PhD programs in the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences at Nazarbayev University

The Nazarbayev University School of Engineering and Digital Sciences (SEDS) aims to be the leading engineering school in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The NU SEDS's goal is to prepare its graduates to meet the growing demand for professional practitioners in the fields of chemical & materials, mechanical & aerospace, civil & environmental and electronic & computer engineering. SEDS is the largest school by number of Nazarbayev University students enrolled.

Application periods for PhD programs:

  • for International applicants: December 12, 2022 – February 28, 2023
  •  for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan: December 12, 2022 – April 18, 2023

The final deadline for submission of IELTS/TOEFL, GRE/GMAT certificates:

  • for International applicants: March 15, 2023
  • for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan: May 3, 2023

    The start of orientation week (for newly enrolled students): August, 2023

    First day of classes: August, 2023

Message from the NU SEDS Director of Graduate Studies

Dear PhD applicant,

Thanks for your interest in our PhD programs in the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences at Nazarbayev University:

  • PhD in Chemical Engineering
  • PhD in Civil Engineering
  • PhD in Computer Science
  • PhD in Electrical Engineering
  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering
  • PhD in Robotics Engineering

Nazarbayev University is a growing research university 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 research grants from different funding sources, state-of-the-art lab/computer facilities, modern library and classrooms, supported by tremendously diligent and resourceful technical, administrative and managerial staff.

Our PhD Programs focus 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.

Visit the website of the affiliated department to PhD program of your interest and contact the Head of Department if you have questions about the program, admission or your research field of interest to help you completing the application forms.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

Matteo Rubagotti, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

School of Engineering and Digital Sciences


Entry requirements

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 minimum CGPA of 2.75 out of a 4.00.
4. English proficiency:
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) Candidates 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 GMAT or GRE test (recommended);
6. High motivation and strong interest in the Program as outlined in a statement of purpose.

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. An official electronic IELTS/TOEFL certificate (valid at the time of document submission) sent to the University through IELTS/TOEFL VERIFICATION SERVICES. Code for IELTS: Nazarbayev University. Code for TOEFL: 6762;
6. Document confirming English as the language of instruction (only for candidates who earned their degree in a program which was taught in English and request an exemption from submitting IELTS or TOEFL). Candidates should provide a detailed certificate/reference from the university indicating the number and list of subjects completed in English;
7. GRE or GMAT certificates valid as of date of online documents submission (recommended);
8. Statement of purpose outlining the candidate’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 12 months (including at least one academic reference (to be provided by referees electronically or in hard copy);
10. Resume (1 page);
12. Consent for Applicant’s personal data processing (according to the template in applicant’s personal account).

Important information
  • To provide IELTS/TOEFL certificates, applicants should fulfill the following requirements:
    1) To send an official electronic report of valid IELTS/TOEFL certificate via the Test administrator directly to Nazarbayev University;
    2) To upload the scanned copy of the certificate in section UPLOAD IELTS/TOEFL RESULTS in the Personal account and indicate TRF number for IELTS, registration number for TOEFL.
    Applicants can submit any number of certificates for the competition, but the last certificate uploaded to their Personal account will be considered.
    The IELTS/TOEFL certificates are valid for 2 years after the exam date.
  • Applicants who have already obtained a PhD degree covered by the “Bolashak” scholarship or the state scholarship of the Republic of Kazakhstan are not eligible for admission under the state educational order to the Nazarbayev University’s PhD degree program. The following applicants will be considered for admission only as self-paid students or under other scholarships.
  • Applicants who obtained their degree diplomas/certificates from foreign education institutions must request their official transcripts to be sent directly to the University: 010000, Nur-Sultan, Kabanbay Batyr Ave., 53, Nazarbayev University, Admissions Department.
  • 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.
  • The 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 an established period of time.
  • Standardized test reports shall be sent by the official test administrator directly to the University.
    GRE – 6496
    TOEFL – 6762
    GMAT – H6m-R7-93
    IELTS – Nazarbayev University

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