Environmental Science and Engineering M.Sc. Program

It is the responsibility of students to plan their graduate program in consultation with their academic advisor. Students are required to meet all deadlines. Students should be aware that most core courses are offered only once per year.

The Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree is awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be achieved to graduate. Individual courses require a minimum of a B- for course credit. Students are expected to complete the M.Sc. degree in three semesters. Satisfactory participation in every KAUST summer session is mandatory.

The M.Sc. Requirements

  • Core courses (9 credits)
  • Elective courses (thesis: 9 credits; non-thesis: 15 credits)
  • Research/capstone experience (thesis: 18 credits; non-thesis 12 credits)
  • Graduate seminar 398 (non-credit) – all students are required to register and receive a satisfactory grade for three semesters during their M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees (three seminars in each program)
  • Completion of one Winter Enrichment Program (WEP)

Core Courses (9 credits)

EnSE 202Aquatic Chemistry


EnSE 203Fundamentals of Environmental Microbiology


EnSE 205Principles of Environmental Sustainability


These core courses are designed to provide students with the background needed to establish a solid foundation in the program area.

Elective Courses (thesis: 9.0 credits; non-thesis: 15.0 credits)

EnSE 310Colloids, Interfaces, and Surfaces


EnSE 314Public Health Microbiology


EnSE 317Selected Topics in Green Process Technology


EnSE 325Water Desalination


EnSE 341Processes in Environmental Biotechnology


Others upon approval of the academic advisor

The elective courses (which exclude research and internship credits) are designed to allow students to tailor their educational experience to meet individual research and educational objectives, with the permission of the academic advisor.

M.Sc. Thesis

Students wishing to pursue the thesis option must complete 9 credits of elective courses and a total of 18 research/capstone credits, with a minimum of 12 credits of thesis research (297).

The thesis defense committee, which must be approved by the dean, must consist of at least three members and typically includes no more than four members. At least two of the required members must be KAUST faculty. The chair plus one additional faculty member must be affiliated with the student’s program. This membership can be summarized as:

Member Role Program Status
1 Chair Within program
2 Faculty Within program
3 Faculty or approved research scientist Outside program
4 Additional faculty or research scientist Inside or outside KAUST


  • Members 1-3 are required, member 4 is optional
  • Co-chairs may serve as member 2, 3, or 4, but may not be a research scientist
  • Members 2 and 3 must use primary affiliation only
  • Adjunct professors and professors emeriti may retain their roles on current committees, but may not serve as chair on any new committees
  • Professors of practice and research professors may serve as members 2, 3 or 4 depending upon their affiliation with the student’s program, they may also serve as co-chairs
  • Visiting professors may serve as member 4

View a list of faculty and their affiliations here.

M.Sc. Non-Thesis

Students wishing to pursue the non-thesis option must complete a total of 15 elective courses, of which three courses must be from EnSE, and a total of 12 research/capstone credits, with a minimum of 6 credits of directed research (299).

Students must complete the remaining credits through one or a combination of the options listed below:

  • Broadening experience courses: courses that broaden a student’s M.Sc. experience
  • Internship: research-based summer internship (295) – students are only allowed to take one internship
  • Ph.D. courses: courses numbered at the 300 level
  • Additional directed research