FAU Profile: Academics

Classified as a “High Research Activity” university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, FAU provides opportunity and choice for its 28,000 students through more than 170 bachelor’s, master’s, specialist’s and doctoral degree programs. Currently, FAU awards nearly 6,000 degrees annually, more than 75 percent of those at the baccalaureate level.

For Fall 2009, average class size at the undergraduate level is 34 in lectures, 20 in labs and 32 in discussion sections. The student-to-faculty ratio for undergraduate classes is 18 to 1; 32 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students while 11 percent of classes have 50 or more students. Graduate-level lecture classes average 12 students.

A number of FAU’s academic programs have achieved national recognition. One that consistently stands out is ocean engineering, a field of study that was pioneered at FAU in 1965 with the establishment of the first such department in the country. Faculty and student researchers at FAU’s specialized SeaTech center, located in Dania Beach between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, conduct millions of dollars of research annually for the U.S. Navy on autonomous underwater vehicles and other security-related projects.

FAU’s School of Accounting, a unit of the College of Business, consistently ranks in the top 10 in the United States for its students’ high pass rate on the national CPA exam. Business Week has listed FAU’s online MBA among the best programs of its kind in the South and has ranked the University’s executive education program among the best in the country. Additionally, Success Magazine has included FAU’s entrepreneurship program in the top 50 nationally. For two years in a row, The Princeton Review has included FAU’s College of Business on its list of the “Best Business Schools” in America..

The University is organized into 10 colleges: the College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and the Graduate College.

Top 10 Undergraduate Degree
Programs by Enrollment
Elementary Education
Biological Sciences
Criminal Justice
Business Administration
Visual Art
Communication and Media Studies
Political Science


The College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs (CAUPA) serves the "urban mission" of FAU and consists of five academic units. The School of Architecture, the School of Public Administration and the School of Urban and Regional Planning are headquartered in the Florida Atlantic University/Broward College Higher Education Complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the School of Social Work are headquartered on the Boca Raton campus. CAUPA faculty are also housed at the Jupiter and Davie campuses. The Juvenile Justice Training Academy, the Visual Planning Technology Lab and the FAU Florida Institute of Government are among the college’s centers, institutes and labs. CAUPA has more than 2,200 students, 350 of them at the master’s or doctoral level.

The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, one of FAU’s largest colleges, offers 26 bachelor’s degree programs, 18 minors, 11 certificate programs and 22 graduate degree programs, including a Ph.D. in comparative studies. Creativity and critical thinking are the hallmarks of an education in the arts, humanities and social sciences at the college. A dedicated faculty of distinguished artists, scholars and researchers offers degree programs that combine the best of a traditional arts and liberal arts education with cutting-edge instruction in the emerging fields of the 21st century. More than 15,000 students have graduated to advanced study and careers in fields as diverse as law, archaeology, international business and journalism. In addition, study in the college’s programs has prepared these students to lead lives of greater aesthetic richness, civic purpose, resilience and reflection, multicultural sensitivity and personal challenge. In addition to its majors and minors, the college offers a range of interdisciplinary certificate programs and encourages students to add fields such as Ethnic Studies, Peace Studies and Caribbean and Latin American Studies to their transcripts. The college offers study-abroad programs in Italy, Ecuador, Ghana and a range of other locations, preparing its students to become sophisticated and adaptable citizens of the world. The college has nearly 4,500 students, more than 400 of them at the master’s or doctoral level.

The Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, created in 2006, is comprised of two departments. The Department of Clinical Science and Medical Education has become the administrative home for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at FAU. The Department of Basic Science offers the master's degree in biomedical science. The Ph.D. degree in integrative biology, which allows students to pursue interests across a number of fields, including marine science, biomedical science, biotechnology and biology, is offered collaboratively with the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science; courses are taught by faculty with appointments in both colleges. As clinical faculty are hired to teach in the four-year regional medical program, new opportunities are emerging to expand the college's strong foundation of basic science research into the clinical research arena. Establishment of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science has also positioned FAU to partner more effectively with entities such as Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute in biomedical research initiatives.

