The family caregiving certificate program prepares health care professionals to integrate and best support families as part of the health care team.

Innovative course series prepares the next generation of health care providers

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing offers the Family Caregiving Graduate Academic Unit Certificate Program (FCG-GAUC). The Graduate Academic Unit Certificate Program in Family Caregiving educates health care professionals to conduct a comprehensive assessment and integrate family caregivers into the health care team to ensure family caregivers are supported and prepared to fulfill their role over the caregiving trajectory. By providing students with the knowledge and application of best practices in the research, leadership and clinical environments students are able to effect change and lead the paradigm shift from person-centered care to family-centered care.

Who can apply?

  • Current students in the Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program
  • Current students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner Degree Program. Students in this program are required to complete an elective course series and the school provides information about the application process.
  • University of California graduate students who have an interest in family caregiving and integration of family into the health are team may also apply and are admitted on a space-available basis, with consent of the program chair.
  • Professional students from health care related disciplines
  • Postdoctoral scholars from health care related disciplines
  • Health care providers from other agencies

Admissions into the Family Caregiving Graduate Academic Unit Certificate Program is competitive and not all applicants are guaranteed admissions. Students may be placed on a waitlist to fill any space-available spots.

Qualifications to apply

Criteria used to determine admission of students (aaplies to all applicants except D.N.P.-F.N.P. students):

  • Current graduate student in the doctoral programs at the school 
  • Good academic standing (at least 3.0 GPA)
  • Successful completion of at least one quarter of graduate education
  • Or consent of the program chair

What will I gain from this experience?

Health care professionals who effectively interact with family caregivers are in high demand. The Family Caregiving Institute’s vision is to shift the health care system, where activities of hospitals and clinics occur in isolation and often ignore or exclude the family, to a system that recognizes the vital role families play in health care delivery and partners effectively to provide community resources that assure quality care across the continuum. A Graduate Academic Unit Certificate (GAUC) is a mechanism that can be utilized to provide potential faculty with the experience and education required by the California Board of Registered Nursing and better prepare future family caregivers.

Upon completion of the FCG-GAUC, students are positioned to address the needs of diverse family caregivers. Supporting the family caregiver as an integral part of the health care team bolsters preparedness and confidence for individuals who are high risk for worsening mental and physical well-being, both the caregiver and care recipient. Fundamentally, supporting family caregivers develops better stewards of the health care dollars as it has been shown to reduce expensive and unnecessary hospitalizations and long-term care. The students possess the knowledge to make systems change through leadership and research.

UC Davis graduate students who complete the FCG-GAUC receive the following benefits:

  • Notation on the official UC Davis transcript of completion of the Family Caregiving Graduate Academic Unit Certification
  • Family Caregiving Graduate Academic Unit Certificate from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis

Application process

Students in the D.N.P.-F.N.P. program are not required to complete an application. Instead, the student services team contacts students directly with enrollment instructions. All other interested students must complete an internal application and submit it via email to Download the application (PDF) » Students are strongly encouraged to apply prior to enrolling in any of the FCG-GAUC courses but are eligible for admission to the FCG-GAUC program up to and including completion of the second course in the series. All applicants are notified via email within eight weeks of applying for the certificate program.

Application deadline

Applications must be submitted by Sept. 1 for consideration in the first round of application review. After Sept. 1, applicants are reviewed and admitted on a space-available basis.

Certificate requirements

The series of courses for the FCG-GAUC begins each fall and total three quarters in length. In the event of programmatic changes, the order of courses is adjusted to align with program start dates. All courses are offered by the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group. FCG-GAUC students are able to enroll in all the necessary courses.

Students electing to complete the FCG-GAUC complete the three courses in addition to courses required for the graduate program in which they are enrolled.

The Graduate Academic Unit Certificate Program in Family Caregiving requires a minimum of 12 units as described below. This includes 12 didactic units. Students may take the FCG-GAUC courses as electives.

Students who enroll in the FCG-GAUC are required to complete the NRS 306, 307 and 308 course series in order, beginning in fall quarter and finishing in spring quarter.

The FCG-GAUC courses include

NRS 306: Nature of Family Caregiving

4-unit didactic course

Course description: This course explores theoretical and conceptual frameworks to enable clinicians to understand the complex nature of family caregiving. Students examine and apply frameworks to conduct comprehensive person and family-based assessments and interventions incorporating the multiple aspects of family caregiving.

NRS 307: Family Centered Communication and Shared Decision-Making

4-unit didactic course

Course description: This course incorporates the principles of shared decision-making and group communication to address family integrated care planning and challenging clinical discussions. It focuses on competencies needed by health professionals to partner effectively with care recipients and family caregivers to enhance the family caregiving experience and reduce or eliminate negative sequelae over the course of the caregiving trajectory.

NRS 308: Comprehensive Care Plan Development

4-unit didactic course

Course description: This course synthesizes assessment data and an understanding of how technology and individual, family, sociocultural, health care system and illness-related variables impact specific family caregiving situations. Students incorporate this synthesis with the shared decision-making process integrating family to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based plan of care to facilitate the health and well-being of family caregivers and their family members.


Interested students should contact the school at with any additional questions.