Physical Science and Engineering Division main banner kaust

Welcome to the Physical Science and Engineering Division of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


The mission of the Physical Science and Engineering Division is to advance science and technology through education, interdisciplinary research, and innovation. Our goal is to contribute to the preservation of the planet and accelerate the impact on the Saudi economy.


Our educational programs and research initiatives are aligned with Saudi national RDI priorities and Vision 2030. We aim to provide the Kingdom with the next generations of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs capable of understanding and devising innovative solutions to global challenges. These challenges are encapsulated in the four RDI Pillars: Sustainable Environment & Essential Needs, Health and Wellness, Energy and Industrial Leadership, and Economies of the Future.


PSE research areas contributing to the Kingdom RDI Pillars and Vision 2030


PSE Research Aligning with Vision 20230's RDI pillars


Within this strategic framework, PSE fundamental and applied research addresses environmental protection, climate change, energy, and smart cities. We strive to achieve this by developing green fuels and renewable energies, creating novel materials and health applications, and providing solutions for better utilization and protection of our natural resources.


Chak Chan
Dean, Physical Science and Engineering Division

Dancing droplets’ new spin on water harvesting

06 March, 2024

Complex patterns of motion emerge when water drops condense on an oiled surface.


A more efficient way to capture fresh water from the air could be inspired by a phenomenon of motion first glimpsed in bowls of breakfast cereal.

KAUST researchers have observed that, when water droplets condense from the air onto a cold surface coated with oil, the droplets commence a complex dance. This motion — akin to a process known as the Cheerios effect whereby the floating cereal tends to cluster due to surface tension — could help to speed up the harvesting of water from the atmosphere in arid regions such as Saudi Arabia.

“We are interested in designing surfaces that can promote condensation of water, which has important heat-transfer and water-harvesting applications,” says Marcus Lin, a research fellow in the lab of Dan Daniel, who led the research. On a typical solid surface, condensed droplets stick to the surface with minimal motion. “Think of water condensing on a cold soda can,” says Lin. “The droplets only move once they grow big enough for gravity to pull them down.”

Daniel, Lin and their collaborators had the idea that adding a thin film of oil would lubricate the surface, resulting in highly mobile droplets that would free up space for further droplet condensation, boosting condensation rates. The idea worked — but the complex ways in which the droplets moved was a complete surprise, Daniel says.


Read more at KAUST Discovery.

Upcoming Events

PSE Saudi Summer Research Program 2024


Date: June 2 - August 8, 2024


The PSE Saudi Summer Research Program (SSRP) is a 10-week research program designed to introduce in-Kingdom university students to topics of research in the Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE).  Throughout the Program, participating students work on an individual research project while also being introduced to other research areas in the Division and the University at large.


Why Join SSRP?

  • Experience graduate-level research in an international world-renowned university
  • Gain first-hand experience working in a university research group with prestigious and highly cited international faculty
  • Ability to develop yourself intellectually
  • Build your confidence and raise your career aspirations
  • Experience a taste of university life at KAUST!
  • Gain access to the unique research facilities available at KAUST.



Eligibility Criteria

  • Saudi citizenship 
  • Junior or Senior year at university, or a current master's student
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.60/4.00 (4.60/5.00) and above in a related discipline
  • English language working proficiency

Application Requirements

  • Saudi citizenship 
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.60/4.00 (4.60/5.00) and above in a related discipline
  • Current transcripts
  • Junior or Senior year at university, or a current master's student
  • An up-to-date resume/C.V. outlining your experience and interests
  • A copy of your Saudi National I.D. or Passport
  • 500-word statement of purpose on why you are interested to join the SSRP
  • Successfully pass all interviews with KAUST administration

The application process is QUICK and EASY.  To complete the application, please click here.

Application Deadline: Sunday, April 7, 2024



For further information, please contact us through email at:

PSE Post-graduate Programs

Welcome to the PSE post-graduate studies area!

At PSE, students embark on a journey of discovery as they pursue careers in science, industry, and academia. Surrounded by cutting-edge facilities and supported by our international team of faculty and staff, KAUST is today's best destination for students to explore the leading edge of science and earn a post-graduate diploma recognized worldwide.

Our division currently offers seven programs at the post-graduate level, including both Master's and Ph.D. options. Under expert advisors' guidance, students can design personalized course paths and research projects tailored to their career goals. Each program combines lectures, seminars, and laboratory classes, empowering students to transform their ideas into research projects independently.

Beyond academic pursuits, PSE students at KAUST enjoy a LEED-certified campus situated on the shores of the Red Sea, enveloped in pristine surroundings. The campus hosts a rich program of scientific and business events organized by KAUST and its top-tier industrial partners like ARAMCO, Sabic, Dow, Boeing, Bruker, Hewlett Packard, and more. This lively atmosphere provides students with ample networking avenues and the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, while maintaining a well-balanced personal life. 

KAUST is an exceptional place to study, work and thrive.

If you aspire to a career in science and technology, our programs provide an excellent starting point. Both Master's and Ph.D. programs are fully funded by the university, covering tuition fees and providing a monthly stipend for  the duration of the degree. Please explore the links below to learn more about our programs and begin your journey toward a fulfilling career in your chosen field of expertise.