Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning

This two-for-one field of study prepares you for the CFP® Certification Examination, then positions you for a master’s degree with a specialized focus. Your studies will emphasize the traditional areas of financial planning and then expand into specialized instruction.

This course of study is approved by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., and satisfies the core educational requirement for the CFP® Certification Examination.

For more information download our Graduate Program Policies and Procedures.

Why choose the College’s MS in Personal Financial Planning?SOT14_300dpi17

  • All course content is based upon real-world scenarios
  • A two-for-one approach to pursuing both a graduate degree and the CFP® Certification
  • Maximize your critical thinking skills with research-based coursework
  • Competitive pricing. You can earn a graduate degree for less than $15,000
  • The College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • Receive transfer credit from the CFP Certification Professional Education Program
  • Flexible curriculum that caters to your personal educational goals
  • Study on your own time from anywhere in the world
  • Learn from industry expert professors using text, video, and interactive forums
  • An opportunity to obtain the MPASSM designation upon completion of the program
  • Military Friendly

Required Courses:

COM500 Communication & Research Techniques

Credit Hours: 1 hrs

COM500 Communication & Research Techniques for Master’s Students

This one-credit course provides a basic introduction to Internet research, the APA Style and Publishing Manual, use of the College website, and the University Library.

PFP510 Financial Planning Process and Risk Management

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP510 Financial Planning Process and Risk Management

This course covers the financial planning process; legal, ethical, and regulatory issues affecting financial planners; time value of money concepts; and principles of insurance and risk management.

PFP511 Insurance

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP511 Insurance

This course applies the concepts of time value of money and principles of insurance and risk management to the financial planning process.

PFP512 Investment Planning

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP512 Investment Planning

This course covers a variety of investment vehicles that can be included in a client’s portfolio, as well as client assessment, tax considerations, economic factors, valuation methods, asset allocation techniques, and portfolio performance evaluation.

PFP513 Income Tax Planning

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP513 Income Tax Planning

Emphasizes the fundamentals of individual income taxation, the tax implication of various types of businesses, tax-advantaged investments, employee compensation issues and planning, alternative minimum tax, tax traps, and more.

PFP514 Retirement Planning

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP514 Retirement Planning

This course examines major retirement-related issues, including retirement savings needs analysis, IRAs, qualified retirement plans for large and small employers, Social Security retirement programs, and nonqualified deferred compensation. You will compare and contrast a variety of retirement programs by designing a comparison table. You will also write a paper on retirement plan administration issues, and apply your learning as you prepare a proposal for a hypothetical client as a term project.

PFP515 Estate Planning (Part I)

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP515 Estate Planning (Part I)

This course introduces the student to the process of developing an estate plan. Topics covered include federal estate and gift taxation, techniques that reduce the size of the gross estate, wills, intestacy, probate, trusts, and more.

PFP516 Estate Planning (Part II)

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP516 Estate Planning (Part II)

This course builds on the estate planning process concepts introduced in PFP515. Topics covered include federal estate and gift taxation, techniques that reduce the size of the gross estate, wills, intestacy, probate, trusts, and more.

PFP550 Portfolio Management for Personal Financial Planners

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP550 Portfolio Management for Personal Financial Planners

The investment planning process between a financial planner and a client is covered in detail. The course covers the theory of investment management, security valuation, and portfolio management, including the analysis of risk and return and portfolio performance evaluation. The course exposes you to a balanced presentation of both the theoretical and practical aspects of investment management through analysis of a case study in personal investment management.

PFP570 Pre-retirement Financial Planning Topics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP570 Pre-retirement Financial Planning Topics

You will use a hypothetical couple planning to retire in 15 years. In designing their retirement plan, you will analyze a wide range of issues facing individuals who are preparing for retirement. This course also presents a variety of methods for approaching the issues to better assist clients in resolving the issues that may be faced when preparing for or after retirement.

(After completing PFP 510 – PFP516, you are eligible for CFPE506, and can then sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.) *Requirements may vary based on transfer credits.

If you currently hold the CFP® certification or one of the College’s graduate-level professional designations such as the AWMA® or CRPC®, you could be eligible for up to 15 hours of transfer credit. Contact us for complete details.

 

Custom Track Options of Study:

Once you have completed the core required classes the Master of Science Degree Program in Personal Financial Planning provides you with the ability to choose a focus that works with your own personal interests and needs.

