Objectives of Graduate Studies
Graduate Studies aims to:
- Promote the research and publication of Islamic and Arabic studies;
- Contribute to the enrichment of human knowledge in all fields through specialized studies and research in order to make new scientific and applied contributions and create innovative discoveries;
- Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to pursue their graduate studies locally;
- Develop qualified scientific and professional human resources;
- Encourage qualified scientists to keep pace with the rapid developments in science and technology to direct their research towards the solution of problems in Saudi society; and
- Continue with the improvement of undergraduate programs in order to interface efficiently with graduate studies/programs.
As per the recommendation of both Department and College Councils and with the concurrence of the
Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies, the University Board confers the following scientific certificates:
- Postgraduate Diploma;
- Master’s degree; and
- Doctoral degree.
The graduation requirements for the above certificates as outlined in Article 2 should be in accordance
with the stipulations of the Unified Regulations with the following exceptions:
- Medical diploma; and
- Medical fellowships;
This will follow the approved regulations issued by the University Board.
Organization of Graduate Studies
A Deanship of Graduate Studies will be established in all universities. The Dean will report to the
Vice-Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research. The Deanship will supervise all programs of graduate studies in the University; coordinate them; recommend their approval where appropriate; and, subject them to periodic reviews.
The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies will consider issues relating to graduate studies in the University in general and make the necessary decisions within its authority as per the Unified Regulations. Specifically, the Council will:
- propose/revise the general policy for graduate studies and its coordination with all University Colleges and institutes and follow-up its implementation after initial approval;
- Propose, in coordination with academic departments, the internal regulations concerning the organization of graduate studies;
- Propose criteria for admission to graduate studies and supervise their implementation;
- Recommend the approval of new programs of graduate studies and their coordination with existing programs;
- Recommend the approval of graduate courses as well as revise or change their contents;
- Recommend in Arabic and English, the names for the graduate degrees as per the recommendations of the college councils;
- Recommend the granting of degrees.
- Make final decisions on matters relating to graduate students affairs in the University;
- Approve the formation of thesis and dissertation committees, and report the relevant committee’s decision.
- formulate the general guidelines for research plans; set up rules and regulations for writing theses/dissertations; print, submit and develop forms for their defense and evaluation;
- Evaluate periodically the graduate studies programs at the University through committees from within the University or from outside;
- Study the periodic reports submitted by academic departments in the University and;
- Study the items referred to it by the University Board, or its Board Chairman, or the Rector.
The Council of Deanship of Graduate Studies consists of the following:
- Dean of Graduate Studies, acting as the Chairman of the Council;
- Dean of Scientific Research, member;
- Deputy Dean of Graduate Studies, secretary general;
- A faculty member, of associate professor rank (at least), from each College offering graduate programs, appointed by the University Board as per the recommendations of the College Council and the approval of the Rector, for a 2-year renewable term. The Council shall meet at least once a month. A minimum of two-thirds of its members is required for a quorum. Its decisions are taken by simple majority, and in the case of a tie, the Chairman’s rule decides. The decisions of the Council should be considered final if there is no objection from the Rector within 15 days from the date received in the Rector’s office. The Council can form standing or ad-hoc committees from its members or others and charge them with various tasks.
The University Board will set detailed standards to approve the graduate programs based on the recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies after consideration of the following:
- There should be sufficient faculty members of the rank of professor and associate professor specialized in the program. In addition, sufficient research facilities including laboratories, computer resources, etc. should be available to ensure the success of the program together with the assurances regarding the quality of teaching, research, and supervision of research.
- The Department should have acquired sufficient experience in managing undergraduate programs if the new program is for a Master’s degree. If it is for a Doctorate degree, experience in managing master’s program is required
- The number of students expected to enroll in the program should be sufficient to guarantee the continuation of the program.
With consideration of the requirements in Article Seven, the Department submits to the College Council a detailed
proposal of the program explaining the following:
- The objectives of the program and the need of the to Saudi society to it;
- The nature of the program from its academic and professional standpoint and its scientific approach;
- The importance of the program and its justification after reviewing what other departments are offering in the same area of specialization in the University and other universities in the Kingdom;
- The facilities available or what will be procured by the Department to assure the promotion of high academic and professional quality for the program, especially in the major research areas identified by the Department;
- Faculty stability and turnover during the previous five years; and
- The CV’s of all faculty members in the Department and other faculty members in the University who are involved in the program in question.
