​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​MATERIAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PROGRAM ACADEMICS

The Material Science and Engineering Program is designed to equip students with fundamental and applied knowledge of materials. Its goal is to prepare them to tackle grand challenges in sustainability and alternative energy, nanotechnology and nanoelectronics, biomaterials, materials characterization, and low-power computing.​​​​

SUMMARY OF M.S. AND PH.D. REQUIREMENTS:​​

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View Program Guide OnlineSee MoreCourse List & Syllabi 2017See More

​​M.S. degree requirements:

Master's Assessment Test

  • ​Students are admitted to KAUST from a wide variety of programs and backgrounds. To facilitate the design of an appropriate study plan for each individual student, all incoming students without M.S. degree will be required to take an assessment during orientation week.  

    The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether students have mastered the prerequisites for undertaking graduate-level courses taught in the program. 

    The 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. 

    MSE will test the students in variety of subjects related to their field of study. Students are encouraged to prepare for the assessment by refreshing the general knowledge gained from their undergraduate education before arriving at KAUST in the following subjects:

    Basic Principles of General Chemistry
    Basic Principles of Physics
    Engineering Mathematics
    Linear Algebra
    Ordinary Differential Equations

    1. Basic Principles of General Chemistry 

    List of Topics: 

    • Principles of atomic structure 
    • Molecular orbitals
    • Polarity
    • Formal charges
    • Acid and bases
    • Stoichiometry

    Recommended References:

    Principles of General Chemistry by M. S. Silberb

    Basic Principles of General Chemistry: Sample Question

    ​2. Basic Principles of Physics

    List of Topics: 

    • Newtonian Physics
    • Magnetism and Magnetic Induction
    • Electrodynamics
    • Optics
    • Quantum Physics
    • Thermodynamics 
    • Molecular Gas Theory
    • Oscillations and Waves 
    • Photoelectric Effect

    Recommended References:

    Online reference book http://www.lightandmatter.com/lm/
    Any undergraduate level basic Physics textbook

    Basic Principles of Physics: Sample Questions

    3. Engineering Mathematics 

    List of Topics:

    • Limits
    • Derivatives
    • Anti-derivatives and definite integrals.
    • The classes of functions used to develop these concepts are: polynomial, rational, trigonometric exponential and logarithmic.
    • Integration (by parts, substitutions, partial fractions, approximation of integrals and improper integrals)
    • Infinite sequences and series
    • Convergence tests
    • Power series
    • Taylor polynomials and series
    • Taylor's Remainder Theorem

    Recommended References:

    http://www.math.odu.edu/~jhh/Volume-1.PDF

    Engineering Mathematics: Sample Questions

    4. Linear Algebra

    List of Topics:

    • Vector spaces and linear mappings between such spaces 
    • Introduction to vector spaces 
    • Basis and dimension 
    • Rank of a matrix
    • Determinants
    • Inverse of a matrix 
    • Eigenvalues and diagonalization
    • Similarity
    • Positive definite matrices
    • Orthogonal and unitary matrices and transformations 
    • Orthogonal projections
    • Gram-Schmidt procedure 
    • Solving systems of linear equations
    • Cramer's rule
    • Linear transformations
    • Isomorphism
    • Parallelepipeds

    Recommended References:

    Linear Algebra and Its Applications, David C. Lay, Addison-Wesley/Pearson, ISBN: 978-0321385178

    Linear Algebra: Concepts and Methods, Martin Anthony & Michele Harvey, Cambridge University Press, ISBN:978-0-521-27948-2

    Linear Algebra: Sample Questions

    5. Ordinary Differential Equations 

    List of Topics:

    • Solving simple ordinary differential equations
    • Classification by order
    • Linearity and homogeneity
    • Autonomous differential equations
    • Asymptotic behavior
    • Equilibrium points and stability
    • Solutions by numerical schemes
    • Euler's method

    Recommended References:

    An Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations, J. Robinson, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978-0521533911

    Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems, J. Polking, A. Boggess, D. Arnold, Pearson, ISBN: 978-0131862364

    Ordinary Differential Equations, M. Tenenbaum, H. Pollard, Dover Publications, ISBN:  978-0486649405

    Differential Equations, J. Robinson, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978-0521533911

    Ordinary Differential Equations: Sample Questions

Master's Non-Thesis

  • ​Students wishing to pursue the Non-Thesis options must complete a minimum of 6 credits of directed research (MSE 299). ​

    Summer internship credits may be used to fulfil the research requirements provided that the summer internship is research-based. 

