ERPE 311 | Carbonate Diagenesis | 3 |

ERPE 315 | Energy Geoscience | 3 |

MarS 326 | Coral Reef Ecology | 3 |

MarS 335 | Oceanography | 3 |

Students must choose at least four courses from the following:

ErSE 201 | Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I | 3 |

ErSE 210 | Seismology | 3 |

ErSE 211 | Global Geophysics | 3 |

ErSE 214 | Seismic Exploration | 3 |

ErSE 260 | Seismic Imaging | 3 |

ErSE 294 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

ErSE 301 | Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II | 3 |

ErSE 303 | Numerical Methods of Geophysics | 3 |

ErSE 305 | Multiphase Flows in Porous Media | 3 |

ErSE 328 | Advanced Seismic Inversion | 3 |

ErSE 331 | Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) in Earth Sciences | 3 |

ErSE 353 | Data Assimilation | 3 |

ErSE 360 | Mathematical Methods for Seismic Imaging | 3 |

ErSE 394 | Contemporary Topics in Earth Science | 3 |

AMCS 211 | Numerical Optimization | 3 |

AMCS 241/STAT 250 | Stochastic Processes | 3 |

AMCS 308 | Stochastic Numerics with Application in Simulation and Data Science | 3 |

AMCS 312 | High Performance Computing | 3 |

AMCS 350 | Spectral Methods for Uncertainty Quantification | 3 |

CS 201 | Introduction to Programming with Python | 3 |

CS 204 | Data Structures and Algorithms | 3 |

CS 207 | Programming Methodology and Abstractions | 3 |

CS 220 | Data Analytics | 3 |

CS 323 | Deep Learning for Visual Computing | 3 |

CS 331 | Stochastic Gradient Descent Methods | 3 |

CS 340 | Computational Methods in Data Mining | 3 |

CS 341 | Advanced Topics in Data Management | 3 |

ERPE 221 | Geoscience Fundamentals | 3 |

ME 200A | Incompressible Flows | 3 |

MSE 200 | Mathematics for Material Science and Engineering | 3 |

ErSE Core Courses
### Geophysical Fluids and Climate System Science Track

#### Core Courses (12 credits)

### Geophysics Track

#### Core Courses (12 credits)

### Geology Track

#### Core Courses (12 credits)

### Machine Learning in Geosciences Track

#### Core Courses (12 credits)

Students must choose at least four courses. At least two courses must be from the ErSE program and at least one course must be from the AMCS program.

ErSE 201 | Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I | 3 |

ErSE 211 | Global Geophysics | 3 |

ErSE 213 | Inverse Problems | 3 |

ErSE 253 | Data Analysis in Geosciences | 3 |

AMCS 206 | Applied Numerical Methods | 3 |

AMCS 231 | Applied Partial Differential Equations I | 3 |

AMCS 251 | Numerical Linear Algebra | 3 |

AMCS 252 | Numerical Analysis of Differential Equations | 3 |

Students must choose at least four courses. At least two courses must be from the ErSE program and at least one course must be from the AMCS program.

AMCS 206 | Applied Numerical Methods | 3 |

AMCS 231 | Applied Partial Differential Equations I | 3 |

AMCS 251 | Numerical Linear Algebra | 3 |

AMCS 252 | Numerical Analysis of Differential Equations | 3 |

ErSE 210 | Seismology | 3 |

ErSE 213 | Inverse Problems | 3 |

ErSE 253 | Data Analysis in Geosciences | 3 |

Students must choose at least four courses from the following:

ErSE 211 | Global Geophysics | 3 |

ErSE 217 | Structural Geology | 3 |

ErSE 221 | Magmatic Systems | 3 |

ErSE 223 | Geological Systems of Arabia | 3 |

ErSE 253 | Data Analysis in Geosciences | 3 |

ERPE 210 | Fundamentals of Carbonate Geology | 3 |

ERPE 211 | Data Integration for Geomodelling | 3 |

ERPE 221 | Geoscience Fundamentals | 3 |

Students must choose at least four courses from the following:

