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 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. 




Message from the Director of the PhD programs

Dear PhD applicant,

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

  • PhD in Science, Engineering and Technology (admissions only until year 2018)
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering (new)
  • PhD in Civil Engineering (new)
  • PhD in Computer Science (new)
  • PhD in Electrical Engineering (new)
  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering (new)
  • PhD in Robotics Engineering (new)

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 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.

Luis R. Rojas-Solórzano, Ph.D.

Director of PhD Studies in Science, Engineering and Technology

Chair of SEDS Graduate Committee

Associate Professor

School of Engineering and Digital Sciences

Tel: +7(7172) 709144



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 (one from academic source).

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. 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

To learn more about the School of Engineering and its programs please visit the web-site:

Online application for Ph.D. programs will be available from December 7, 2020, until April 30, 2021 (inclusive).
 The application package includes the following:

- every applicant must register on the official University website and complete an online application form in English;

- resume in English. It should not exceed one A4 page and should be incorporated into the on-line application form;
- a cover letter explaining the motivation to enroll on the certain PhD program. The choice of the discipline should be the same as indicated in the on-line application form. The cover letter should not exceed one A4 page;
- two confidential letters of reference in English (or with English translation) as indicated in the form available on the applicant’s personal page should be sent to One of the two recommendations should be from academic source. The second referee may be chosen at the applicant’s discretion. Reference letters should be sent from the official e-mail address indicated in the application form and/or hard copies (signed and stamped/on an official letterhead) should be provided in a sealed envelope to Graduate Admissions Department;
- copy (-ies) of Master’s degree diploma(s) and/or its equivalent with transcript(s) with notarized English translation.

*Applicants who obtained Master’s degree diploma and/or its equivalent with transcript(s) from foreign educational institutions must request hard copies of their official transcript(s) to be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Department;

- for applicants whose native language is not English as determined by the Admissions Committee, English language proficiency test reports (IELTS or TOEFL or CPE) valid as of the date of submission of application package. The PhD program has a mandatory level of English language proficiency equal to an IELTS overall grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests or a TOEFL score of 232 for Computer-Based Test (CBT), 575 for Paper-Based Test (PBT) and 90 for Internet-Based Test (IBT) or a CPE overall score of 45 and pass in all components;

*Applicants, who obtained university level degree in educational institutions with English as the language of instruction, are exempt from the provision of the English language proficiency test reports;
- applicants may submit a copy of GRE (general test) scores valid for the application period. However submission of the GRE certificate is not obligatory;
- copy of the applicant’s identity card or passport (with notarized English translation).