The University has two graduation cycles: one culminating with commencement and one with the spring luncheon. Students will officially graduate during the graduation cycle, in which they complete all the requirements of their degree program. This includes M.Sc./Ph.D. students graduating with their master’s degree.

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. An application to graduate is required to finalize the receipt of a degree (this is not an application to participate in the commencement ceremony). Diplomas are awarded to students on or after the official graduation date.

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the student's official transcript. A graduation application is needed to finalize the receipt of your degree. This is not an application to participate in the commencement ceremony. 

Students must apply to graduate by the last day to add/drop courses.

Applications for graduation are available before the start of the graduation semester and an announcement will be published with instructions on how to apply. 

Each degree and program at KAUST have its unique set of requirements in addition to the general University requirements. For more information, please refer to the Program Guide

Missed Deadline 

Failure to meet the published deadline will delay graduation one semester and may affect the student's participation on the commencement. 

If you miss this deadline, contact the Office of the Registrar at as soon as possible to find out what to do next.


M.Sc. with thesis and Ph.D. students are required to send their thesis/dissertation to for formatting review by no later than the published deadline in the Academic Calendar.

Please visit the theses/dissertations preparation page to learn more. 

Students eligible to graduate will receive one diploma per degree earned, free of charge. 


Commencement is held once a year at the end of the fall semester. It involves activities that span two days and ends with the awarding of degrees and evening reception. Participation in the commencement ceremony is not equivalent to graduation. Graduation becomes official after all grades are completed, and thesis/dissertations are successfully archived.

In order to participate in a fall commencement ceremony, you must: 

  1. Be on the “eligible graduation list” prior to the commencement registration deadline in October. The “eligible graduation list” is managed by the Office of the Registrar, once your graduation application is approved, your name will be added to the graduation candidates list, and the commencement team will be notified. 

  1. Complete the separate commencement registration by the defined deadline.  

The Office of the Registrar notifies the commencement team in early fall of all students who are on the “eligible graduation list.”  All students on this list will receive an email inviting them to register for the commencement ceremony.  Any student who does not complete a commencement registration by the deadline will not participate in commencement.  

All commencement information is sent to the eligible graduate's KAUST email address by the commencement team.  Students will only receive commencement information once a student has applied to graduate with the Office of the Registrar and their application was approved. 

There is no spring commencement ceremony; all spring graduates are invited to participate in the fall ceremony. Students completing their graduation requirements in the winter, spring, or summer will also be invited to participate in the fall commencement ceremony. MS candidates with thesis extensions will have their degrees conferred later.

Commencement Eligibility

Participation in Commencement is not limited to those students who have completed their degree requirements or previously graduated. Students meeting any of the categories below may participate in Commencement once per each degree.

  • MS or Ph.D. degree candidates who have completed all degree requirements and did not participate in an earlier Commencement for this degree may participate in the Commencement Ceremony.
  • MS Thesis candidates who have completed all of the course work for the MS degree, but not the Thesis, may participate in Commencement Ceremony but will not graduate until the Thesis is completed.
  • Ph.D. candidates who have completed the defense examination with either a “pass” or “conditional pass” may participate in the Commencement Ceremony. They will officially graduate during the cycle in which they complete their remaining degree requirements.


Graduation or commencement questions?

Please visit the FAQs page