Total Credit Hours: 36 hrs

Capstone Course

The Capstone Course for the Master of Science Degree, Personal Financial Planning Major combines everything that you have learned into a single comprehensive case study.

PFP650 Personal Financial Planning: Integrated Case Study (5hrs)

Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate an assigned case study addressing retirement, investment, tax, and estate planning issues. Your five-credit case study course must be completed within 16 weeks from the official start date of the course.

PFP560 Tax Planning for the Highly Compensated (3hrs)

Provides you with a strong background in tax research and planning techniques specific to upper-income taxpayers. The course discusses various methods of compensation planning with a goal of minimizing or deferring taxation. Potential investments and their tax impact on the highly compensated individual are also explored.

Total Credit Hours: 36 hrs

Thesis Course

Thesis: PFP651 Financial Research Thesis (5hrs)

This course is for the candidate who has successfully completed the coursework for the Master of Science Degree, Personal Financial Planning.

The candidate proposes a thesis topic to the faculty committee for approval. The candidate develops a thesis on the approved topic that incorporates applied and supportive research for defending the thesis conclusion, or the candidate develops the approved argument for defense based on comprehensive literature research.

Choice of 1 Elective Course – (total of 3 hours)

Total Credit Hours: 43 hrs

Choice of 5 Elective Courses – (total of 15 hours)

Choose from elective choices listed below.

Elective Choices:

ACC510 Financial Statement Analysis

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ACC510 Financial Statement Analysis

This course introduces accounting tools applied in fundamental investment analysis. You will be introduced to financial statement analysis covering accrual accounting, cash flow analysis, financial ratios, earnings per share, asset and liabilities analysis, and accounting disclosure.

ETH550 Business Ethics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ETH550 Business Ethics

This course is designed to explore the ethical dimension in the current global business environment; study and apply the major normative ethical theories to business situations; understand the relevance of stakeholders to business decisions; improve ethical and moral decision-making processes; analyze case studies that present ethical business dilemmas; understand moral, amoral, and immoral decisions in business situations; and encourage ethical behavior and professionalism in all activities.

ECO510 Money & Banking

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ECO510 Money & Banking

This course uses advanced economic theories and principles to explain the structures of financial markets, financial institution management, and the role of interest rates and money in the economy.

ECO550 Managerial Economics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ECO550 Managerial Economics

This is an advanced course in microeconomics. Topics include behavioral economics, market structure, optimization, game theory, production and cost, pricing, demand analysis, creating and capturing value, and incentive conflicts and contracts.

ECO551 Global Economics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ECO551 Global Economics

This course presents economic theory in a global environment. Topics include contemporary global economic issues, trade and income distribution, regional economic integration, the international monetary system, the exchange rate system, and the global balance of payments equilibrium and disequilibrium.

PFP552 Alternative Investments

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP552 Alternative Investments

This course takes a comprehensive look at various techniques and alternative investment designed to provide portfolio diversification, and their effectiveness. Alpha and beta drivers, real estate, hedge funds, commodities, private equity, and derivatives are covered. The course also analyzes the historical growth patterns and valuation models utilized in both domestic and global alternative investment markets.

PFP554 Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Money

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP554 Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Money

This course explores behavioral finance and its impact on creating portfolios. Various biases are explored, and then applied to real-world case studies. Also explored is the psychology of money, which looks at how individuals think of money, and how past experiences can impact how they view and handle money on a day to day basis – this includes exploring money scripts and money disorders.

PFP560 Tax Planning for the Highly Compensated

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP560 Tax Planning for the Highly Compensated

Provides you with a strong background in tax research and planning techniques specific to upper-income taxpayers. The course discusses various methods of compensation planning with a goal of minimizing or deferring taxation. Potential investments and their tax impact on the highly compensated individual are also explored.

PFP574 401(k) & Other Salary Deferral Retirement Plan Topics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP574 401(k) & Other Salary Deferral Retirement Plan Topics

Provides an understanding of most of the important characteristics of cash or deferred arrangement (CODA) retirement plans, particularly 401(k) plans. It covers funding of CODAs, profit sharing, and hybrid plans; plan design, installation, administration, and operation; investment objectives; fiduciary issues; and prohibited transactions. Case analyses are used to simulate actual situations. You are required to research questions involving tax-deferred retirement plans.

