PhD students apply for and enter a specific degree program. A faculty advisor is either immediately designated (in the case of a student being recruited by a specific faculty member) or temporarily assigned (in the case of KAUST fellowship students); in the latter case, the student is expected to identify a research advisor by (at the latest) the end of the first year. There are two phases and associated milestones for PhD students: (i) a qualification phase with a candidacy milestone and (ii) a dissertation phase with a final defense milestone.
Qualification and advancement to candidacy are contingent upon: (i) successfully passing PhD coursework, (ii) designating a research advisor, and (iii) preparing a written, and orally defending, a research proposal. Individual degree programs may, at their discretion, also require a subject-comprehensive examination (probing coursework and knowledge of other relevant subject areas); possible outcomes include pass, failure with complete retake, failures with partial retake, and failure with no retake. The maximum time for advancement to candidacy for a student entering with an MS degree is two years, three years for the BSc-degree entry option.
A minimum of 6 credit hours of actual PhD coursework (300 or 400 level) is required (not including directed research) beyond the MS degree. For students who enter with a BSc degree, 30 additional credit hours are required, equivalent to MS degree coursework and can include a thesis. However, individual degree programs may, at their discretion, require a higher number of credit hours (including directed research). Some degree programs may implement a diagnostic entrance exam as a basis for admission, and students may be required to complete additional coursework depending on their degree-granting institution. In the case of the MS degree being from another major/degree program, there may be additional deficiency courses required specified by the advisor. Courses designated should be relevant to the dissertation topic, if defined, and/or proposed general area of research. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be achieved on all doctoral coursework.
Besides actual coursework (6 or more credit hours), 60 credit hours of dissertation research (397) credit must be earned during the first (proposal preparation and defense) and second phases. A full-time workload for PhD students is considered to be 12 credit hours per semester (course and 397) and 6 credit hours in summer (397). There is a minimum residency requirement (enrollment period at KAUST) of 2.5 years for students entering with an MS degree, 3.5 years for students entering with a BSc degree. The maximum enrollment period is 5.0 years, extendable upon approval of both the faculty research advisor and division dean.
Achieving candidacy is contingent upon successfully passing both parts of a two-part qualification examination consisting of acceptance by the research advisor of a written research proposal and successfully passing an oral examination thereof. The proposal examination committee shall consist of a minimum of three KAUST faculty members, one of whom must be external to the degree program. There are four possible outcomes: pass, conditional pass, failure with retake permitted, and failure. Passing the qualification phase is achieved by acceptance of all committee members of the written proposal and a positive vote of all but, at most, one member of the oral exam. If more than one member casts a negative vote, one retake of the oral defense is permitted if the entire committee agrees. A conditional pass involves conditions (e.g., another course in a perceived area of weakness) imposed by the committee, with the conditional status removed when the conditions have been met. Once constituted, the composition of the qualification phase committee can only be changed upon approval by both the faculty research advisor and the division dean.
The final (dissertation) phase involves acceptance of the written dissertation and an oral defense thereof. The final examination committee shall consist of a minimum of four members, one of whom should be a KAUST faculty member external to the degree program and one of whom should be external to KAUST (holding a faculty position or equivalent position at another institution, with approval by both the faculty research advisor and division dean). The only requirement for commonality with the proposal examination committee is the research advisor, although it is expected that other members will carry forward to the dissertation committee. Passing the dissertation phase is achieved by acceptance of all committee members of the written dissertation, with a minimum of a positive vote of all but, at most, one member of the oral defense. If more than one member casts a negative vote, one retake of the oral defense is permitted if the entire committee agrees. A fifth non-voting KAUST faculty member, appointed by the division dean, shall serve as a faculty monitor to ensure that the established protocol is followed, and the required forms are completed.
Note: Students transferring from other PhD programs may receive some dissertation research and coursework credit, on a case by case basis, for related work performed at their original institution. However, such students still must satisfy the written and oral requirements for a research proposal (if this phase was passed at the osriginal institute, the proposal may be the same). The minimum residency requirement for enrollment of such students at KAUST is 2.0 years.
The preferred application deadline is October 15, 2010 for Ph.D. programs starting in January 2011. Thereafter, students are welcome to apply and be considered on a rolling admission basis.
The application deadline is January 15, 2011 for MS and Ph.D. programs starting in September 2011. Thereafter, students are welcome to apply and be considered on a rolling admission basis.
It should be noted that most programs have no formal closing date, however some programs will fill quickly and you are advised to apply and complete your application before April 2011. This is to ensure facilitation of the visa application and relocation process.
Submit an official university transcript from every institution previously attended. A scan of the unofficial transcript should be uploaded into the online application form. also an official transcript must be sent directly from the university in a university sealed envelope to:
Contact the Office of Admission<p>email@example.com
KSA Office: +966 (2) 808 3428
Engineering Building (Building 9), Suite 4328
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology,
4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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