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

Molecular composition of antiscalants linked to the microbial growth potential in seawater

The increasing demand for drinking water has prompted the development of efficient seawater desalination processes, notably reverse osmosis (RO). Antiscalants are suggested as a cost–effective solution to control membrane scaling in RO, despite the potential drawbacks related to bacterial growth due to antiscalants. This study explored the microbial growth potential of 16 commonly used antiscalants in desalination plants. The antiscalants were tested with Red Sea water containing native microbial communities. We employed various analytical methods to characterize the antiscalants chemically and found a correlation between their chemical composition, and biofouling. This approach was then implemented in a large–scale desalination plant, to identify the antiscalant with the lowest bacterial growth potential among five commercial options. Our results revealed that phosphonates–based antiscalants displayed variability in their impact on bacterial growth potential, Diethylentriamine–pentamethylene phosphonic acid (DTPMP) consistently inhibited bacterial growth. However, Hexamethylenediaminetetra (methylene phosphonic) (HDTMP), and Polyamino Polyether Methylene Phosphonic Acid (PAPEMP) consistently promote bacterial growth. Further analysis of HDTMP and PAPEMP revealed a significative peak on the 31P NMR spectra, associated with the presence of phosphates. The measured phosphate concentration was 418 μgPO43–/L for HDTMP and 1038 μgPO43–/L for PAPEMP. This study contributes to a growing database of antiscalants, enabling their appropriate selection.

Maria Camila Albarracin Ruiz, originally from Colombia, obtained her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Industrial de Santander. Currently, she is pursuing her Master's in Environmental Science and Engineering at KAUST under the supervision of Professor Johannes Vrouwenvelder.


Maria Albarracin Ruiz