The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies will review the program proposal and coordinate its requirements
and other existing program requirements, if any, to avoid duplication of effort. If the Council is satisfied, it may
recommend that the program is approved by the University Board.
Any adjustments in the curriculum, program requirements or admission requirements should be approved by the University Board as per recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of the Graduate Studies in coordination with the department concerned.
Combined graduate programs can be established between two or more Departments or between two or more Colleges according to guidelines approved by the University Board based on the recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies in coordination with the Departments concerned.
The University Board determines the number of students to be admitted each year for the Graduate studies as per the recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies and suggestion by Department’s and Colleges’ Councils.
For Admission to the Graduate Studies, the following general requirements should be satisfied:
- The applicant must be a Saudi national or must have an official scholarship to the Graduate Studies (for non-Saudis);
- The applicant must have a university degree from a Saudi university or from another recognized university;
- He/she must have a record of good behavior and be medically fit.
- Recommendation letters should be submitted from two of his/her former professors; A no-objection letter from his/her employer is required if the applicant is willing; and
- Applicants for doctoral programs must enroll on a full-time basis.
The Board of each university can add any other general requirements as necessary.
Admission to a postgraduate diploma requires an undergraduate performance of not less than ‘good’ (C grade).
Admission to a Master’s degree program requires a minimum overall undergraduate performance of ‘very good’ (B). However, the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies can waive this condition for ‘upper good (C+) given that the undergraduate major GPA is not less than ‘very good’ (B). The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies can add other requirements as per the recommendations of the Department Council and the support of the College Council.
Admission to a Doctoral degree program requires a minimum overall performance of at least ‘very good’ (B) in the Master’s degree program if this degree is from a university with a letter-grading system. The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies Council may add other necessary admission requirements as per the recommendation of the Department Council and the support of the College Council.
A graduate student may be admitted to a Master or Doctoral program other than his/her original field of study as per the recommendations of the Councils of Department and the College concerned, together with the approval of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
The concerned department may require a student in a Master’s or Doctoral program to take a number of deficiency courses for a maximum period of three semesters with the following considerations:
- The deficiency courses must be completed at the first attempt with a grade not less than ‘good’ (C);
- The cumulative GPA in all deficiency courses must not be less than ‘very good’ (B);
- Registration for the intended graduate studies program will not commence until the deficiency courses are passed. The Department concerned may allow the student to enroll in such graduate courses if only one or two deficiency courses remain;
- The time period required for completing the deficiency courses is not considered part of the maximum residency period for the degree in question; and
- Deficiency courses are not included in the GPA calculation for graduate studies.
Admission and registration of graduate students should be conducted through the Deanship of Graduate Studies in coordination with the Deanship of Admission and Registration.
A student cannot enroll in two graduate programs at the same time.
Postponement and withdrawal Postponement and Withdrawal
A student admission may be postponed for not more than two semesters based on the approval of the relevant Department Council, the Dean of the College concerned, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. This period of postponement will not be included as part of the maximum residency period allowed for completing the degree.
Studies may only be postponed following the approval of the relevant Department Council, and Dean of the College concerned, and the Dean of Graduate Studies according to the following:
- The student must have finished at least one semester or more and completed a good part of his thesis;
- A postponement must not exceed four semesters (2 academic years);
- The student must submit a postponement request two weeks before the beginning of the semester; and
- The postponement period is not included in the maximum residency period required for the degree.
The student can request to withdraw from the semester subject to the following conditions:
- He/she must submit the form for withdrawal before the final examination;
- Approval of the Department Council together with the approvals of the Dean of the College concerned and the Dean of Graduate Studies are required;
- This semester must not be from any additional period of the extension given to the student; and
- The semester will be considered as part of the postponement period mentioned in Article 22.
If a student withdraws voluntarily from graduate studies and decides to return, all the admission requirements must be met.
Withdrawal: the student retrieves totally his file from the University.
A student would be considered to have voluntarily discontinued his/her program and would be dismissed in the following cases:
- If he is accepted into the program and doesn’t register during the registration period;
- If he/she registers in a semester but does not attend classes in that semester.