The College of Business, historically the University’s largest college, currently has an enrollment of about 8,000 — close to 30 percent of FAU’s entire student body. With core values of scholarship, creativity, academic service, leadership and ethics, the college seeks to have a powerful impact on the business community through nationally recognized academic excellence. The college offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including the Ph.D. in business administration and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) — the gold standard in business school accreditation — through the doctoral level. The college’s School of Finance, Insurance and Economics brings together major academic and professional components of the dynamic financial services industry, generating synergy among various sectors, including banking and finance, financial planning, stock brokerage, insurance and financial and economic analysis. The college seeks to develop a spirit of inquiry in its graduates and impart relevant techniques for solving problems in a global business environment. In doing so, it instills skills and knowledge that serve as a basis for change in a world in which change is the norm. Additionally, the college provides lifelong learning experiences through professional weekend programs and centers that focus on services marketing, technology, entrepreneurship and international business. The college’s research and services advance business knowledge by synthesizing ideas in creative ways, thus contributing to South Florida’s economic vitality and making the community a better place in which to live and work.

The College of Education serves the community of Florida Atlantic University by providing effective leadership in areas of research, service and teaching at the local, state, national and international levels, through the initial and advanced preparation of informed, capable, ethical and reflective decision-making professionals. The College of Education is the third largest college at FAU and elementary education is the number one FAU undergraduate major by enrollment. The college is one of the most diverse at FAU with 32 percent of its students representing ethnic minorities. More than 95 percent of employers report satisfaction with the performance of College of Education graduates. The college’s A.D. Henderson University School, Karen Slattery Early Childhood Center and Palm Pointe Educational Research School are laboratory schools that serve as sites for teachers-in-training to work with highly qualified master educators in a model school environment. FAU High School and the Pine Jog Environmental Center also provide teacher-training opportunities. In addition to classroom study, education majors can develop their skills through varied field experiences that allow them to learn through observation, clinical practicum placements, student teaching and innovative earn-and-learn programs such as those offered by the Florida Institute for the Advancement of Teaching (FIAT). The Exercise Science and Health Promotion program has provided students with internships in many work settings, including the Miami Dolphins, the St. Louis Cardinals, Motorola, hospitals, health clubs, community centers, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations and government agencies. The college has nearly 4,000 students, more than 1,000 of them at the master’s, specialist’s or doctoral level.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science began with the creation of an innovative and trendsetting ocean engineering program in 1965. The college has since expanded dramatically and is now known for its strong teaching and advising, the diversity of its student body, K-14 outreach programs, collaboration with business and industry, and the quality and quantity of its research. The college has recently developed an Innovation Leadership Honors Program for high-achieving incoming freshmen. A joint B.S./M.S. program allows students to complete both degrees in five years. The college also collaborates with the College of Business to offer a minor in business in all master’s degree programs in engineering. Undergraduate programs are accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. And, because of the tremendous impact engineers have on society, the college requires students in many disciplines to pursue studies in the social sciences and the humanities. An extensive research program funded by business, industry and government is a hallmark of the college, which hosts 13 specialized centers that provide focus for the college’s research activities. Currently under construction, the first building in the new College of Engineering and Computer Science complex on the Boca Raton campus will be a showcase and “living laboratory” for sustainable development. The college has an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students, 300 at the master’s or doctoral level.