AMCS 251 | Numerical Linear Algebra | 3 |

CS 229 | Machine Learning | 3 |

ErSE 213 | Inverse Problems | 3 |

ErSE 222 | Machine Learning in Geoscience | 3 |

ErSE 253 | Data Analysis in Geosciences | 3 |

STAT 220 | Probability and Statistics | 3 |

ErSE master’s students must choose one of the available tracks. Students in the Geophysical Fluids and Climate System Science track study flow and transport processes both beneath and above the Earth’s surface, including ocean and atmospheric circulation, flows in subsurface porous media, transport of dust and anthropogenic pollutants in atmosphere and ocean, and their effect on climate. Students in the Geophysics track focus on seismology, geophysics, geodynamics and geomechanics. The Geology track focuses on (carbonate) sedimentology and stratigraphy, petrology/geochemistry and structural geology. The Machine Learning in Geosciences track equips graduate students with the fundamentals of machine learning (ML) methods and their applications to geoscience problems.

It is the responsibility of students to plan their graduate program in consultation with their academic advisor. Students are required to meet all deadlines. Students should be aware that most core courses are offered only once per year.

The Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree comprises thesis and non-thesis options. It is awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be achieved to graduate. Individual courses require a minimum of a B- for course credit. Students are expected to complete the M.Sc. degree in three semesters. Satisfactory participation in every KAUST summer session is mandatory

The non-thesis option is available in the ErSE Program.

01. M.Sc. Course Requirements

- Core Courses (12 credits)
- Elective Courses (12 credits)
- M.Sc. Thesis Research or Research/Capstone Experience (12 credits) designed to provide students with the research experience
- Graduate Seminar (ErSE 398, non-credit) – students must register for ErSE 398 and receive a Satisfactory grade for two Semesters of the program they attend. Students must attend a minimum of 8 Graduate Seminars to receive a Satisfactory (S) grade. The seminars can be chosen from any Graduate Seminar series offered by the PSE division.
- Successful completion of one Winter Enrichment Program (WEP)

Core and Elective Courses must be technical courses and cannot be substituted with Research, Internship, or Broadening Courses to fulfill degree requirements.

02. M.Sc. Non-Thesis

Students wishing to pursue the non-thesis option must complete a total of 12 capstone credits, with a minimum of 6 credits of the Master’s Directed Research (ErSE 299). Students must complete the remaining credits through one or a combination of the options listed below:

- Master’s Internship (ErSE 295): research-based summer internship; students are only allowed to take one internship. Summer internships are subject to approval by the student’s Academic Advisor and the Division.
- 200 or 300-level courses

Also, all students are required to register and receive a satisfactory grade for every semester of the Graduate Seminar (ErSE 398, non-credit) they attend and complete one Winter Enrichment Program (WEP).

03. M.Sc. Thesis Defense

Students wishing to pursue the thesis otion must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA. A minimum of 12 credits of Master's Thesis Research (ErSE 297) is required. Students are permitted to register for more than 12 credits of ErSE 297h with the permission of the academic advisor. The selected academic advisor must be a fulltime program-affiliated assistant, associate or full professor at KAUST. The faculty not affiliated with the ErSE Program can become project-affiliated for the only specific thesis project upon program-level approval. Project-affiliation approval must be completed prior to commencing research.

A written thesis and an
oral defense of the M.Sc. thesis are required. The students have to
submit a final copy of the thesis to the thesis committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense date.

04. M.Sc. Thesis Defense Committee

The thesis defense committee, which must be approved by the dean, consists of three KAUST faculty. If additional expertise is needed the committee could be extended, subject to dean’s approval. At least two committee members must be affiliated with the program. The chair may be any KAUST faculty familiar with the program rules. This membership can be summarized as:

Member | Role | Program Status |
---|---|---|

1 | Chair | Within or outside program |

2 | Faculty | Within program |

3 | Faculty | Within or outside program |

4 | Additional faculty or research scientist | Within or outside program |

Notes:

- Members 1, 2, and one of 3 or 4 are required
- Co-chairs may serve as member 2 or 3
- Adjunct professors and professors emeriti may retain their roles on current committees, but may not serve as chair on any new committees
- Professors of practice and research professors may serve as members 2 or 3 depending upon their affiliation with the student’s program, they may also serve as co-chairs
- Visiting professors may serve as member 3

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is designed to prepare students for research careers in academia and industry. The PhD degree is awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 72 credits. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 must be achieved to graduate. Individual courses require a minimum of a B- for course credit.

