Summer Course 2019


Each summer, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) offers the opportunity to study marine science in the Red Sea. The 2019 program has recently ended. Please check back in early 2020 for specific information regarding the 2020 Red Sea Summer Program.

The program will expose students to several aspects of KAUST’s work with relevance to understanding the Red Sea, including genomics, ecology, biological oceanography, microbiology, and environmental science. The course includes fieldwork, labwork, lectures, and data workshops. The course will be taught be a group of KAUST faculty who have expertise in these fields, tentatively including Profs. Manuel Aranda, Burt Jones, Michael Berumen, Daniele Daffonchio, Ibrahim Hoteit, Takashi Gojobori, Salim Al Babali, Mark Tester, Ikram Blilou, and Peng Wang. Read more about these individuals ​here​. 

Each faculty member will present lectures giving an overview of their methods and some of their recent work employing these techniques. This will be followed by opportunities for hands-on experience with the techniques and associated data analysis, and, where relevant, sample collection in the field. Particular emphasis will be given to work done here in the Red Sea, an exciting and dynamic system with untapped scientific potential.  

Each of the broad themes (i.e., genomics, microbiology, ecology, biological oceanography, environmental science) will be represented throughout the course. The course intends to provide a fairly general introduction to each of these topics, although students will be exposed to cutting-edge current research carried out in these fields. Students will also be familiarized with the research facilities of the Red Sea Research Center and KAUST core labs, including the Biosciences Core Laboratory and the Coastal and Marine Resources Core Laboratory. Ship scheduling permitting, students will participate in a sampling trip aboard KAUST’s 35m (115’) research vessel, the R/V Thuwal.

Applicants are requested to indicate their primary field(s) of interest. During the 3-week course, there will be periodic sessions during which students will be split into smaller groups to have in-depth exposure to topics, equipment, and experts in their field of interest. 


Current undergraduate and Master’s students, as well as recent graduates from these levels, are eligible to apply. Our intention is to identify individuals with potential to become KAUST graduate students and to familiarize those individuals with KAUST facilities and faculty. (Therefore, current PhD students and postdocs are not eligible to apply.) The ideal candidate will have a strong background in core biological sciences, preferably also with at least one specialized course, such as ecology, zoology, genetics, oceanography, or marine biology. We plan to admit ~16 students for the course.


Successful applicants will receive full funding for travel, accommodation (private bedroom and bath in a shared residential suite), and a stipend for the three-week period of study at KAUST. There are no fees associated with the course. Housing will be provided on the KAUST campus and students will have full access to KAUST recreational facilities. Students will also tour Jeddah, including the historic old city, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and will visit the Jeddah fish market. 


Applications will require one letter of recommendation (preferably from a professor or other academic supervisor) to be fully considered. When completing the online application form, the applicant will need to provide the name and email address of the recommendation writer. The application system will then request that the recommendation writer upload the letter directly. To ensure confidentiality of the letter, we strongly prefer to receive the letter directly from the writer – not from the applicant. To avoid delays in letter submission, students are encouraged to submit their application materials in advance of the deadline and should confirm that their letter writer will be able to submit the letter by the deadline. 


For students seeking credit at their home institutions, KAUST will recommend 3 credits upon successful completion of the course. Note that it is up to the student to verify their home institution's requirements. KAUST cannot provide a transcript for the course, but will provide other documentation to assist. Please email us with any questions: 


To read more about the Red Sea Research Center, click HERE.