Computer Science M.Sc. Program

The Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree is awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours. Students are expected to complete the M.Sc. degree in three semesters (non-thesis option) or four semesters (thesis option). Satisfactory participation in every KAUST summer semester is mandatory. Summer semester courses are credit bearing and apply towards the degree.

The M.Sc. Requirements

  • Core courses (9 credits)
  • Elective courses (15 credits)
  • Research/capstone experience (12 credits)

Core Courses (9 credits)

Core courses are all regular CS 200-level courses with the following exception:

  • Special courses such as CS 294 Contemporary Topics

Elective Courses (15 credits)

Elective courses are regular 200-level and regular 300-level courses. The following rules apply:

  • 3 credits have to be CS courses
  • 6 credits have to be CEMSE courses
  • 6 credits have to be BESE/CEMSE/PSE courses

Note that students can take 15 credits of CS courses to fulfill this requirement.

M.Sc. Thesis

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 Within or 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
  • 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 12 capstone credits. All students must take exactly 6 credits of directed research (299).

Students must complete the remaining 6 credits through one or a combination of the options listed below:

  • IED 210 Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • IED 220 New Venture and Product Innovation Challenge
  • CS 295 Internship
  • Regular 300-level courses. One 300 level course can be a regular BESE/CEMSE/PSE course. An eventual second 300-level course has to be a regular CEMSE course.