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

Water treatment by Gravity-Driven Membrane: Understanding the role of biofilm on permeate flux and water quality

Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration has recently gained interest as a potential decentralized system for the treatment of rainwater, greywater, and wastewater and as pre-treatment for Seawater Reverse Osmosis. As low energy and chemical-free process, GDM displays lower environmental impact compared to conventional membrane processes. The GDM performance (i.e., permeate flux and water quality) is directly linked to the biofilm layer on the membrane surface. This dissertation increases the understanding of the relations between membrane biofilm and GDM performance, applying in-situ observations and biofilm characterization under different GDM operating conditions for: (i) decentralized wastewater treatment (DWWT) and (ii) pre-treatment of seawater desalination.
For DWWT, the effect of periodic biofilm control strategies was investigated, manipulating the level of biofilm thickness and density with enhanced permeate flux (chapter 2). Subsequently, the permeate flux was linked to a wide range of wastewater qualities, with understandings on the associated structural properties of biofilm (i.e. thickness, roughness, density) and its hydraulic resistance (chapter 3). For pre-treatment of seawater desalination, the biofilm properties formed in high feed salinity treatment (i.e., raw seawater), were characterized and linked to biofilm response under mechanical loading (chapter 4). In chapter 5, the beneficial effect of the biofilm on the produced water quality was assessed, tailoring the membrane biofilm by operational parameters (Hydraulic Retention Time) to increase effluent quality (removal of Assimilable Organic Carbon).
This work highlights that microbial biofilm can be manipulated by selecting GDM design and operational parameters to benefit the treatment performance.

Luigi Ranieri holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Salerno, Italy. 
During his master’s degree, Luigi joined the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as a visiting student to investigate sustainable membrane processes for decentralized wastewater treatment. 
Following his master's degree, Luigi joined as a Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Science and Engineering program with Prof. Vrouwenvelder. His research efforts focus on addressing the role of biofilm in Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration system. 
During his time at KAUST, Luigi has actively participated in events organized by the Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC), including KAUST Research Open Week and the UN2023 Gamechanger Challenge.


Luigi Ranieri