Dismissal and Readmission
The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies may decide to dismiss a student if:
- The student gains admission to graduate studies but does not register during the registration period;
- he/she does not pass the deficiency courses mentioned in Article Eighteen
- he/she withdraws or discontinues from the program for one semester without an acceptable excuse;
- he/she does not show his seriousness in studying or does not fulfill his academic duties according to Article Fifty-two;
- his/her GPA is below “B” for two consecutive semesters;
- he/she exceeds the postponement periods mentioned in Article Twenty-two;
- There is evidence of scientific dishonesty in the student’s course of study or during his thesis work, or if the rules and regulations of the university are violated;
- he/she does not pass the comprehensive examination (if required) on the second attempt;
- The Thesis Committee disqualifies the thesis for defence or does not accept it following the defence or does not accept it following the defence; and
- His program remains incomplete following the expiry of the maximum residency period according to Article Thirty-six.
In extremely limited cases, a student’s file can be reinstated if the Department and College Councils support his/her readmission request, with justification. The readmission is to be approved by the University Board based on the recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies with the following considerations:
- If the period between dismissal and the application for readmission exceeds six semesters, the student will be treated as a new applicant regardless of the number of credit hours he earned before.
- If the period between dismissal and the application for readmission is 6 semesters or less, the student may be asked to repeat some courses. These courses will be identified by the Department and College Councils and approved by the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies. The credit hours earned from the time of readmission will be counted in his GPA calculation. The previous period attended in the program by the student will be counted as part of his/her maximum residency period for the degree in question
Paragraph (5) of Article 26 may be exempted to give a student an additional attempt at graduating for one or two semesters (maximum) as per the recommendations of both the Department and College Councils and the approval of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
Paragraph (5) of Article 26 may be exempted to give a student an additional attempt at graduating not exceeding two semesters following the approval of the University Council based on the academic advisor’s report and the recommendations of the Department, College, and Deanship of Graduate Studies Councils.
A student can transfer from one recognized university to the University as per the recommendation of both the Department and College Councils and the approval of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies after consideration of the following:
- The student must satisfy the admission requirements and other departmental requirements as necessary.
- The student must not be dismissed, for any reason, from the university from which he is transferring.
- The number of credit hours earned will be calculated according to the following(a) Courses under consideration should not have been taken more than six semesters preceding the application.(a) Courses under consideration should not have been taken more than six semesters preceding the application.
- (a) Courses under consideration should not have been taken more than six semesters preceding the application.
- (b) The topics of the credit hours to be transferred must meet the current program requirements.
- (c) The percentage of the credit hours to be transferred must not be more than 30% of the new program requirements.
- (d) The grade of the transferred courses should not be less than Very Good (B).
- (e) The transferred credit hours will not be included in the GPA calculation.
- (f) The Department Council will recommend the transfer of credits, to be approved by the Councils of the College and the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
A student major can be changed at the University according to the recommendations of the Department and College Councils and the approval of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies taking the following into consideration:
- The student satisfies the admission and any other requirements deemed necessary by the Department.
- Credit hours earned at the University may be counted if the new Department approves its compatibility with the new program to be transferred to. These credits will be included in the GPA calculation.
- The student should not have been previously dismissed for any of the reasons indicated in Article Twenty-six.
- The period spent in the previous major will be considered part of the maximum residency period for the degree in question.
- Only one change of major is allowed during the maximum residency period for the degree in question.
System of Study
Studying for a postgraduate diploma includes field and applied courses and experimental work that satisfies the
- The residency period should not be less than of two semesters and not more than four semesters; and
- The number of credit hours should not be less than 24 hours and not more than 36 hours. The University Board determines the required courses for the diploma degree as well as the name of the diploma degree as per proposal of both the Department and College Councils concerned and the recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
Studying for a Master’s degree involves one of the following two approaches:
- Coursework and thesis with a minimum of 24 credit hours in addition to the thesis; and
- Coursework in some fields of an applied nature with a minimum of 42 credit hours of coursework including a graduation project that consists of a minimum of 3 credit hours. The plan for the Master’s degree may contain related graduate courses from other departments, whenever possible.
Studying for a Doctoral degree involves one of the following two approaches:
- Coursework and dissertation with a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours after the Master’s degree in addition to the dissertation.
- dissertation and some courses with a minimum of 12 specialized credit hours from the major, seminars, or research sessions as required, according to the student’s scientific background and field of study.
An academic year consists of two semesters, each semester having a minimum of 15 weeks, not including the
registration and examination periods, in addition to a summer session that consists of at least 8 weeks during which
the class periods for each course are doubled. The study program in some colleges can be based on an annual system
as per the rules and regulations approved by the University Board without violating the articles of these regulations.
- The maximum residency period for a Masters degree must not be less than four semesters and not more than eight semesters; without including the summer sessions.
- The residency period for a Doctoral Degree must not be less than six semesters and not more than ten semesters; the summer sessions are not included.
