*Doctor of Philosophy in Science, PhD in Science

*Doctor of Philosophy in Science, PhD in Science

This application for a PhD in Science program was submitted to the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Education, United Arab Emirates in November 2019. The review visit will take place in April 2020 so that the following information is subject to modification to incorporate any requirements for accreditation.

The proposed PhD in Science program contributes to Khalifa University’s intention to become a center of excellence in science, engineering, and medicine within the region and beyond.  This is aligned with the UAE’s strategic plans, which aim to shift the reliance on the oil-based economy to a knowledge based one by attracting investments and industries with science, engineering and health sciences being some of its major pillars for sustained development and job creation.

The following pathways of the PhD in Science program will be available:

  • PhD in Science with concentration in Chemistry
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Earth Sciences
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Mathematics
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Physics

*Pending CAA/UAE Ministry of Education accreditation

The aim of the PhD in Science program is to produce graduates with advanced knowledge and who are able to conduct research independently at the highest level of originality and quality. In particular, graduates will be able to:

  • Synthesize and critically evaluate scientific and technical knowledge to identify, formulate and solve research challenges, and effectively disseminate the results to a variety of audiences;
  • Work to the highest standards in a single area and/or across multiple disciplines and develop their individual academic, professional and career skills; and
  • Keep abreast of the latest advances in science that contribute to the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of society.

Upon successful completion of the PhD in Science program, a graduate will be able to

SLO1 Demonstrate appropriate breadth, depth and critical appreciation of knowledge that is at the frontier of their discipline(s) and areas of specialization.
SLO2 Conduct and defend original independent research that results in significant contributions to knowledge in the field and leads to scholarly articles or appropriate intellectual outputs.
SLO3 Understand and value diverse methodologies and techniques, as well as their limitations, for solving critical problems in research.
SLO4 Verify, justify and evaluate the various aspects of solutions to a complex scientific problem.
SLO5 Communicate effectively and professionally, in written and oral forms as appropriate, the major tenets of their field and their work to a variety of audiences.
SLO6 Demonstrate a commitment to responsible and ethical behaviour in research and professional activities.
SLO7 Manage themselves and others effectively in a multidisciplinary collaborative environment.

We expect most students to be interested in pursuing research in a single discipline, reflecting and building directly on their previous studies. However, an increasing amount of exciting, cutting-edge research is conducted at the fringes where the traditional disciplines overlap so we have the flexibility for students to follow interests across two or more areas so the following pathways of the PhD in Science program will be available:

  • PhD in Science
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Chemistry
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Earth Sciences
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Mathematics
  • PhD in Science with concentration in Physics

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program is normally offered only as a full-time program, consisting of 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, with 24 credit hours allotted for coursework, and 36 credit hours for Thesis research. The normal time to complete a full-time doctoral program is four years. Any scholarship or financial awards are normally only for the duration of the normal time to completion.

The structure of the program is summarized as:

Program Component Credit Hours
SCIE701 Research Methods for Science 3
Program Technical Electives  (7 ´ 3 hrs) 21
PhD Research Seminars 0
SCIE799 PhD Research Thesis 36

Program Core   SCIE701 Research Methods for Science (3 credit hours)

Students must complete this core course in their first semester.

Program Electives (21 credit hours)

Students must complete seven elective courses from the list below. Subject to approval, up to 9 cr-hr of electives may be taken from other relevant graduate programs at KU. Students will be expected to discuss their choices with the Program Director and Thesis Advisor to ensure that it is coherent and supports their thesis topic. Students following one of the concentrations must study at least 12 cr-hr from the appropriate discipline.

SCIE799 PhD Research Thesis (36 credit hours)

Students must complete a PhD Research Thesis that involves novel, creative, research work under the direct supervision of at least one full-time faculty advisor from the College of Arts & Sciences. The outcome of the research should demonstrate the creation of new knowledge and its presentation in a form (or forms) that may be used by others. The research findings must be documented in a formal thesis and defended successfully in a viva voce examination.

