Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I take any of the Ph.D. courses prior to being admitted to the program?

    With the exception of the core courses and directed independent study courses, you can enroll in the other courses as a non-degree-seeking student, provided there is room and you obtain permission of instructor. If subsequently you are accepted into the program, you may request to have the credits for those courses used for program requirements, provided you have received a grade of B or higher. Final approval rests with the Ph.D. Executive Committee.

  2. How many credits may I take as a non-degree seeking student?

    Students who have taken courses in the Ph.D. program may petition to transfer up to nine credits towards the degree, with the approval of the Ph.D. Executive Committee.

  3. Can I transfer credits from another doctoral program?

    Students who are transferring into the program from other Ph.D. programs may petition to transfer up to 18 credits of work toward program requirements, with the approval of the Ph.D. Executive Committee.

  4. When do I have to apply for admission?

    The Ph.D. in Comparative Studies Program for the Cultures, Languages, and Literatures track only accepts applications for the Fall semester of each academic year. The deadline for Fall admission to the CLL Program is January 15th. Please note that this deadline differs from the FAU application deadline of July 1. Acceptance is limited to 15 students in each cohort. There are a limited number of teaching assistantships awarded; preference is given to students qualified or in training to teach undergraduate courses in the departments of English and Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature.

  5. What is the application procedure?

    The only way to apply to our graduate program is to apply online. Depending on your Internet connectivity speed, you should be able to complete the online application in 15-20 minutes. Download the FAU graduate application form:

    Since your application is handled by several offices before reaching the Ph.D. program office, it helps if you attach a cover letter indicating that you are applying to the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies. In this cover letter, you may wish to indicate

    1. what, if any, parts of your application are not yet complete (e.g., letters of reference)
    2. whether you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship
    3. any other relevant information

  6. How do I apply for a teaching assistantship, and what is involved if I am awarded one?

    In a cover letter (see #5) that accompanies your FAU graduate admissions application, indicate

    1. that you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship
    2. which language(s) you are proficient for teaching in (Graduate Teaching Assistantships are primarily available in English, French, Italian and Spanish.)

    If you are awarded a TA-ship, you must enroll as a full-time student (nine credit-hours per semester). You then are required to teach at least one undergraduate course in both the Fall and Spring semesters. The teaching assistanship includes a $15,000.00 stipend as well as a tuition waiver. However, you will be responsible for student fees.

  7. What if I do not meet either the GRE or GPA requirement?

    Please be aware that the GRE and a GPA average of 3.5 are minimum requirements — that is, these minimum requirements need to be met in order for your application to be considered for admission to the program.

  8. I took my GREs more than ten years ago. Are the scores still valid?

    GRE scores more than five years old will not be accepted.

  9. How long does it take to complete the program?

    It varies depending on whether you attend full- or part-time. If you attend full-time, it takes up to three years to complete the course requirements. The time it takes to write a dissertation is, of course, dependent upon each individual.

  10. When do I need to submit my Plan of Study?

    All Ph.D. students should have an approved Plan of Study on file with the Graduate College no later than halfway through their required course work and before enrolling in dissertation credits, if applicable. Ph.D. students will submit their Plans of Study electronically. For more details, please follow

    Note: Ph.D. students can now revise their approved plans of study online using the MY POS system. Please note that if you have an approved paper POS on file, you must use the paper revision form (Form 9) to modify your POS.

  11. How do I advance to candidacy?

    To be admitted to candidacy you must have

    1. completed the required coursework and degree requirements
    2. received approval of your Plan of Study by the Graduate College
    3. passed the appropriate comprehensive examination(s). Click here for guidelines
    4. submitted the appropriate forms:
      1. Advancement to Candidacy Form
      2. Compliance Verification Form (if applicable)

    These forms can be found at /graduate/currentstudents/graduateforms/index.php.

    Doctoral students can register for dissertation credits once they have been admitted to candidacy. However, it is not necessary to sign up for all 12 dissertation credits in one semester — you can take them over several semesters. The critical issue is that the first time you register for dissertation credits, you must have advanced to candidacy in the previous semester.