    Summer internships are subject to approval by the student's academic advisor.​

Master's with thesis

  • Students wishing to pursue the thesis option must complete a minimum of 12 credits of Thesis research (MSE 297). Students are permitted to register for more than 12 credits of M.S. thesis research as necessary and with the permission of the thesis advisor. 

    ​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:

    1. Log into Blackboard.
    2. Click on the course titled ("Year"_"Semester"_THES) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.
    3. Click on View/Complete under Originality-Check.
    4. Fill in your information and Upload your Thesis document.
    5. Click on Go to Assignment Inbox.
    6. Click on the similarity percentage next to your Thesis Title.

    To run the report at a later time:

    1. Log into Blackboard.
    2. Click on the course titled ("Year"_"Semester"_THES) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.
    3. Click on Course Tools.
    4. 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.

    MemberRole Program Status
    1Committee Chairperson (M.S. Thesis Advisor)Within Program or Affiliated
    2KAUST Faculty MemberWithin Program
    3Faculty or Approved Research ScientistOutside Program
    4Additional Faculty (Optional)Inside or outside KAUST

     

    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.

    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.
    • Submit the Copyright form available on KAUST Library website to GPC.

    The GPC will check for format errors and plagiarism

    1. 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.
    2. The GPC will inform the student of any format corrections required in accordance with KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.
    3. 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.
    4. The library will send the tracking number of the Thesis document to GPC.
    5. GPC will add the tracking number to the M.S. Thesis Final Approval form.
    6. 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.
    7. The registrar office will start the graduation and exit processes at this stage.​

Program Courses and Descriptions

  • MSE 100 - Basic Principles of Physics (3-0-0)
    This course is a review of physics content normally taught at the senior undergraduate level.  The course will cover electric field and potential, DC and AC current circuits, magnetism, magnetic induction, electromagnetic waves, and optical phenomena (transmission, reflection, diffraction, interference, etc). Further topics will include Blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, atomic line spectra, Bohr hydrogen atom, de Broglie waves, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, free particle, particle in a box, particle on a ring, simple harmonic oscillation, quantum numbers, and angular momentum. Finally, an overview of the first, second, and third laws of Thermodynamics along with heat capacity, enthalpy, thermal conduction is presented.

    MSE 200 - Advanced Engineering Mathematics (3-0-3)
    This course presents basic mathematical methods for engineers including: differentiation and integration, Taylor's expansion, linear systems resolution and matrix formalism, partial differential equations, Laplace, Fourier and Legendre transforms, statistics and probability.

    MSE 201 - Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering (3-0-3)
    This course is intended for students who do not have a materials science and engineering background. The course will cover four major topics including: fundamental concepts, microstructure development and phase equilibria, material properties and fabrication methods and applications. The course will cover atomic structure, atomic bonding, crystal structures, defects, and diffusion in materials.  It also will cover phase transformations and phase equilibria and how they impact microstructure development. The electrical, magnetic, optical, thermal, and mechanical properties of materials will also be reviewed. The course will also highlight modern fabrication technologies and applications of metals, ceramics, semiconductors, and polymers. 

    MSE 295 - Internship (6 credits)
    Master's-level summer internship.

    MSE 297 - Thesis Research (variable credit)
    Master's-level thesis research.

    MSE 299 - Directed Research (variable credit)
    Master's-level supervised research.

    MSE 301 - Crystallography and Diffraction (3-0-3)
    The objective of this course is to present the basic concepts needed to understand the crystal structure of materials.  Fundamental concepts including lattices, symmetries, point groups, and space groups will be discussed and the relationship between crystal symmetries and physical properties will be addressed. The theory of X-ray diffraction by crystalline matter along with the experimental x-ray methods used to determine the crystal structure of materials will be covered. Application of X-ray diffraction to proteins, electron diffraction and neutron diffraction will be briefly discussed.

