Chemistry 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 cumulative 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 (3) semesters. Satisfactory participation in every KAUST summer session is mandatory.

The M.Sc. Requirements

  • The M.Sc. Requirements

  • Three Chemistry Core Courses (total 9 credits)

  • Lab Rotation (3 credits)

  • Three Elective Courses (total 9 credits) – Elective Courses are not limited to the Chemistry Program and can be selected from any program with approval of your Academic Advisor

  • Research/Capstone Experience (total 15 credits)

  • Graduate Seminars (Chem 398, non-credit) – all M.Sc. students are required to register and receive a satisfactory grade for three (3) semesters during their graduate program

  • Completion of one Winter Enrichment Program (WEP)

Chemistry Core Courses (9 credits)

To complete these nine credit hours, students should register for three Chemistry Core Courses among listed below.

Chem 320Advanced Organic Chemistry I


Chem 330Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I


Chem 340Advanced Organic Chemistry II


Chem 350Advanced Inorganic Chemistry II


Chem 360Advanced Physical Chemistry I


Chem 370Advanced Physical Chemistry II


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

Compulsory Lab Rotation (3 credits)

All incoming M.Sc. students are required to enroll into a rotation course (Chem 296) during their first semester in the Program. The goal of this course is to introduce students to various Chem research groups to aid them in the selection of an Academic Advisor. Rotation assignments will be made by the mutual approval of designated faculty and students.

Students with a pre-identified Academic Advisor may spend their entire rotation period in a given lab with the approval of this Academic Advisor and the Program Chair.


Elective Courses (9 credits)

Elective Courses are all courses beyond the list of Chemistry Core Courses. Elective Courses are not limited to the Chemistry Program and can be selected from any program with the permission of the Academic Advisor. The purpose of the Elective Courses (which exclude research, internship credits, and IED courses) is to allow students to tailor their educational experience to meet individual research and educational objectives. You can find below the list of recommended Elective Courses related to chemistry within and outside the Chemistry Program. This list is merely a recommendation and students are free to choose other courses according to their needs.

Chem 210Material Chemistry I


Chem 212Spectroscopy Analysis


Chem 214Nano-Catalysis


Chem 215Polymers and Polymerization Processes


Chem 218Photo and Electro Catalysis


Chem 220Organometallic Chemistry


Chem 240Supramolecular Chemistry


Chem 250Material Chemistry II


Chem 301Crystallography and Diffraction


Chem 319Bioinorganic Chemistry


Chem 326Biocatalysis


Chem 294Contemporary Topics in Chemistry


BioE 319Biomaterials and Biomedical Devices


CE 210Materials Chemistry I


CE 225Materials Chemistry II


CE 230Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules

CE 330Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules


CE 335Heterogeneous Catalysis


CE 336Membrane Science and Membrane Separation Processes


EnSE 310Colloids, Interfaces, and Surfaces


MSE 201Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering


MSE 228Materials Characterization


MSE 229Polymeric Materials


MSE 310Energy Storage Materials and Devices


MSE 314Ab-Initio Computational Methods


MSE 318Nanomaterials


MSE 320Energy Conversion Materials and Devices


MSE 322Semiconductor Materials



M.Sc. Thesis

An oral defense of the M.Sc. Thesis is required, although it may be waived by the Dean's Office under exceptional circumstances. A requirement of a public presentation and all other details are left to the discretion of the Thesis Defense Committee. While writing the Thesis, students are required to comply with Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines provided by KAUST Library.

A M.Sc. student must submit the request (form_1) to form the M.Sc. Thesis Defense Committee together with the written Thesis to the GPSA at least two (2) weeks prior to the Defense. The GPSA will collect all required signatures.

M.Sc. Thesis Defense Committee

The Thesis Defense Committee, approved by the Program Chair and Associate 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 members. The Chair plus one Faculty Member must be primary or affiliated to the Chemistry Program.


Member Role Program Status
1 Chair Chemistry Program
2 Faculty Chemistry Program
3 Faculty or research scientist Outside Chemistry Program
4 Additional faculty/ research scientist Inside or outside KAUST


•   Members 1-3 are required, Member 4 is optional

•   Co-Chairs may serve as Members 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 the current Committee, but may not serve as Chairs on any new committees

•   Professors of Practice and Research Professors may serve as Members 2, 3 or 4 depending upon their affiliation with the Chemistry Program, they may also serve as Co-Chairs

•   Visiting Professor may serve as Member 4

View a list of Faculty members and their affiliations here.

Under exceptional circumstances where students are not able to complete a thesis after fulfilling all other M.Sc. requirements, a non-thesis (course only) option could be permitted with approval of the Academic Advisor and the Program Chair. The Chemistry Program looks at this option as a last resort only in the occasions of extreme significance that effect students’ ability to complete their thesis.

Submitting the Thesis

The division recommends that the student submit the written Thesis to the Committee no later than two (2) weeks prior to the Defense. However, the Committee Chair sets the final requirement for the submission timeline.

Thesis Defense Date

The deadline to defend the Thesis is no later than two (2) weeks before the last day of the semester. The student must set the date of the Thesis Defense in line with the Committee Members' schedules. At the time the student submits the Thesis Committee Formation form, the defense has to be scheduled.

Booking a Venue of the Thesis Defense

It is the student’s responsibility to book a room and make the necessary IT arrangements for the Thesis Defense. Room booking is done via the student portal under Service Request Management.

Thesis Defense Announcement

The student must submit to the GPSA the title and abstract of the Thesis one (1) week before Defense date. The GPSA will announce the Thesis Defense to the Program members. The time and location of the Defense must be included in the email. The student is required to check the Chemistry Program Guide for further instructions related to the Defense format.

An oral Defense is required however the Associate Dean can waive this requirement. The requirement of a public or private Defense is left to the discretion of the Committee. As a general guideline the Defense is expected to be a 45-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of general Q&A then a closed-door Q&A session with the Committee.

Thesis Defense Evaluation

A pass is achieved when the Committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote otherwise the student fails. There are two possible outcomes of the Thesis Defense:


The student will be given one (1) week to apply any corrections required by the Committee Members. During the following week, the student is required to upload the final draft of Thesis document to Blackboard for format check and to start the submission process.


The student must notify the GPSA immediately of the Committee decision.

The M.Sc. Thesis Evaluation form (form_2) must be submitted within 48 hours after the Thesis Defense regardless of the outcome.

Final Approval and Thesis Submission

Once the post-Defense corrections are made, the student must follow the KAUST Repository Guide and do the following:

  • Submit the M.Sc. Thesis/Ph.D. Dissertation Final Approval (form_3)
  • Create ORCID account, if absent
  • Submit Thesis and all supplemental files
  • Add some details like names of Committee Members, Abstract, Keywords and so on
  • Confirm the distribution license