PhD (Science) Courses and Technical Electives
CHEM701 Methods and Techniques of Chemical Research (3 cr-hr)
CHEM711 Recent developments in Inorganic chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM712 Recent developments in Organic chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM713 Recent developments in Physical chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM715 Recent developments in Nanomaterials chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM716 Recent developments in Environmental chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM717 Recent developments in Bioorganic chemistry (3 cr-hr)
CHEM799 Entrepreneurship in Chemistry and Science (3 cr-hr)
Earth Sciences
PGEG 701 Petroleum Systems (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 702 Lab Methods in Sedimentology & Geochemistry (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 703 Lab and Field Techniques in Geophysics (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 711 Carbonate Petrology and Stratigraphy (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 712 Field Geology of Petroleum Systems (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 713 Rock Physics  (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 714 Seismic Interpretation in Petroleum Exploration and Production (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 715 Seismic Modelling & Imaging (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 718 Biogeochemical Cycles (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 719 Deformation and Structures of Sedimentary Rocks (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 720 Organic Geochemistry (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 721 Sedimentary Basin Analysis (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 722 Shared Earth Models (3 cr-hr)
PGEG 723 Isotope Geochemistry (3 cr-hr)
MATH701 Combinatorial Analysis (3 cr-hr)
MATH702 Functional Analysis (3 cr-hr)
MATH703 Finance and Stochastic Calculus (3 cr-hr)
MATH704 Matrix Computations(3 cr-hr)
MATH705 Mechanics of interacting particles (3 cr-hr)
MATH706 Modern Statistical Interence Prediction and Data Mining (3 cr-hr)
MATH707 Nonlinear Optimization (3 cr-hr)
MATH708 Partial Differential Equations (3 cr-hr)
MATH709 Probability and Stochastic Processes (3 cr-hr)
MATH710 Selected topics in group theory (3 cr-hr)
MATH711 Selected topics in high dimensional statistics (3 cr-hr)
PHYS701 Advanced Computational Physics (3 cr-hr)
PHYS702 Advanced Quantum Mechanics I (3 cr-hr)
PHYS703 Biophysics (3 cr-hr)
PHYS704 Electromagnetic Theory (3 cr-hr)
PHYS705 Nanophysics (3 cr-hr)
PHYS706 Quantum Field Theory (3 cr-hr)
PHYS707 Solid State Physics (3 cr-hr)

Learning pathway/curriculum flowchart for the degree of PhD in Science

Graduation Requirements

The following constitute the graduation requirements for a PhD in Science degree:

  • A student must have an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the taught courses in order to qualify for graduation
  • A student must pass a qualifying examination and defend a thesis proposal to demonstrate an appropriate breadth and depth of knowledge and to confirm their potential to achieve the required standard for PhD.
  • A student must submit and successfully defend a thesis describing original research into a topic of contemporary scientific interest
  • A student must successfully pass all program components (taught courses and thesis/dissertation) within the allowed time to completion

Graduate Admission

Minimum admission requirements are published in the graduate catalogue and on the university website.  The application portal along with a list of required documents, application deadlines, and a description of the application process and entry assessment are all published on the university website.

Applicants seeking admission to a doctoral degree program must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess a master’s degree in a relevant discipline with a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.25 out of 4.0, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution;
  • Demonstrate a minimum level of English proficiency in the form of a score of at least TOEFL 91 iBT, 6.5 IELTS, or EmSAT equivalent;
  • Achieve a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) quantitative score of 155;
  • A minimum of two referee recommendations

Each student will be interviewed by at least two faculty members who teach in the program and have research interests in an appropriate area to assess their suitability and potential for success.


A typical study plan for students enrolled in the PhD in Science program is shown below:

SCIE701 Research Methods Science 3 SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 2
Technical Elective 1 3 Technical Elective 3 3
Technical Elective 2 3 Technical Elective 4 3
Choice of thesis topic (if needed)
Total credit hours for First Semester 9 Total credit hours for Second Semester 8
SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 3 SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 3
Technical Elective 5 3 Technical Elective 7 3
Technical Elective 6 3 SCIE 703 PhD Research Seminar I
PhD Proposal examination PhD Qualifying examination
Total credit hours for Third Semester 9 Total credit hours for Fourth Semester 6
SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 7 SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 7
SCIE 703 PhD Research Seminar II
Total credit hours for Fifth Semester 7 Total credit hours for Sixth Semester 7
SCIE 799 PhD Research Thesis 7 SCIE 799 PhD Research Dissertation 7
PhD Thesis examination
Total credit hours for Seventh Semester 7 Total credit hours for Eighth Semester 7