PhD Program in Science, Engineering and Technology_banner
Message from the Director of the PhD program

Dear PhD Applicant,

Thanks for your interest in our top-notch PhD program in Science, Engineering and Technology at Nazarbayev University.

Nazarbayev University is a growing research university conveniently located in the heart of Eurasia, with a strong commitment to deliver world-class education and research training to our local and international students.

Our internationally recognized faculty, partners and visiting fellows are fully accompanied by growing on-demand research funding, state-of-the-art lab/computer facilities, modern library and classrooms, supported by tremendously diligent and resourceful technical, administrative and managerial staff.

Our PhD Program is jointly supported by the School of Engineering and the School of Science and Technology, focusing on developing a new generation of globally competitive scientists, researchers and developers of new technologies.

With such a tremendous effort in bringing together the finest team, infrastructure and organization, we strive in inviting you, among the best students from Kazakhstan and around the world, to experience together the fantastic journey towards your doctoral degree in a world-class institution.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

Luis R. Rojas-Solórzano, Ph.D.

Director of PhD Studies in Science, Engineering and Technology

Associate Professor, School of Engineering

Tel: +7 7172 709144


Online registration for admission to the PhD program is available until 

April 1st, 2019.

  Outstanding support for postgraduate and early career researchers

Nazarbayev University stimulates, supports and sustains a vibrant research and intellectual environment across and between disciplines for postgraduate and early career researchers. Focusing on investment and development in training, resources and facilities, the PhD Program in Science, Engineering and Technology provides an outstanding quality experience for those in the early stages of their research careers.

 About the program

The PhD program is typically conducted over 48 months full time.

Each student will develop their personal and professional skills and their PhD program as part of the core curriculum courses. The program includes the possibility of taught courses (during the first three years) to support the development of postgraduate research students, to extend and test their knowledge in their research discipline. Each student will be required to formally defend their PhD proposal at the end of their first year. The program also progresses into a 36 month period dedicated to their research topic, from which a demonstrable original contribution to the knowledge pool will be assessed through a viva voce.

In total, the student would be expected to spend the first 42 months conducting research and the remaining 6 months to finalize the thesis before defending their research. Continuation into a 5th year is possible upon approval and may come with specific requisites and stipulations. The program includes the possibility of a mobility period in a host university abroad in order to provide the students with international experience.

The research visit must be fully justified and approved by the PhD Program Committee managing the PhD Program.

  On successful completion of the program, the PhD student will be able to (Learning Outcomes):
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the contemporary research literature in their field of study;
  • Critically evaluate all major types of research in their field of study;
  • Identify appropriate research topics in their field of study, and generate hypotheses about such topics;
  • Plan, conduct, analyse and communicate research in writing and verbal forms, independently;
  • Make an original contribution to the knowledge in their area of specialization;
  • Explain their research and research findings to others both orally and in written form;
  • Have a deep understanding of how their research relates to the broader field of knowledge in their discipline;
  • Have an understanding of how to disseminate their research findings and to develop their academic/scholarly career through presentations, publications, and national and international networking;
  • Teach in their discipline at university level in English.
Entry requirements

Applicants applying to the Program are expected to have:

1. An undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent)

2. A Master’s degree or equivalent

During the application period final year students may submit official current transcript for consideration.

3. A competitive CGPA in applicant’s Master’s (or equivalent) degree.

4. High level of English proficiency

The absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test reports for admission to the program is:

1) Overall IELTS test score of 6.5 (with sub-scores no less than 6.0) or the equivalent TOEFL score as posted on the ETS website;

2) Applicants, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, can be exempted from submitting the language proficiency test report if:

- one of their earlier academic degrees was earned in a country with English as the language of official communication, academic instruction and daily life;

- an undergraduate and/or graduate degree was earned in a program which was officially taught in English.

5. Strong reading, analytical, and mathematical skills as demonstrated by GRE test (recommended);

6. High motivation and strong interest in the Program as outlined in a statement of purpose;

7. Relevant research interest and knowledge of research subject as demonstrated in a written research proposal;

8. Resume;

9. Two letters of recommendation.

Application package checklist:

1. Complete Application form;

2. National ID (for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan) and passport (for international applicants);

3. Official document confirming name change (if applicable);

4. Degree diplomas (Bachelor’s and Master’s or equivalents) with transcripts;

During the application period final year students may upload official current transcript for consideration.

5. IELTS or TOEFL certificate valid as of date of online documents submission;

6. Document confirming English as the language of instruction (only for applicants who earned their degree in a program which was taught in English and request an exemption from submitting IELTS or TOEFL).

Applicants should provide a detailed certificate/reference from the university indicating the number and list of subjects completed in English.

7. GRE certificate valid as of date of online documents submission (recommended);

8. Statement of purpose outlining the applicant’s prior educational career, statement of his/her interest in the Program, his/her long-term career goals, and how the program would help him/her to achieve these goals (500 words);

9. Two confidential letters of recommendation written within the last two years (to be provided by referees electronically or in hard copy after receiving an email request);

10. Resume (1 page);

11. Research proposal outlining the research topic the applicant would like to pursue in the Program;

12. Consent for Applicant’s personal data processing (according to the template in applicant’s personal account).


All required documents indicated above (excluding letters of recommendation) must be uploaded by candidates to the Personal account before the indicated deadline.

All submitted documents shall be in English or with notarized English translation.

Submission of a complete application package does not guarantee admission to the Program.

Applicants recommended for admission must provide hard copies of all documents as requested by the Admissions Department within established period of time.

Applicants who obtained their degree diplomas/certificates from foreign education institutions must request their official transcripts to be sent directly to the University: 010000, Astana, Kabanbay Batyr Ave., 53, Nazarbayev University, Admissions Department.

Standardized test reports shall be sent by the official test administrator directly to the University.

Nazarbayev University  Institutional Codes: 

• GRE – 6496

• TOEFL – 6762

Contact us:


+7 (7172) 706423 ,

+7 (7172) 694536 (Program related questions)

Admissions call-center:
+7 (7172) 70 65 55


Find 2019-2020 PhD research topics at the PhD admissions page.

  NU Graduates shall: (Graduate Attributes)
  • Possess an in-depth and sophisticated understanding of their domain of study.
  • Be intellectually agile, curious, creative and open-minded.
  • Be thoughtful decision makers who know how to involve others.
  • Be entrepreneurial, self-propelling and able to create new opportunities.
  • Be fluent and nuanced communicators across languages and cultures.
  • Be cultured and tolerant citizens of the world.
  • Demonstrate high personal integrity.
  • Be prepared to take a leading role in the development of their country.
The typical curriculum for the PhD program is shown in the tables below (CLICK HERE):
  Current PhD Program Committee members:

Hortelano, Gonzalo 


Dept. of Biology

School of Science and Technology

Kostas, Kostantinos

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

School of Engineering

Lee, Woojin 


Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

School of Engineering

Marsili, Enrico

Associate Professor

Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering

School of Engineering

Obaidat, Mohammad


Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

School of Engineering

Rojas-Solórzano, Luis 

Associate Professor
Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

School of Engineering


Rubagotti, Matteo  

Associate professor
Dept. of Robotics and Mechatronics

School of Science and Technology