Chemistry (Chem)

Aims and Scope

The KAUST Chemistry (Chem) Program was established in 2010 to provide a modern, research-oriented education in chemistry. It is one of the top internationally ranked programs at KAUST. Leveraging the outstanding facilities at KAUST, the program distinguishes itself by a clear focus and strong emphasis on current research challenges related to polymers, catalysis, and nanotechnology.

Within these three main interdisciplinary tracks, the following distinct research orientations are currently addressed:





Conjugated polymers

Hetero- and homogeneous catalysts

Hybrid materials



Sustainable/renewable polymers


Porus Materials

Polymeric membranes

Photo- and electro catalysts




Computation/ theoretical methods


 Hydrogels Sustainable catalysts Biocompatible assemblies

Program Contacts

Niveen M. Khashab, Chemistry Program Chair
Linda J. Sapolu, Graduate Program Student Advisor (GPSA) or Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)

Assessment Test

Students are admitted to KAUST from a wide variety of programs and backgrounds. In order to facilitate the design of an appropriate study plan for each individual student, all M.Sc. and M.Sc./Ph.D. incoming students will be required to take a written assessment during Orientation week. There is no grade for the assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether students have mastered the prerequisites for undertaking graduate level courses taught in the program. Students are encouraged to prepare for the assessment by refreshing the general knowledge gained from their undergraduate education before arriving at KAUST. The Academic Advisor uses the results of the assessments to design, if necessary, a remedial study plan with a list of courses aimed at addressing content areas that may impede a student from successful completion of the degree requirements.


Chemistry students will be tested on the following subjects:

  • Basic Principles of General Chemistry
  • Basic Principals of Inorganic and Organic Chemistry

A. Basic Principles of General Chemistry

Topics included in the General Chemistry assessment test:

  • Physical and chemical properties of matter
  • Principles of atomic structure
  • Periodic variation in physical and chemical properties of the elements
  • Chemical bonding: Fformal charge and Lewis structure, polarity, molecular geometry and hybridization of atomic orbitals
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Chemical kinetics and equilibrium
  • Acids and bases
  • Electrochemistry
  • Stoichiometry

Recommended References:

Sample questions from previous tests.

B. Basic Principals of Inorganic and Organic Chemistry

Topics included in the Inorganic and Organic Chemistry assessment test:

  • Lewis and resonance structures
  • Electronegativity
  • Functional groups reactivity and transformation
  • Hybridization and molecular shapes
  • Molecular structure and bonding
  • Molecular symmetry

Recommended References:

Sample questions from previous tests.