Duration of Study

Students are expected to complete the PhD program in 8 semesters and 4 summer sessions. The PhD program includes the following steps:

- Securing a Dissertation Advisor
- Successfully completing the program coursework
- Passing the Qualifying Exam
- Passing the Dissertation Proposal Defense to obtain PhD candidacy status
- Preparing, submitting, and Defending the Dissertation

Ph.D. Course Requirements
### Graduate Seminars (non-credit)

### Winter Enrichment Program (non-credit)

Students must complete the following requirements:

- 200- or 300-Level Courses* (12 credits)
- Graduate Seminar (non-credit)
- Winter Enrichment Program (WE 100) (non-credit)

The Academic Advisor may request the completion of additional courses. Courses taken while pursuing the KAUST MS degree cannot be counted towards the PhD course requirements. Courses must be technical courses and cannot be substituted with Research, Internship, or Broadening Courses to fulfill degree requirements.

**At least three courses that comprise at least two 300-level courses. At least two courses should be from the ErSE curriculum (including at least one 300-level course) for students coming with a master's from another university or a different KAUST program, and at least one 300-level course from ErSE curriculum for students with MS from KAUST-ErSE. *

Students must register for ErSE 398 and receive a Satisfactory grade for five Semesters of the program they attend. Students must attend a minimum of 8 Graduate Seminars to receive a Satisfactory (S) grade. The seminars can be chosen from any Graduate Seminar series offered by the PSE division.

All students must register for WE 100 and successfully complete one Winter Enrichment Program (WEP), usually taken in the first year of study. Students who completed WEP as part of their KAUST MS must take the program again.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
**UNDER MAINTENANCE**

Designation of Dissertation Advisor

*The selected a*cademic *advisor must be a full-*time program-affiliated *professor at KAUST. S*tudent*s* may also select an *a*cademic *a*dvisor from another program at KAUST. The *a*cademic *a*dvisor can only become project affiliated for the specific dissertation project with program level approval. Project affiliation approval must be completed prior to commencing research.

View a list of faculty and their affiliations here.

Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense

The dissertation proposal defense is the second part of the qualification milestones that must be completed within one year after passing the qualifying exam to become a Ph.D. candidate. Students have to submit to the Ph.D. dissertation proposal committee a written research proposal and pass an oral research proposal defense.

The Ph.D. dissertation proposal defense committee, which must be approved by the dean, consists of three members. If additional expertise is required the committee could be extended, subject to dean’s approval. The chair can be any KAUST faculty member familiar with the program rules. Two committee members must be KAUST faculty affiliated with the program and one must be a KAUST faculty outside the program.

Member | Role | Program Status |
---|---|---|

1 | Chair | Within or outside program |

2 | Faculty | Within or outside program |

3 | Faculty | Outside program |

Notes:

- Co-chairs may serve as members 2 or 3
- Adjunct professors and professors emeriti may retain their roles on current committees, but may not serve as chair on any new committees
- Professors of practice and research professors may serve as members 2 or 3 depending upon their affiliation with the student’s program, they may also serve as co-chairs
Once constituted, the composition of the proposal committee can only be changed with the approval of both the academic advisor and the dean.

This committee should also make itself available for subsequent periodic review meetings with students. The composition of the committee could change over time.

View a list of faculty and their affiliations here.

Dissertation Committee Formation

To graduate, Ph.D. candidates have to finalize the Ph.D. dissertation, form a Ph.D. dissertation defense committee, and successfully defend a Ph.D. dissertation.

The Ph.D. dissertation defense committee, which must be approved by the dean, consists of four mandatory members. If additional expertise is required the committee could be extended, subject to the dean’s approval. Three of the mandatory members must be KAUST faculty and one must be an external examiner who is external to KAUST. The chair can be any KAUST faculty familiar with the program rules. At least two committee members must be KAUST faculty affiliated with the program, and one must be a KAUST faculty outside the program. The external examiner must write a report on the dissertation and attend the dissertation defense either in person or remotely.

Member | Role | Program Status |
---|---|---|

1 | Chair | Within or outside program |

2 | Faculty | Within program |

3 | Faculty | Within or outside program |

4 | External Examiner | Outside KAUST |

Notes:

- The chair cannot be the academic advisor
- Co-chairs may serve as either members 2 or 3
- Adjunct professors and professors emeriti may retain their roles on current committees, but may not serve as chair on any new committees
- Professors of practice and research professors may serve as members 2 or 3 upon their affiliation with the student’s program, they may also serve as cochairs

Visiting professors may serve as member 2 or 3 depending upon their affiliation

The only requirement with commonality with the proposal committee is the academic advisor, although it is expected that other members will carry forward to this committee.

