Entry requirements

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program requires the satisfactory completion of an undergraduate or master's degree in science in a relevant or related area, such as Engineering, Mathematics or the Physical, Chemical and Biological Sciences.

  • There are three phases and associated milestones for Ph.D. students:
  • ​Passing a qualifying exam
  • Passing an oral defense of the dissertation proposal
  • Dissertation phase with a final defense milestone

Months of entry


Course content

The Bioscience (B) program plays a key role in tackling many of the global challenges being addressed by KAUST, with a general emphasis on ‘adaptive biology’, i.e. the study of the mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to their environment. Understanding and engineering these complex mechanisms is critical in areas such as global food security or health care, and requires combining in-depth knowledge with advanced methodology and out-of-the-box thinking.

To prepare students to be innovative contributors to life sciences, the Bioscience program comprises courses in cell and molecular biology, biophysics and computer science. Moreover, it interfaces smoothly with bioengineering as well as plant and marine sciences, and allows the choice of electives across all divisions.

The program is comprised of two tracks of self- contained courses consisting of lectures, seminars and laboratory classes. Each course provides an in-depth review of the subject and examples of current research in the field. In addition, the Bioscience program provides substantial and versatile hands-on research experience.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is designed to prepare students for research careers in academia and industry.

There is a minimum residency requirement at KAUST of three and a half years for students entering with a bachelor’s degree and two and a half years for students entering with a master’s degree. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be achieved to graduate. Individual courses require a minimum of a B- for course credit.

The Ph.D. degree includes the following steps:

- Securing an academic advisor

- Successful completion of program coursework

- Passing the dissertation proposal defense to obtain candidacy status

- Preparing, submitting and successfully defending a doctoral dissertation

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    42 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Information Office