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.

​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).

​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.

​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.

​Mandatory, core and elective courses are listed in the program guide. The program guides for all BESE programs can be found here 
​“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 .
​No.  Only once during your time here at KAUST.  If “WE Courses” appears on your KAUST transcript, that means you have met this requirement.​
​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).

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

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

Latest Events

A stem cell approach to human genetics, from reconstitution to discovery using CRISPR screens in hPSCs

My lab interrogates human development and disease mechanisms through combining genetic tools with stem cell biology. We have used efficient and precise genome editing techniques in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to investigate mechanisms of human pancreatic development and diabetes including monogenic forms of type 2 diabetes. In parallel to our interest in genetic regulators of development, we are interested in the roles of epigenetic regulation in development with a particular focus on the roles of DNA methylation. I will talk about the discovery of genetic and epigenetic regulators of development as well as enhancers that regulate developmental genes through large-scale CRISPR screens in hPSCs.

Dr. Danwei Huangfu is a Member and Professor in the Developmental Biology Program at Sloan Kettering Institute of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She received her B.S. in Genetics from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. In 2005, she received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Cornell University Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Douglas Melton at Harvard University. In September 2010, Dr. Huangfu joined Sloan Kettering Institute of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as an Assistant Member. The Huangfu lab ( is interested in human developmental genetics and stem cell biology. The lab applies precision genetics and genetic screening approaches in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells (hESCs/hiPSCs), to understand both conserved and non-conserved aspects of human development and disease mechanisms. In particular, the lab has focused on studying diseases that affect the pancreas, including diabetes and pancreatic cancer; the regulation of DNA methylation during hPSC self-renewal and differentiation; and the discovery of enhancers involved in transcriptional regulation in development.


Professor Danwei Huangfu