The maximum residency period for a degree starts from the registration for graduate courses up to the submission
date of a report from the student’s advisor with a copy of the thesis (or any other requirements to the student program) to the Department Chairman.
A graduate student must take at least 70% of the required credit hours in the University awarding the degree. All work
related to his thesis/dissertation must be completed in the same University.
A student cannot graduate until all the degree requirements are satisfied, with an overall grade of, at least, ‘very good’
System of Examinations
Conducting and grading graduate courses for Diploma, Masters, and Doctoral degrees should follow the undergraduate
studies and examination rules and regulations which were approved by the Higher Education Council in its second
meeting of 11/6/1416 H, with the exception of the following:
- A minimum of “Good” (C) grade is required for the student to pass a course.
- The Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies should set appropriate policies as per the Department Council’s recommendation and approval of the College Council with regard to alternative examinations and courses requiring a duration of study of more than one semester.
- Master’s students, if required by the program, and Doctoral students must pass a comprehensive oral and written examination after the completion of all the required coursework. This comprehensive examination should be conducted by a specialized committee according to regulations set by the University Board as per the recommendations of the Department Council and the approval of the College Council concerned and the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies. This examination should cover the student’s major field of study as well as the other related fields if exist. The student will be considered a candidate for the degree in question if he passes the examination at the first sitting. In the event of a failure in the examination or part of it, a second chance will be given to the student within the following two semesters. Failure to pass the examination a second time will incur dismissal from the program.
Preparation of Thesis/Dissertation and Supervision
On joining the program, each graduate student should be assigned an academic advisor. The advisor will guide and
help the student to choose the subject of the thesis/dissertation and research plan according to the regulations
approved by the University Board, as per recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
After passing all the admission requirements and completing at least 50% of the required courses, with a minimum
cumulative GPA of "B”, the graduate student should submit his/her thesis/dissertation proposal, if any, to the
department concerned. If the proposal is approved, the Department Council will assign either a thesis advisor and co-
advisor if required, or a thesis committee members and its chairman. Subsequently, this information should be
submitted to the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies for approval, as per the recommendations of the College Council.
Master’s thesis should reflect originality and involve a new contribution, and Doctoral dissertation should also reflect
originality and innovation, together with an effective contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the student’s
field of study.
Subjects of Master theses and Doctoral dissertations should be written in Arabic. Other languages can be used in
some majors with the approval of the University Board as per recommendations of the Department and College
Councils, and the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies. In such cases, an Arabic abstract must be included.
The thesis/dissertation advisors must be of professorial or associate professorial ranks who are faculty members of
the University. An assistant professor may be a Master’s thesis advisor if he has spent at least two years in the
University as an assistant professor and has at least two papers published or accepted for publication in his field of
specialty in refereed scientific journals.
The thesis/dissertation advisor may be a non-faculty member of the University with distinguished qualifications and
experience in scientific research. This requires the approval of the University Board, based on recommendations by
the Department Council concerned, the College Council, and the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
Based on the nature of the thesis/dissertation, a co-advisor can be assigned from other Departments in the University,
provided that the thesis/dissertation advisor is assigned from the Department awarding the degree.
A faculty member can be a thesis advisor or co-advisor for a maximum of four Master’s theses and/or Doctoral
dissertations simultaneously. The number can be raised to five following the recommendations of the Department
Council concerned and the approval of the College Council, and the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies. For
the purpose of calculating faculty members teaching load, the supervision of a thesis /dissertation will be counted as
one credit hour, whether the faculty member is the sole advisor or the major advisor.
If the advisor cannot continue supervising the thesis/dissertation or if his service to the University is discontinued, the
Department concerned should suggest a replacement, to be approved by the College Council concerned and the
Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
By the end of each semester, the advisor should report, in detail, to the Chairman of the Department concerned, about
the progress of the student’s work. A copy of the report should be sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Student completion of the thesis/dissertation must be reported by the advisor to the Chairman of the Department
concerned, in order to initiate the completion of the procedure determined by the Council of the Deanship of Graduate
Based on the academic advisor’s report, a lack of commitment by a student towards his studies and other academic
duties will result in an academic warning by the Department Council concerned. If, after two warnings, no
improvement is evident, the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies may dismiss the student as per the
recommendation of the Department Council.
The minimum period between the approval of the proposal by the Deanship of Graduate Studies and submission of the Master’s thesis to the Department concerned is two semesters. For the Doctoral dissertation, the minimum period is four semesters.