If students have a co-supervisor, this person can be considered one of the four mandatory members required, provided they come under the categories listed (i.e. meets the requirements of the position).

View a list of faculty and their affiliations here

https://www.kaust.edu.sa/en/study/faculty

Oral Defense and Result Submission

The Ph.D. requires the passing of the defense and acceptance of the dissertation. The final defense is a public presentation that consists of an oral defense followed by questions and may last a maximum of three hours.

Students must determine the defense date with agreement of all the members of the dissertation committee, meet deadlines for submitting graduation forms and inform the committee of their progress. It is the students’ responsibility to submit the required documents to the graduate program coordinator (GPC) at the beginning of the semester they intend to defend. The required documents include (i) the list of proposed committee members, including the external examiner (and a CV of the external examiner, (ii) a current CV of the student, (iii) a current transcript, (iv) a list of publications, and (v) a final draft of the Ph.D. dissertation.

Students must submit the written dissertation to the committee one month prior to the defense date in order to receive feedback.

There are four possible outcomes from the dissertation final defense:

- Pass
- Pass with conditions
- Retake
- Fail without retake
A pass is achieved when the committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote. In the instance of a pass with conditions, the entire committee must agree on the required conditions, and if they cannot, the dean decides. The deadline to meet conditions is three months after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to reduce it. If the conditions will take three months or more, or more than one member casts a negative vote, one retake of the defense is permitted. The deadline to complete the retake is as decided by the defense committee with a maximum of six months after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to change it. Students who fail without retake or who fail the retake will be dismissed from the University.

Evaluation of the Ph.D. dissertation defense is recorded by submitting the result of the Ph.D. dissertation defense examination form within three days after the defense to the Office of the Registrar.

Submission of Dissertation and final approval form
### Q&A

All graduation candidates will submit the **final thesis/dissertation **directly to the KAUST Repository .Formatting review will be done in the repository workflow. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Registrar HelpDesk registrarhelpdesk@kaust.edu.sa and your GPC. Please use the step-by-step user guide HERE.

Q: How do I know if I am ready to archive?

A: You will have the final PDF file of your thesis complete (along with all supplementary files)

Q: How do I get my advisor’s final approval for archiving?

A: After you send the Turnitin report to your advisor, you can initiate their final approval for you to archive HERE.

Q: What’s the first thing I do to start the archiving process?

A: go to the KAUST Repository and “submit an item”: https://repository.kaust.edu.sa/

Q: Do I have to have an ORCID before archiving?

A: Yes, you do. http://orcid.kaust.edu.sa

Q: I want to hold making my thesis public for up to a year (embargo). How do I do this?

A: This is part of the repository submission process (see user guide for screenshots).

What should I know about Graduate Seminar (X 398) as a Ph.D. student?

X = {Chem, CE, AP, MSE, ErSE, ERPE, ME}

Students must register for X 398 and receive a Satisfactory grade for **five semesters** of the program they attend; students must attend a
minimum of 8 Graduate Seminars to receive a Satisfactory (S) grade. The
seminars can be chosen from any Graduate Seminar series offered by the
PSE division

**Third year** Ph.D. students will be asked to present (~20 min) their research as a necessary preparation for the Dissertation Proposal Defense, no publications are required to be eligible to present.

What should I know about Graduate Seminar (X 398) as a M.Sc. student?

X = {Chem, CE, AP, MSE, ErSE, ERPE, ME}

Students must register for X 398 and receive a Satisfactory grade for
** two semesters **of the program they attend; students must attend a
minimum of 8 Graduate Seminars to receive a Satisfactory (S) grade. The
seminars can be chosen from any Graduate Seminar series offered by the
PSE division

How can I know the type of program affiliation for a faculty?

Step 1. View a list of Faculty members and their affiliations here.

Step 2. Open the profile of selected Faculty.

Step 3. Check the "Affiliations" section:

On the top you will see primary affiliation, the following affiliations are secondary.

How can I audit a course?