The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, which opened in the fall of 1999, is the first public honors institution in the United States to be built from the ground up. Its intellectual foundation is a belief in liberal arts education as the best preparation for a full and productive life. Offering a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts and sciences, the Honors College program is designed to develop the qualities of a free and responsible citizen, one who can reason clearly, read critically and analytically, argue persuasively in speech and in writing, and contribute to society in fundamental and innovative ways. By providing broad intellectual training in the liberal arts and sciences and specialized study in an area of concentration, the college prepares its students for graduate and professional schools, such as law and medicine, as well as for careers in business, science, education and government. With one faculty for every 10 students, the college offers small classes, and learning is pursued in both formal and informal settings. Students have the opportunity to work on research projects one-on-one with outstanding faculty holding Ph.Ds. from leading universities. Student/faculty collaborations have resulted in publications in scholarly journals, and graduates have gone on to some of the top graduate and professional programs in the country. The college has 325 undergraduate students.

The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is dedicated to caring: advancing the science, studying its meaning, practicing the art and living it day-to-day. Through its excellent faculty and programs on the Boca Raton, Davie and Treasure Coast campuses, the college offers bachelor of science, master of science, doctor of nursing practice, doctor of philosophy and certificate programs to prepare nurses for practice, leadership and community service. The college offers three distinct pathways to the bachelor of science in nursing degree: a traditional two-year, upper-division program; an accelerated program (a one-year, full-time program for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline); and an RN-to-BSN program (a completion program designed for registered nursing students with a diploma or associate degree in nursing). The latter program can be completed entirely online. The college also offers a dual BS-MS program that allows RNs to earn both degrees in a shorter time than it would normally take and a BSN-Ph.D. program that allows students with a bachelor in nursing degree to complete a doctoral degree on an accelerated schedule. The Christine E. Lynn Center for Caring is a unique research center focused on humanizing care for the local, regional, national and international communities. The center is grounded in the caring philosophy of the college. The college has more than 1,200 students, one-quarter of them at the master’s or doctoral level.

The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science provides educational and research opportunities for more than 3,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students from around the world, through the departments of biological sciences, chemistry & biochemistry, geosciences, mathematical sciences, physics and psychology. The college offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in all areas of science. It has been a pioneer in the development of new, interdisciplinary programs, including a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology and Ph.D. programs in chemistry and integrative biology. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty in many areas, including bioinformatics, cancer research, cryptology/computer security, developmental systems, environmental sciences, geo-information science, hydrology and water resources, marine biology, natural products chemistry, neuroscience, medical imaging and space-time physics. The college offers a post-baccalaureate certificate program in pre-health professions for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field but have since decided to pursue a career in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. Students interested in marine science can spend a “Semester by the Sea” at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, FAU’s world-renowned research center. Physics majors can take classes via distance learning with the Los Alamos National Lab. Master’s and doctoral degrees are offered by all college departments.

The Graduate College, established in 2008, is the newest addition to FAU’s family of colleges. Through it, graduate students can access a host of resources, including thesis and dissertation guidelines, workshops, important deadline information and GradTalk , an informative online newsletter. As the Fall 2009 semester began, the University’s graduate student population stood at 4,149, an all-time high. Graduate credit hours were up by more than 8 percent. Since 2004-05, FAU’s doctoral student population has increased by 12 percent and the number of doctorates awarded has gone up by 51 percent.

FAU places high value on providing international education opportunities to both students and faculty. Through the Office of International Programs (OIP), students can study abroad, learn a new language overseas, engage in international service learning, join an international freshman learning community and conduct international research and specialized training in other countries. Programs are available around the world for summer periods, a single semester or an entire academic year. Each year hundreds of students take advantage of opportunities to study abroad. Popular destinations include Ecuador, Italy, France, Greece, Japan and Spain. Faculty can learn how to design and lead a study abroad program for FAU students, apply for funds to explore program development or locate resources to allow access to overseas universities for teaching and research activities. OIP invites faculty (funds permitting) to travel to overseas locations to help explore new program options and international partners.

In 1967, FAU was elected to membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). At that time, the SACS Commission on Higher Education granted full accreditation to all of the University’s programs. In accordance with SACS regulations, accreditation was reaffirmed in 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002. Work toward the 2012 re-accreditation is under way. FAU also holds membership in the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Council of Graduate Schools.

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