​​​​​​​​​​​​​​These are some of the frequently asked questions by our current students. ​​​Feel free to contact your Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any other questions. 

  • How do I know who my advisor is? Can I change my advisor?

    ​For M.S. students, your advisor when you are admitted to KAUST is the Program Chair. For Ph.D. students, your advisor is your PI (supervisor) whose lab you have been accepted in to. 

    Yes, you can change your advisor. M.S. students are advised to do so if/when they begin their thesis or directed research.  Ph.D. students do have the ability to change advisors, but the overall impact to the Ph.D. project, as well as the time left to finish the Ph.D., could be significant.  This will have to be taken into account before approval.

  • How many credits do I need to graduate?

    ​M.S. students need 36 credits (combination of courses and research is specific to your program). 

    Ph.D. students need 6 credits of 300-level coursework and will earn dissertation research credit each semester until they defend (no minimum credits established, although there is a minimum residency requirement of 2.5 years).

  • How can I get accepted for a Ph.D. after I finish my M.S. at KAUST?

    ​During your final M.S. semester at KAUST, you will be eligible to submit a “rollover” application.  You will be contacted by the Admissions Office for this.  You must have a confirmed supervisor in order for the application to be approved.

  • How much vacation/holiday time do I get off?

    ​M.S. students get all university holidays (Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, Spring break).  

    Ph.D. students get university holidays and three weeks of annual/vacation leave per calendar year to be taken in agreement with your PI.

  • Where can I find the required courses for my degree?

    ​Mandatory, core and elective courses are listed in the program guide. The program guides for all BESE programs can be found here

  • Can I stay an extra semester to finish my M.S. thesis?

    ​“Time Extension to Complete M.S. Thesis” application request can be submitted by the 9th week of your final Fall semester.  See application for required approvals here .

  • If I completed WEP during my M.S., do I have to complete it again during my Ph.D.?

    ​No.  Only once during your time here at KAUST.  If “WE Courses” appears on your KAUST transcript, that means you have met this requirement.​

  • Do I have to register for the graduate seminars 398 every semester?

    ​Yes, both M.S. and Ph.D. in all BESE programs must register, attend, and receive an S grade for the graduate seminar each semester (Spring and Fall, NOT summer).

  • Can I drop a course after the semester has started?

    ​Yes. Drop and Add deadlines are on the academic calendar .

  • How can I get copies of official KAUST documents (transcript, letter of completion, student status letter)?

    ​Your GPC can help you request these from the Registrar’s Office, or you can contact them directly at RegistrarHelpDesk@KAUST.EDU.SA​​


KAUST’s Graduate Program Coordinators are trained to address your academic questions, evaluate your progress in your program, and update you on current university policies and procedures. We are the liaison with the Dean, faculty, Graduate Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, Admissions, and the VP for Academic Affairs Office. Through our administrative experience and knowledge about the graduate programs, we can help make your learning experience even more enriching and inspiring.


For any admissions inquiries or questions 
about the application process, please visit: 
Or contact our BESE Student 
Recruitment Information Office