A step-by-step guide is available in this User Guide for Registration.

Please be reminded of the following points about formally auditing courses:

- Audit courses will be reflected on your transcript.
- Credits earned will be listed as 0 (zero).
- You will receive a Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) grade for audit courses, based on the grading criteria set for individual courses.
- Given that audit courses are not credit-bearing, they will not directly count towards your degree requirements, nor impact your Cumulative Grade Point Average.
- Course registration rules remain the same for audit courses. Students are responsible for ensuring their registration is accurate for each semester/session of registration.
- As with regular courses, class participation will be required as they are with your regular credit-bearing courses.
- Similar to regular courses, prerequisites for audit courses will have to be met in advance of registration.
- Audit courses may be a prerequisite for a credit-bearing course only if an S (satisfactory grade) is achieved.
- Audit courses must be approved by your Academic Advisor before registration.
- The add/drop deadline remains the same for audit courses, including changing the course's status to or from audit.

If you would like to audit courses *unofficially* and *not* have audit courses listed on your transcript, then please email the course instructor directly to obtain his/her approval, copying blackboard@kaust.edu.sa, so you can gain access to course material, once approved. Please *do not*
register to unofficially audit courses via the course registration
page. Any registration for audit courses via the registration page will
be treated as an official audit.

If you have questions about auditing courses, please speak with your Academic Advisor and/or GPSA.

Should you face any difficulties registering for formal audit courses, please email registrarhelpdesk@kaust.edu.sa.

What is the deadline to defend my M.Sc. Thesis?

The
deadline to defend the Thesis is no later than **two (2) weeks**
before the last day of a semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer).

Is there minimum number of credits I have to receive for Doctoral Dissertation Research (X 397) to complete the Ph.D. degree?

X = {Chem, CE, AP, MSE, ErSE, ERPE, ME}

There is no fixed minimum value of credits for X 397.

How my stipend will change along the pursuing degree?

1. Masters only students will receive stipends as per the offer of admission for the tenure of their program.

2. Students admitted to the M.Sc./Ph.D. program will receive a master’s stipend at the onset of their program. At the recommendation of the program, once students complete 36 credits of the program requirements, they will receive a stipend increase. The second stipend increase will be applied after total 66 credits are completed. The stipend will additionally rise with successful passing Dissertation Proposal.

3. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program will receive stipends as per the offer of admission. Upon completion of 30 credits, students will receive a stipend increase. The stipend will additionally rise with successful passing Dissertation Proposal.

Can I register for courses before arriving to KAUST?

Yes, you can. However, make sure to meet the requirements of course in terms of attendance, homework, etc.

What are the exact values to get Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) grades?

KAUST does not have a mandatory grading rubric. The determination of a Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) grade is at the discretion of the instructor.

Who can be eligible for External Committee Member?

1. Be affiliated with another university/institute than KAUST.

2. If a professor is retired, he/she should have Emeritus title.

3. If a professor moved to other university/institute during the procedure, he/she should have Adjunct title.

4. KAUST visiting professor can't be External Committee Member.

What is the length of my vacation?

Graduate students may take vacation days during each academic year, defined by the published Academic Calendar. Unused vacation days do not carry over to the following year. All M.Sc. with Thesis and Ph.D. students must discuss their vacation plans with their Academic Advisors at least four (4) weeks prior to the proposed vacation.

• **M.Sc. Degree, Non-Thesis**: M.Sc. graduate students (Non-Thesis) are entitled to an annual vacation that is defined as the official University holidays and intersession days.

• **M.Sc. Degree with Thesis**: Upon transitioning into the M.Sc. with Thesis program, students are entitled to two weeks’ vacation (inclusive of any Eid holidays) for the duration of the degree program. Students receive Saudi National Day, Founding Day, and any other national holidays in addition.

• **Ph.D. Degree**: Ph.D. students are entitled to annual vacation, limited to three (3) weeks. In addition, they receive Eid holidays and any other national holidays.

M.Sc. with Thesis and Ph.D. students, with authorization from the student’s Academic Advisor, can work through the Eid periods taking the corresponding number of days at a later/prior time during the same year.

Extra vacation time requires approval by the Division and the Dean of Graduate Affairs.

For the reference, see Graduate Student handbook.

What is maximum length of Ph.D. program?

4 years is maximum period to get Ph.D. degree.