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Marine Science (MarS) (PhD Degreee in Marine Science )

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Cost All admitted students receive the benefits of the KAUST Fellowship which supports students for the duration of their graduate studies.

About the Program

The Marine Science (MarS) program takes advantage of KAUST’s location on the Red Sea, a living laboratory with great potential for exciting science. The program addresses the biology and ecology of the multitude of marine life forms. There is an intentional focus on the local Red Sea system, both as a primary study system and as a system with which general concepts from other marine systems can be compared.

The goal of the Marine Science program is to develop an integrated understanding of the Red Sea’s ecosystem as well as marine ecosystems in general, including fundamental biology at the molecular and genomic levels, symbiosis with algae and prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea), associated communities of fish and corals and the physical and chemical environment that impacts and shapes them. This understanding could have an impact on global carbon cycling, endangered species and how we manage the harvesting of resources from the oceans.


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 a Dissertation Advisor
- Successful completion of program coursework
- Passing the Dissertation Proposal Defense to obtain candidacy status
- Preparing, submitting and successfully defending a Doctoral dissertation

The Ph.D. program requires a three and a half year residency for students entering with a bachelor's degree and two and a half years for students entering with a master's degree. Qualification and advancement to candidacy are contingent upon: (i) successfully passing Ph.D. coursework, (ii) designating an academicadvisor, (iii) successfully passing a qualifying exam, and (iii) writing and orally defending a research proposal. Possible outcomes include pass, failure with complete retake, failures with partial retake, and failure with no retake. Students not permitted to retake the exam, or who fail the retake, will be dismissed from the University. The maximum allotted time for advancement to candidacy for a student entering with a master's degree is two years, and three years for students entering with a bachelor's degree.

Satisfactory participation in the KAUST Summer Session and Winter Enrichment Period (WEP) is mandatory. Summer Session courses are credit bearing and apply toward the degree. WEP courses do not grant credit towards the degree.


We’re an international graduate-level science and technology research university located on the shores of the Red Sea.

We’re ranked 1stin the Middle East and 6th in the world of the Global Top Ten Young Universities (New Nature Index, 2019). And we’re home to world-class faculty, scientists, engineers and students from across the globe, all focused on finding solutions to problems in areas related to water, food, energy, and the environment.


Structural components
Industry partners
Summer schools
Internship/Workplace experience
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work


Ph.D. students need 6 credits of 300-level coursework and will earn dissertation research credit each semester until they defend (no minimum credits established, although there is a minimum residency requirement of 2.5 years).  Ph.D. students must also successfully defend their proposal and final dissertation defense, and archive in the KAUST repository.  
Both M.S. and Ph.D. students have to attend program seminars and successfully complete the Winter Enrichment Program (WEP).

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