    MSE 302 - Electronic Properties of Materials (3-0-3)  
    This course offers an overview of the electronic, optical, magnetic and thermal properties of materials, not limited to solid state. It covers the fundamental concepts of band structure and bonding of materials, electrical and thermal conduction in metals, semiconductors and dielectric. The interaction between light and matter will be addressed and important concepts such as excitons will be introduced. Finally magnetism will be introduced.

    MSE303 - Statistical Thermodynamics & Equilibrium Processes (3-0-3)
    Prerequisite: Advanced Engineering Mathematics MSE 200 (Students might attend this course as co-requisite).

    The course offers a modern fundamental understanding to the main concepts and practical applications of thermo-dynamics in materials science.  The following major topics are discussed within the frame of this course: review of basic laws of classical thermodynamics, an introduction to phase equilibria including the theory of solutions, chemical reaction and surface and interfacial phenomena. Additionally, an introduction to statistical thermodynamics of gases and condensed matter is provided.

    MSE 304 - Applied Quantum Mechanics (3-0-3)
    Prerequisite: Advanced Engineering Mathematics MSE200. 

    Introduction to non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Summary of classical mechanics and electrodynamics. Postulates of quantum mechanics, wave functions, and operator formalism. Stationary state problems, including quantum wells. Harmonic oscillator. Angular momentum and spin. Atoms, molecules, and band theory of solids. Time evolution, Approximation methods for time-independent as well as time-dependent interactions, including electromagnetism. Scattering theory. Modern applications.

    MSE 305 - Kinetics and Phase Transformations (3-0-3)
    Prerequisite: MSE 303.

    The course offers a modern and fundamental understanding to the main concepts and practical applications of Kinetics and Phase Transformations in materials science.  The following major topics are discussed within the frame of this course: kinetics of homogenous chemical reactions, thermodynamics of irreversible processes including an introduction to the Onsager postulates, mathematical description of Diffusion in Materials (Fick's Laws and an atomistic description via random-walk process). Basic concepts of phase transformation theories, including homogeneous and   heterogeneous nucleation and growth, spinodal decomposition and Landau theory of phase transformation.

    MSE 306 - Electrochemistry and Corrosion (3-0-3)
    This course offers, in a first part, an overview of the fundamentals of electrochemistry including thermo-dynamics, nonequilibrium systems and Electrode/Electrolyte interfaces followed by an Introduction to modern applications of electrochemistry such as synthesis of nanoparticles, nanowires and thin films; as well as electrochemical means of energy conversion and storage. The second part deals with Corrosion phenomena: types of corrosion cells and damages, thermodynamics and kinetics, uniform corrosion, passivity, localized corrosion, atmospheric and high temperature corrosion, environmentally induced cracking. Prevention of corrosion using electrochemical and surface engineering means. Corrosion mechanisms and protection of materials of practical interest.

    MSE 307 - Materials Characterization (3-0-3)
    This course will introduce the basic principles of materials characterization and the common characterization techniques available at KAUST.  It will cover the following topics: Diffraction methods: basic principles, interaction of radiation and particle beams with matter, XRD, scattering techniques; Spectroscopic methods; Imaging: optical including confocal microscopy, scanning, transmission electron, scanning tunneling and field ion microscopy; Microanalysis and Tomography: energy dispersive, wavelength dispersive, Auger Processes, Electron, Ion and Atom Probe Tomography, SIMS, photoelectron spectroscopy; thermal analysis: DTA, DSC.   Lab visits and demonstrations will be scheduled to the class to discuss some case studies.

    MSE 308 - Biomaterials (3-0-3)
    This course offers a basic understanding of the concepts underlying the design and selection of materials for use in biological applications.  It focuses on both hard and soft tissue materials. The class addresses modern topics including biosensors, surface and interface functionalization. Further topics include: A brief introduction to relevant tissue types: anatomy, biochemistry and physiology; concepts of biocompatibility, host response, material degradation, testing and selection criteria; an overview of current research on biomechanics and its relevance to prosthesis design and tissue engineering; basic concepts of drug delivery and molecular biomechanics.