  12. Is there a language requirement for my degree?

    You must demonstrate working knowledge in a language other than English either by passing a written translation exam or by successfully completing (with a grade of B or better) a "reading for research" course at the graduate level, which does not count toward the required minimum of 54 credits for the Ph.D.

  13. Is there a graduate student association specific to the Ph.D. program?

    In addition to the FAU Graduate Student Association (GSA), which is concerned with promoting the well-being of all graduate and professional students at FAU, the graduate students in the Ph.D. program have formed their own student association, the Comparative Studies Student Association (CSSA). Although the goals may vary slightly from year to year, basically CSSA is concerned with

    1. the promotion of, and funding for, lectures and projects that are related to the Ph.D. students roles and interests
    2. the sponsoring of community activities for students and faculty

  14. When and how do I apply for graduation?

    A student must apply for a degree on the appropriate application form provided by the Office of the Registrar by the end of the third week of the semester in which they expect to graduate. This form is reviewed and signed by the Director of the Ph.D. program.

    The specific dates to apply for a degree during the academic year are as follows:

    1. For fall graduation, apply by early September
    2. For spring graduation, apply by mid to late January
    3. For summer graduation, apply by late May

    It is the student’s responsibility to meet all requirements for the degree. Be sure to review FAU's Application for a Degree page for the exact application deadlines for your given year and semester.

  15. Is there a continuous enrollment requirement?

    Graduate students are required to enroll for at least one credit during at least two semesters (Fall, Spring, or Summer) of every academic year in order to remain eligible for a graduate degree. See the Florida Atlantic University Graduate Catalog, Academic Policies section, for details.

  16. How do I find the proper format for my dissertation?

    A Requirements and Guidelines for Graduate Theses and Dissertations publication is available from the Office of Graduate Studies. These guidelines also are available on the graduate office’s website:

  17. When is the last day to submit my doctoral dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies and Admissions?

    Please see the academic calendars at

  18. A member on my dissertation committee has changed. What do I do?

    If a dissertation committee vacancy occurs or if, for legitimate reasons, the student wishes to change the composition of the committee, the student should discuss the changes with the committee chair. If the committee chair agrees, the changes are forwarded by submitting a Revision to Existing Plan of Study (Form 9).

  19. I need to take an incomplete in one of my courses. What is the procedure?

    Meet with the instructor in the course and request an incomplete. If the instructor concludes that your request is justified, he or she will complete a form that records the status of your current work in the course, the work necessary to remove the incomplete, and the deadline for completing that work. You must sign the form. Your instructor sends a signed copy of the form to the director of the program.

    It is critical that you and your instructor pay attention to the deadline date on the form. If a "change of grade" form is not submitted in a timely fashion after the deadline stated on the "removal of incomplete grade" form, then the incomplete grade is change to an "F" and subsequent paperwork has to be submitted to change the F grade.

  20. Are there any qualifying exams in this program?

    Students take the qualifying exam in their third year of study. The exam consists of a written and an oral component. The written portion is based on a reading list that includes, but is not limited to, course assignments, and will consist of a series of written essays. The successful completion of this written component will be followed by an oral exam within two weeks. Click here for more information.

  21. I plan on taking a Directed Independent Study (DIS). Do I need to notify the department?

    Yes. You need to consult with the Director of the Comparative Studies Program.  The faculty member and student will determine the specific title of study that will appear on the Transcript (up to 32 characters/spaces).

  22. What is the Advanced Research and Study course?

    This course is for students who have completed all the required courses, but have not been admitted to candidacy. It is intended to assist them in the preparation of their dissertation topic.

  23. Who ensures that I have completed all the degree requirements?

    It is the student’s responsibility to meet all the requirements for the degree. In order to assist you a Degree Requirements checklist has been developed by the Program to help the student monitor the courses that have been taken, and how many credits or courses are needed to complete the degree. In addition, the Graduate College has developed an online form that you may find useful. Both forms can be found using the links below:

    1. Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in Comparative Studies. Click here
    2. Plan of Study for the Doctoral Degree online form. To access the electronic MyPOS:
      1. Log in to your MyFAU account at
      2. Click on the Graduate College Tab in top row
      3. Click on your respective college in box at top left
      4. Follow the prompts