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Curriculum Planning

The curriculum for PhD full-time students is pre-set except for cognate courses. It requires a minimum of 9 credits during fall and spring semesters, and a minimum of 6 credits in summer sessions. Part-time students need to work closely with the PhD Coordinator to map out the total plan for accomplishing the curriculum within the usual 5 year period (and not more than 10 years without special permission from the university). Part-time students take fewer credits than the requisite minimum for full-time study during regular and summer semesters. Prerequisite requirements for courses need to be carefully noted in planning the curriculum for any student. Part-time students who were admitted prior to Fall, 2019 should make an appointment with PhD Advisor Gerardo Guzman to review their plan of study during the fall, 2019 semester.

All degree-seeking graduate students at Florida Atlantic University are required to have an approved Plan of Study on file with the Graduate College. The Plan of Study should be submitted by the end of the second semester of study. All College of Nursing graduate students submit their Plan of Study electronically through MyFAU. The guidelines for completing and submitting the electronic Plan of Study, and other Graduate College forms can be found at: . All students receive written confirmation by email when their Plan of Study is approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. Students should work with the PhD Program Coordinator to complete the electronic Plan of Study.


Students consult with their faculty mentor in choosing the cognates for study. Cognates must be directly related to dissertation research and be taken outside the discipline of Nursing. However, a maximum of 3 cognate credits can be taken in Nursing. Cognates must be at the graduate level. Cognates may be transferred from other institutions if appropriate and approved by the student’s faculty mentor. These courses are transferred according to FAU’s policy stated in the University Catalog, under Academic Policies and Regulations.

Time Limits for Completing the Doctoral Degree

No credit that is more than ten years old at the time the Florida Atlantic University graduate degree is awarded may be counted toward that degree.

Audit a Course

Written faculty permission is needed to audit a course and students must have paid in-state rates for the course. The course will appear on the transcript with a grade of AU. The state employee scholarship (no longer a waiver, but real money) is for employees who are taking courses for credit, and therefore, would not be available to those who are auditing.

Transfer Credits

Students may have taken courses at another university that they wish to transfer to substitute for courses in the curriculum provided the course was not used to apply to another degree. Applying transfer courses towards FAU degree requirements must be discussed with the PhD Program Director and PhD Coordinator. In some instances, PhD Committee approval may be required. The Graduate College has oversight over all transfer credits for graduate degree programs at FAU. Doctoral programs may accept a maximum of 36 credits earned elsewhere in an approved graduate program. A maximum of 6 graduate credits earned from another institution in a non-degree seeking status may be transferred. The Graduate College reserves the right to request a professional evaluation of credits transferred from universities outside the U.S.

Acceptance of transfer credits for a course is dependent upon the following provisions.

  1. The student received a grade of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale in the course to be transferred.
  2. The course was taken at a regionally accredited institution.
  3. The course is relevant to the graduate program in which the student is accepted, as judged by the PhD Program Director, in consultation with the PhD Faculty committee.
  4. The course is listed on the official transcript received by the Graduate College.
  5. The course was completed within six years preceding admission to the program.