    MSE 309 - Materials Modeling (3-0-3)
    Introduction to the theory and application of materials modeling techniques. Advantages of modeling to the engineer. Principles and methods of programming. Data requirements and structuring. Comparison of analytical and numerical methods. Introduction to basic numerical algorithms. Modeling approaches for different length scales from atomistic to continuum.

    MSE 310 - Materials for Energy (3-0-3)
    This course emphasizes materials engineering aspects and the role they play in important energy related technologies such as energy harvesting approaches, super capacitors and energy storage media, batteries, fuel cells, bio-energy, nuclear energy, solar and wind based power generation, thermoelectricity, and Hydrogen generation.

    MSE 311 - Soft Materials (3-0-3)
    This course covers chemical and physical aspects of soft materials such as gels, polymers, lipids, surfactants and colloids; physical chemistry of soft materials; phase transformations and self-assembly; the role of intermolecular and surface forces in determining morphology and hierarchy. Membranes, catalysis, drug delivery, flexible and stretchable materials and devices.

    MSE  312 - Engineering Alloys (3-0-3)
    This course offers a basic understanding of materials requirements of alloys for various applications. Topics covered include: the trade-off between properties (e.g., strength and toughness) and micro-structure; the impact of alloy composition on the micro-structure; property differences and design philosophy in steels, nickel-, titanium- and aluminum- based alloys, focusing on construction, aerospace and automotive applications; alloy evolution and production routes.

    MSE 313 - Functional Ceramics (3-0-3)
    Fundamental concepts relevant to functional ceramics will be reviewed, including defect chemistry and reactions, Brouwer diagrams, Ellingham diagrams, Heckman diagrams, ionic and electronic transport, and tensor notation. The physics, materials, and applications for the following classes of functional ceramics will be covered: linear dielectrics, ferroelectrics and multiferroics, piezoelectrics, pyroelectrics, electrooptics, thermoelectrics, and semiconducting oxides. Selected technological applications will be reviewed including varistors, sensors, MEMs, capacitors, memories, transistors, night vision systems, positive temperature coefficient resistors, and electro-optic devices.

    MSE 314 - Ab-Initio Computational Methods (3-0-3)
    Prerequisite: Applied Quantum Mechanics (MSE 304). 

    Band structure approaches for crystalline solids. Fundamentals and advanced applications of density functional theory. Introduction into classical and quantum molecular dynamics. Application and use of commercial and freeware computer packages.

    MSE 315 - Thin Film Science & Engineering (3-0-3)
    Thin films and coatings are the material building blocks of many modern and pervasive technologies ranging from electronics to optics and photovoltaics, and from anticounterfeiting to glazings and hard coatings. The fundamentals and atomistics of thin film growth are discussed in detail. Deposition techniques for thin films and coatings are presented, including physical and chemical vapor depositions, molecular beam epitaxy, atomic layer deposition, and low-pressure plasma processes. Organic thin film deposition. Solution-processing and printing of inorganic, and hybrid organic-inorganic thin films. Artificially structured and chemically modulated layered and nanocomposite materials. Ex situ/in situ characterization of thin films and coatings.

    MSE 316 - Magnetic Materials (3-0-3)
    This course introduces fundamental concepts in modern magnetic materials together with the electronic properties of magnetic hybrid structures. (i) Diamagnetism, paramagnetism, ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism will be introduced and the microscopic origin of magnetism will be addressed (metals, semiconductors, oxides, insulators, etc.). (ii) Experimental techniques to investigate magnetism and magnetic behavior will be mentioned (X-ray dichroism, Magneto-Optical Kerr effect, etc...). (iii) Advanced applications of modern magnetic materials will be presented and the electronic properties as well as magnetization dynamics of magnetic hybrid structures will be covered.

