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

Coral Bleaching and its Links to Marine Heatwaves and Extreme Environmental Events

As the planet warms, the frequency and severity of marine heatwaves (MHWs) are increasing, accelerating the degradation of coral reefs through mass bleaching events. Most bleaching prediction systems consist of a single global threshold based on progressive warming, but the characteristics of the extreme temperature events that impact corals may differ geographically. This thesis investigates the use of MHWs as a new approach for detecting coral bleaching. First, the Red Sea is used as a model system, as its corals are exceptionally heat-tolerant, yet bleaching events have increased in frequency. A specific MHW-based coral bleaching threshold is identified for the Red Sea, and we reveal that those conditions extended farther and occurred more often than bleaching events were reported. Furthermore, an emergent pattern of MHWs in the northern Red Sea was observed, until now thought to be a thermal refuge for corals. MHW-based coral bleaching thresholds are then identified for thirty-one Ecoregions in the global tropical oceans, using the largest coral bleaching database available. Marked variability was observed in how coral bleaching-associated MHWs manifest between Ecoregions, but globally MHWs have increased in spatial extent and duration over most coral reef zones. Furthermore, MHWs reach greater depths, jeopardising deep cooler waters that offer thermal refugia. These MHW-based bleaching thresholds are then applied to Coupled Model Project Intercomparison Project Phase 6 model outputs to project how global warming will affect coral bleaching over the next century. Even under the low emissions scenario, no bleaching-associated MHW properties are projected to return to historical levels within this century. Over 90% of coral zones are estimated to become impacted yearly by a MHW from 2040 under all emission scenarios, and heat stress is projected to increase up to 20-fold by the end of the century under the high emissions scenario. Finally, this thesis investigates the combined impacts of MHWs and biogeochemical extremes on Red Sea coral bleaching severity. We find that MHWs present a North to South gradient in their contribution to coral bleaching, yet nutrient limitation, acidification, deoxygenation and low salinity play clear roles in modulating bleaching severity throughout the Red Sea.

Lily holds a BSc in Biology from Imperial College London, and an MRes in Applied Marine Science from Plymouth University. She is now a PhD candidate in KAUST, working on investigating the impacts of extreme environmental conditions on coral reefs, using remotely-sensed data and model simulations.


Lily G Genevier