Based on the recommendations of the Department and College Councils concerned, a Defence Committee is formed by the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies.
The Master’s Thesis Defence Committee must fulfill the following requirements:
- It must comprise an odd number of members, chaired by the thesis advisor.
- The Committee must comprise of at least three members. The advisor and co-advisor if any should not constitute a majority in the Committee.
- The Committee members should meet the conditions of the thesis supervision.
- At least one member of the Committee must be a professor or an associate professor.
- Decisions of the Committee should be based on a majority vote of at least two-thirds of the total number of members.
The Doctoral Dissertation Defence Committee must fulfill the following requirements:
- It must comprise an odd number of members, not less than three, and chaired by the thesis advisor.
- The Committee members must be of professor or associate professor. The advisor and co-advisor (if any) should not constitute a majority in the committee.
- At least one member of the Committee must be of a professorial rank.
- One member of the Committee must be from outside the University.
- Decisions of the Committee should be based on a majority vote of at least two-thirds of the total number of members.
If, for any reason, the thesis/dissertation advisor cannot participate in the defence committee, due to his death or his
service to the University is discontinued, or his presence outside the country is a task for a long time, the Department
concerned should suggest a replacement who should be approved by the College Council and Council of the Deanship
of Graduate Studies.
A report is prepared and signed by all members of the Thesis/Dissertation Committee. The report must be submitted
to the Department Chairman concerned within one week of the date of the public defence. The report must include
one of the following recommendations:
- The thesis/dissertation is accepted and recommended for the award of the degree.
- The thesis/dissertation is accepted with some modifications, without a re-defence being necessary. A member of the committee is delegated to recommend awarding of the degree after ensuring that the required modifications are implemented within three months from the date of the first public defence. This period can be waived by the University Board.
- Further work is recommended on the thesis/dissertation, followed by a second defence within a certain period of time to be decided by the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies, based on the recommendations of the Department Council concerned. This period must not exceed one year from the date of the first defence.
- The thesis/dissertation is rejected.
Each committee member has the right to submit his own comments or reservations in a separate report both to the
Department Chairman concerned and the Dean of Graduate Studies, within two weeks of the date of the defence.
The Department Chairman concerned must submit the report of the Thesis/Dissertation Committee to the Dean of
Graduate Studies no later than three weeks after the date of the
The Dean of Graduate Studies must submit the recommendations to award the degree to the University Board for
A Master’s thesis advisor from outside the University will be given compensation of five thousand Saudi Riyals (SR
5,000.00). A Doctoral dissertation advisor from outside the University will be given compensation of seven thousand
five hundred Saudi Riyals (SR7,500.00).
A faculty member of the University to whom the thesis/dissertation is submitted receives one thousand Saudi Riyals
(SR1,000.00) for participation in a Master’s or Doctoral Defence Committee. An external member or a non-faculty
member from the University to whom the thesis/dissertation is submitted receives one thousand five hundred Saudi
Riyals (SR1,500.00) for participation in the Doctoral Defence Committee and one thousand Saudi Riyals (SR1,000.00)
for his participation in the Master’s Defence Committee. A committee member from outside the Kingdom receives two
thousand five hundred Saudi Riyals (SR2,500.00). If the Committee member is from outside the city in which the
University is located, whereby the thesis/dissertation is defended, he should be given a roundtrip air ticket form his
residence and rent of suitable accommodation and living for a maximum of two nights in addition to the honorarium
indicated above, whether the Committee member is from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or from outside. If the Committee member is blind or a female, the companion should be given air ticket and accommodation rent for a
maximum of two nights.
The University Board approves the regulations for the evaluation of the graduate studies programs as per the
recommendations of the Council of the Deanship of Graduate Studies. The results of the evaluation should be
submitted to the University Board.
At the end of each academic year, the Department Chairman should submit a report to the Dean of the College
concerned and the Dean of Graduate Studies regarding the progress of graduate studies in the Department.
Whatever is not explicitly stated in this document should follow the rules of the Council of Higher Education and
Universities and their implementing rules and regulations as practiced in the Kingdom.
This document will cancel all the previous graduate studies regulations in the Saudi Universities, and it will be
implemented from the first academic year following its approval date. The University Board may take the appropriate
action in cases where students joined a University under the old regulations.
A University Board may issue its own implementation rules regarding the progress of graduate studies without
contradicting the rules and regulations of this document.
The Council of Higher education and Universities has the right to interpret the regulations of this document.