    MSE 317 - Mechanical Behavior of Composite Materials (3-0-3)
    (Same as ME 343) Response of composite materials (fiber and particulate reinforced materials) to static, cyclic, creep and thermomechanical loading. Manufacturing process-induced variability and residual stresses. Fatigue behavior, fracture mechanics and damage development.  Role of the reinforcement-matrix interface in mechanical behavior. Environmental effects. Dimensional stability and thermal fatigue. Application to polymer, metal, ceramic and carbon matrix composites. 

    MSE 318 -Nanomaterials (3-0-3) 
    This course describes the most recent advances in the synthesis, fabrication and characterization of nanomaterials.  Topics to be covered: Zero-dimensional nanomaterials, including  nanoparticles, quantum dots and nanocrystals; one dimensional materials including nanowires and nanotubes; two-dimensional materials: including self-assembled monolayers, patterned surfaces and quantum well; three-dimensional nanomaterials: including nanoporosity, nanocomposites, block copolymers, and supra-crystals.   Emphasis on the fundamental surface and size-related physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials; and their applications in biosensing, nanomedicine, catalysis, photonics, and nanoelectronics.

    MSE 319 - Polymeric Materials (3-0-3)
    This course describes polymerization processes; polymer solutions (Flory-Huggins model and application to polymer blends); polymer chain conformations; calculation of end-to-end distribution function W(r) for short range interacting chains; rotational isomeric state scheme and temperature dependence; chain with long range interactions (excluded volume effect); radius of gyration; the crystalline and amorphous states of polymers; the glass transition (configurational entropy model); mechanical, electrical and optical properties and characterization of polymers.

    MSE 320 - Solar Cell Materials and Devices (3-0-3)
    This course will provide the students with an up-to-date basic knowledge of the physical and chemical principles of materials used in solar cells of various kinds including but not limited to technologies such as: 1) silicon-based solar cells, 2) CIGS, CIS and other inorganic thin film solar cells, 3) multijunction solar cells, 4) nanoparticles and quantum dots solar cells, 5) organic and hybrid solar cells and 6) thermal and concentrator solar power generation.

    MSE 321 - Optical Properties of Materials (3-0-3)
    Prerequisite: basic knowledge of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and solid state physics.
    Introduction to optical coefficients and optical materials, classical propagation of light, Interband absorption processes and photodetectors, excitons,  light emission including photoluminescence and electroluminescence,  quantum confined structures,  free electrons and plasmons, optical properties of  molecules and polymers,  color centers, phonons, polaritons, polarons and inelastic light scattering, introduction to nonlinear optical properties of materials including second and third order nonlinearities.

    MSE 322 - Semiconductor Materials (3-0-3)
    The course covers the physico-chemical and electronic properties of advanced semiconductor materials other than Si and GaAs.  The materials that will be covered include elemental semiconductors such as Ge and carbon (in the form of carbon nanotubes and graphene), compound semiconductors such as III-V and II-VI compounds, and wide-band gap semiconductors such as carbides and nitrides.  Special classes of semiconductors such as oxides, chalcogenides, and polymeric semiconductors will be included.  In each material category, the material processing and fabrication of select devices will be discussed including 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional devices.  Measurement protocols for the devices will be presented.

    MSE 323 - Surface Chemistry (3-0-3)
    (Same as CBE 313) Surface tension and surface free energy (theory and measurement methods); Surface films on liquid substrates (surface potential, monomolecular films, Langmuir-Blodgett layers); Electrical aspects of surface chemistry (electrical double layer, zeta potential, DLVO theory); Solid-liquid interface, stability of dispersions, stabilization of suspensions, steric stabilization of colloids; Contact angle (theory and measurement methods); Emulsions, foams and aerosols; Wetting of surfaces by liquids, Lotus effect; Flotation, aggregation and flocculation; Detergency, surfactants, self-assembly, micelles and vesicles; Friction, lubrication and adhesion; Adsorption (Langmuir, BET); Characterization of colloidal particles; Applications of colloid and surface science in petroleum recovery, coating and painting, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry; Methods of surface characterization (AFM, STM, SIMS, XPS, LEED, GISAXS)

    MSE 392 - Advanced Topics in Materials Science I (variable credit)
    Lecture-based class.