PFP580 Issues & Cases in Estate Planning

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP580 Issues & Cases in Estate Planning

Examines selected issues related to estate planning in a case study-driven format. These include both tax and non-tax aspects of planning for disability and death.

PFP581 Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP581 Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits

This course focuses on estate planning for retirement distributions from qualified plans and IRAs, while providing you with essential information regarding tax and other laws that govern retirement benefits and distributions. Among other things, the use of employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRAs, trusts, and charitable gifts to achieve client goals are covered. Also discussed are many important financial planning techniques used to help clients build a financially secure retirement.

PFP590 Women & Financial Planning

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

PFP590 Women & Financial Planning

Covers the unique financial issues facing women today. You will learn to apply each aspect of the financial planning process to women and their particular needs. The goal of this course is to provide basic tools and concepts for individuals practicing in the field of personal financial planning, of which women comprise a portion of their client base.

FIN511 Global Finance

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN511 Global Finance

This course uses advanced economic theory to explain the workings of the global monetary system and financial markets and institutions.

FIN520 Quantitative Analysis

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN520 Quantitative Analysis

The course covers fundamental statistics and the time value concepts related to investment analysis. Topics include compounding/discounting, investment returns, cost of capital, capital budgeting techniques, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, basic probability concepts, linear regression, correlation, and hypothesis testing.

FIN521 Economics & Derivatives

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN521 Economics & Derivatives

The first half of the course introduces you to demand and supply, aggregate demand and aggregate supply, gross domestic product, fiscal and monetary policy, the banking system, consumer choice and indifference curves, cost of production, pure competition, monopoly, monopolistic completion, oligopoly, and the demand and supply of productive resources.

The second half looks at derivative markets, derivative pricing, and derivative trading and hedging strategies. The course looks at derivative pricing using Black-Scholes option pricing model, binary option pricing model, and cost-of-carry futures pricing. Derivative strategies include covered calls, protective spreads, and portfolio insurance.

FIN525 Equity Valuation

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN525 Equity Valuation

An introduction to the valuation of equity investments. Topics cover applying the capital asset pricing model and estimating required return and beta for investments. Various methods of valuation including the dividend discount, free cash flow, residual income, and market based models are covered, as well as private company and startup valuation.

FIN552 Corporate Finance

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN552 Corporate Finance

This course covers the principles of corporate finance. Topics include corporate governance, capital budgeting, cost of capital, cash management, financial statement analysis, and mergers and acquisitions.

FIN560 Public Finance

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

FIN560 Public Finance

This course utilizes advanced economic theories to examine and explain the effects of government programs and policies on the national economy.

ECO610 Advanced Macroeconomics

Credit Hours: 3 hrs

ECO610 Advanced Macroeconomics

This course uses advanced economic theories to explain various schools of economic thought including the Classical and Neo Classical, Keynesian and Neo Keynesian, and Monetarist schools. Also covered are advanced models of interest rate determination, aggregate demand and aggregate supply, inflation and unemployment, and monetary and fiscal policies.

Program Delivery and Structure

The Master of Science program is delivered via a state-of-the-art asynchronous learning platform. This means that you can pursue your degree from anywhere in the world and study when it’s convenient for you. Your studies will revolve around real-world scenarios and cases with a focus on research and critical thinking skills.

This interactive demo covers the features of our exclusive online learning platform.

Classes are held five times per year with sessions beginning every January, March, May, August, and October. Each course is eight weeks with a two-week break between classes.

Pricing

Application Fee

$80

1 Credit Hour Course

$400

3 Credit Hour Courses

$1200

5 Credit Hour Course

$2000

Student Loans are available

The curriculum is based on a client-centered, problem-solving method using case studies to give you a hands-on approach to the material. The College’s highly qualified faculty is available via telephone or e-mail to support you in your studies.

Masters Program Start Dates

  • Tue
    21
    Oct
    2014
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    15
    Dec
    2014

    Graduate & Certificate Programs Session

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  • Tue
    06
    Jan
    2015
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    02
    Mar
    2015

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  • Tue
    17
    Mar
    2015
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    11
    May
    2015

    Graduate & Certificate Programs Session

    College for Financial Planning
  • Tue
    26
    May
    2015
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    20
    Jul
    2015

    Graduate & Certificate Programs Session

    College for Financial Planning
  • Tue
    04
    Aug
    2015
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    28
    Sep
    2015

    Graduate & Certificate Programs Session

    College for Financial Planning