    MSE 393 - Advanced Topics in Materials Science II (variable credit)
    Lecture-based class.

    MSE 394 - Advanced Topics in Materials Science III (variable credit)
    Lecture-based class.

    MSE 395 - Ph.D. Internship (6 credits)
    Doctoral-level summer internship.

    MSE 397 - Dissertation Research (variable credit)
    Doctoral-level dissertation research.

    MSE 398 - Graduate Seminar (non-credit)
    Seminar sessions focusing on special topics in the field.

    MSE 399 - Directed Research (variable credit)
    Doctoral-level supervised research.​

P​H.D. DEGREE REQUIREMENTS:

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is designed to prepare students for research careers in academia and industry. 
It is offered exclusively as a full-time program.

There is a minimum residency requirement at KAUST of 3.5 years for students entering with a B.S. degree and 2.5 years for students entering with an M.S. degree. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be achieved on all Doctoral coursework. Individual courses require a minimum of a B- to earn course credit.

​Students pursuing Ph.D. degree are required to complete the following degree requirements to earn the degree: ​

​PHD DEGREE TIMELINE:


 


Designation of Dissertation Advisor

  • ​The selected Dissertation Advisor must be a full time program-affiliated assistant, associate or full professor at KAUST. To view the list of MSE faculty members and faculty members affiliated with MSE click here and scroll down the page to faculty members.​​

    The student may also select an advisor from another program at KAUST. This advisor can only become project-affiliated for the specific dissertation project with program level approval. Project affiliation approval must be completed prior to commencing research.

    To select a non-affiliated faculty members for a project base affiliation the following documents must be submitted to the program's GPC for the program approval:

    • Change of Advisor 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. ​

Ph.D. Course Requirements

  • ​The required coursework varies for students entering the Ph.D. degree with a B.S. degree or a relevant M.S. degree. Students holding a B.S. degree must complete all program core/mandatory courses and elective courses outlined in the M.S. degree section and are also required to complete the Ph.D. courses below. Students entering with a B.S. degree may also qualify to earn the M.S. degree by satisfying the M.S. degree requirements; however, it is the student's responsibility to declare their intentions to graduate with an M.S. 

    Students entering the Ph.D. degree with a relevant M.S. degree must complete the requirements below, though additional courses may be required by the Dissertation Advisor. 

    Ph.D. Courses

    • Four 300-level MSE courses 
    • Graduate Seminar (MSE 398) (non-credit): MSE students are required to register and receive a Satisfactory grades by attending at least 80% of the seminars for four (4) semesters of the program's Graduate Semi nar.    

    Winter Enrichment Program: Students are required to satisfactorily complete at least one full Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) as part of the degree requirements. Students who completed WEP requirements while earning the M.S. degree are not required to enroll in a full WEP for a second time in the Ph.D. degree. 

    Students entering the program with an M.S. degree from KAUST may transfer unused coursework toward the Ph.D. program requirements subject to program level approval. Students transferring from another university's Ph.D. program may receive some dissertation research and coursework credits on a case-by-case basis for related work performed at the original institution upon approval by the Dean.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

  • ​The purpose of the Subject-based Qualifying Exam is to test the student's knowledge of the subject matter within the field of study. All students entering the Ph.D. program with a B.S. degree must take this examination within two years of their admission. Students admitted to the program with an M.S. degree must take this exam within one year. 

    The qualifying exam will cover the content of the core courses. 

    MSE 301 - Crystallography and Diffraction
    MSE 302 - Electronic Properties of Materials
    MSE 303 - Statistical Thermodynamics and Equilibrium Processes
    MSE 304 - Applied Quantum Mechanics

    The examination in all three subjects will be held on the same day. 

    Only PhD and MS/PhD students will be allowed to take the qualifying exam.

    Registration for the Qualifying Exam: 

    The qualifying exam is schduled twice per year, January and June. A call for registration will be sent via email to Ph.D. students eight (8) weeks before the exam date. The email will include the exam date and instructions to register for the exam.

    Evaluation of Ph.D. Qualifying Exam:

    • The exams will be evaluated within the next 72 hours.
    • MSE faculty members will discuss and approve the results before sending the results to students.
    • Results will be sent to students via email.

    Students failed the qualifying exam are required to re-take the exam the following time the exam is offered.

    Students who fail the Subject-based Qualifying Exam with no retake or fail the retake will be dismissed from the university.​

Dissertation Committee Formation

  • ​The Dissertation Committee must include the following members:

    • First member: Dissertation Advisor who acts as committee chair
    • Second member: Program or Program-affiliated faculty member
    • Third member: KAUST faculty member from another program

    The Dissertation Committee must be approved by the Program Chair and the Dean.  Once constituted, the composition of the committee can only be changed with the approval of both the Dissertation Advisor and the Dean.

    The Dissertation Committee form  must be completed and submitted to GPC for approval two weeks prior to the Ph.D. proposal defense. ​

Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense

  • ​The Dissertation Proposal Defense is the second part of the qualification milestones that must be completed to become a Ph.D. Candidate. The purpose of the Dissertation Proposal Defense is to demonstrate that the student has the ability and is adequately prepared to undertake Ph.D. level research in the proposed area. This preparation includes necessary knowledge of the chosen subject, a review of the literature and preparatory theory or experiment as applicable.

    Ph.D. students are required to complete the Dissertation Proposal Defense within one (1) year after passing the qualifying exam. The proposal defense date will be determined by student and his/her advisor. Ph.D. students must request to present the Dissertation Proposal Defense to the Proposal Dissertation Committee by submitting the Dissertation Committee Formation Form two weeks prior to the Ph.D. proposal defense date. 

    The Dissertation Proposal Defense includes two aspects: a written research proposal and an oral research proposal defense. 

    • The written research proposal document should be 3000 words (+/- 10%).
    • The oral defense should be 1.5 hours long (30 min presentation, 60 min questions)

    Ph.D. Proposal Defense Evaluation

    There are four possible outcomes from this Dissertation Proposal Defense:

    Pass: A pass is achieved when the committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote, otherwise the student fails.

    Pass with conditions: 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 complete the conditions is one month after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to change it.

    Fail with retake: The deadline to complete the retake is six months after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to reduce it.

    Fail without retake: In the instance of a Fail without Retake, the decision of the committee must be unanimous. Students who fail the Dissertation Proposal Defense, or who fail the retake, will be dismissed from the University.

    The Dissertation Proposal Evaluation form​ must be submitted within 48 hours after presenting the dissertation proposal.

    Upon passing the Proposal Defense, student must submit the change to Ph.D. candidate status form.​

Dissertation Defense and Submission

  • ​Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

    The Dissertation Defense is the final milestone of the degree. This part requires acceptance of the Dissertation and the passing of the final defense. The final defense is a public presentation that consists of an oral defense followed by questions.​

    To complete this part Ph.D. student is required to complete the following:

    • Form Ph.D. Dissertation Committee and petition for Ph.D. dissertation Defense examination .
    • Defend the dissertation and submit the results.
    • Submit Ph.D. Dissertation and the Final Approval form .

    Fall 2017 Submission Deadlines

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Petition for Dissertation Defense Examination form is August 31, 2017.

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Examination Result form is November 9, 2017.

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Dissertation and Final Approval form is December 3, 2017.

    Note:

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

Dissertation Defense and Submission

  • ​Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

    The Dissertation Defense is the final milestone of the degree. This part requires acceptance of the Dissertation and the passing of the final defense. The final defense is a public presentation that consists of an oral defense followed by questions.​

    To complete this part Ph.D. student is required to complete the following:

    • Form Ph.D. Dissertation Committee and petition for Ph.D. dissertation Defense examination .
    • Defend the dissertation and submit the results.
    • Submit Ph.D. Dissertation and the Final Approval form .

    Fall 2017 Submission Deadlines

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Petition for Dissertation Defense Examination form is August 31, 2017.

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Examination Result form is November 9, 2017.

    Deadline to submit the Ph.D. Dissertation and Final Approval form is December 3, 2017.

    Note:

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

Petition for Ph.D. Disseration Defense

  • ​Petition for Dissertation Defense Examination

    Ph.D. student is expected to declare his/her intention to defend the Ph.D. Dissertation by forming the dissertation committee and submitting the Ph.D. Petition for Dissertation Defense Examination form to the GPC. The student must submit the form to the GPC by the end of the second week of the semester the student intends to defend.

    It is advisable that the student submits her/his dissertation to committee members six weeks prior the defense date.

    Dissertation Committee

    The PhD Dissertation Defense committee for the final defense must consist of at least four members, and typically includes no more than six members. At least three of the required members must be KAUST faculty and one must be an examiner who is external to KAUST. The Chair plus one additional faculty member must be affiliated with the student’s program.

    The External Examiner must hold a Full or Associate Professor position at a university other than KAUST. The External Examiner will review the dissertation and send a report within three weeks sharing his/her recommendations and questions prior to the final defense. Beyond the External Examiner, up to two additional members can be added. All committee members must attend the final defense, by videoconference if necessary.

    Member Role & Program Status:

    ​Member

    Role​

    Program Status​

    ​1

    ​Chair

    ​Within Program

    ​2

    ​Faculty

    ​Within Program

    ​3

    ​Faculty

    ​Outside Program

    ​4

    ​External Examiner

    ​Outside KAUST

    ​5

    ​Approved Research Scientist

    ​Inside KAUST

    ​6

    ​Additional Faculty

    ​Inside or outside KAUST

     
    Notes: 

    • Members 1 – 4 are required. Members 5 and 6 are optional.

    • Co-chairs may serve as either Member 2, 3 or 6. 

    • Adjunct Professors and Professor 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, 3 or 6 depending upon their affiliation with the student’s program. They may also serve as co-chairs. 

    • Visiting Professors may serve as Member 6, but not as the external examiner.​​​

Oral Defense and Results Submission

  • ​The Dissertation Defense is the final milestone of the degree. This part requires acceptance of the Dissertation and the passing of the final defense. The final defense is a public presentation that consists of an oral defense followed by questions and may last a maximum of three hours.

    Evaluation

    There are four (4) possible outcomes for Final Defense: 

    • Pass without conditions

    • Pass with conditions

    • Fail with retake

    • ​Fail without retake

    A pass is achieved when the committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote, otherwise the student fails. 

    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 complete the conditions is one (1) month after the defense date unless the committee unanimously agrees to reduce it. 

    In the instance of a Fail without Retake permitted, the decision of the committee must be unanimous. Otherwise one retake is permitted. The deadline to complete the retake is four (4) months after the defense date unless the committee unanimously agrees to reduce it. Students who fail the Final Dissertation Defense or who fail the retake will be dismissed from the university.

    Ph.D. student is required to submit the Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Examination Result form to the GPC within three days after the defense examination.​

Submission of Dissertation and Final Approval Form

  • ​Dissertation Document:

    Students must follow the KAUST Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines available on KAUST Library website when they write their dissertation. The student will be contacted by Thesis Checker in the Registrar office to make sure the student is following the guidelines.

    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.

    Submission of Dissertation:

    Once the post-examination corrections to the final dissertation document and the format of the dissertation are completed, the Ph.D. student must submit the final draft of the dissertation document to Turnitin through Blackboard. And, submit the Final Approval and Copyright Availability forms to GPC.

    The Student can also use the Turnitin tool in Blackboard to check the dissertation document for plagiarism.​

    Steps to submit the dissertation and run the plagiarism report:

    • Log into Blackboard.

    • Click on the course titled (“Year”_”Semester”_DISS) 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”_DISS) available on the list of Courses: Quick View.

    • Click on Course Tools.

    • Click on Turnitin Assignments.

    Submission to KAUST Library:

    • The GPC will send the Turnitin Plagiarism report to the supervisor for authentication.

    • The GPC will archive the final dissertation to the library on behalf of the student once the following documents are submitted: 

    • ​​The GPC will inform the Registrar Office once the submission is confirmed by the Library. ​

​freq​uently used forms:

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