Online Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning

The Master of Science Degree Program in Personal Financial Planning is tailored for financial planners who are interested in expanding their knowledge beyond typical financial licensing and credentials. The curriculum is based on a client-centered, problem-solving method using case studies to give you a hands-on approach to the material.

Students accepted into the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning will select from two pathway options:

  • Traditional Pathway or
  • Client Psychology and Communication Pathway

The Traditional Pathway allows students to select from a variety of elective courses to fulfill the program’s elective requirements. The Client Psychology and Communication Pathway structures the elective courses to provide students with a more detailed understanding of behavioral finance, client psychology, and improved communication skills.

The Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning is a registered program with the United States CFP Board. Students who earn 15 credits in core coursework and 3 credits in advanced coursework (PFPL600) will satisfy the education requirements to sit for the CFP® Certification Exam. 


Program at a Glance

Flexible, Online Format

The MS-PFP program requires a total of 30 credit hours. It consists of 10 courses that are worth three credit-hours each. Eight of the courses are required while two of the courses are electives. 

 

Course content is delivered through an innovative online format to give you the flexibility to achieve your next education goals.


Sit for the CFP® Exam

As a CFP Board-approved master’s program in personal financial planning, our graduate degree fulfills the education requirements for CFP® certification.

 

To sit for the national CFP® certification examination, the first five courses of our 10 course program and the final case study must be completed. 

Stackable Credit

If you have already completed your required education for CFP® certification through the College, you may qualify for up to 15 hours of transfer credit toward the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program, which could put you halfway toward earning your master’s degree.

Graduates of certain professional designation programs offered through the College may also qualify for transfer credit.

 

Learn more about stackable credit that may apply.

Personal Financial Planning Program Details

Program Curriculum

The Master of Science degree program in Personal Financial Planning is tailored for financial planners who are interested in expanding their knowledge beyond typical financial licensing and credentials. The curriculum is based on a client-centered, problem-solving method using case studies to give you a hands-on approach to the material.

Students accepted into the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning will select from two pathway options:

  • Traditional Pathway or
  • Client Psychology and Communication Pathway

The Traditional Pathway allows students to select from a variety of elective courses to fulfill the program’s elective requirements. The Client Psychology and Communication Pathway structures the elective courses to provide students with a more detailed understanding of behavioral finance, client psychology, and improved communication skills.

Students accepted into the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning must earn 30 semester credits with a minimum 3.00 grade point average to graduate from the program. A maximum of 21 credits may be completed through Credit for Prior Learning, which includes transfer credit, articulated credit, and alternative credit. For more information about the College's Credit for Prior Learning opportunities, please review the College Catalog

To sit for the national CFP® certification examination, the first five courses of our 10 course program and the final case study must be completed. 

Course Sessions

We offer multiple start dates to give you flexibility as you pursue your Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning online.

  • Courses are 8 weeks long.
  • A minimum of 135 hours of study per course is recommended (approximately 17 hours per week).

Registration for classes opens approximately 5 weeks prior to class start dates.

Academic Calendar (2021-2022)


2021
Fall Term I
2021
Fall Term II
2022
Spring Term I
2022
Spring Term II
2022
Summer
Starts OnAug 16Oct 25Jan 10March 21June 6
(Term dates)(8/16/21 to 10/10/21)(10/25/21 to 12/19/21)(1/10/22 to 3/6/22) (3/21/22 to 5/15/22)(6/6/22 to 7/31/22)


Academic Calendar (2022-2023)


2022
Fall Term I
2022
Fall Term II
2023
Spring Term I
2023
Spring Term II
2023
Summer
Starts OnAug 15Oct 24Jan 9March 20June 5
(Term dates)(8/15/22 to 10/9/22)(10/24/22 to 12/18/22)(1/9/23 to 3/5/23)(3/20/23 to 5/14/23)(6/5/23 to 7/30/23)

 

Required Courses for the MS-PFP Program

The program consists of ten (10 courses) comprised of:

  • Eight (8) required courses and
  • Two (2) elective courses

The eight required courses include:

3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

This course introduces students to the process of financial planning, and insurance needs and planning. The course includes a case study that students study throughout the first 5 (core) courses. The course applies the financial planning process, the time value of money, cash flow and financing strategies, education planning, and the concepts of a variety of insurance needs.



3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

This course introduces students to the world of investments; stocks, bonds, and related instruments, their trading markets, factors, forces, and theories; and applies those concepts in a case study. This course also demonstrates the importance of investment risk, quantitative investment concepts, and measures of investment returns.


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The course begins with a fundamental overview of the individual income tax calculation process. The course then delves into investment vehicle taxation including life insurance, annuities, and other securities.  Tax reduction techniques such as charitable contributions are subsequently discussed.  Next the income tax implications of various types of businesses.  The self-employment tax is analyzed. Additionally, property acquisitions and dispositions are discussed in depth. Passive activity rules will be explored. Finally, several compliance and tax penalty issues are evaluated.


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

In this course, students analyze a wide range of issues facing individuals preparing for retirement. Through the course case study, students will learn how to create comprehensive retirement plans tailored to clients’ needs. Qualified ERISA plans, IRAs, non-qualified plans, and and Social Security retirement benefits will all be covered.


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

Basic estate planning concepts and techniques are covered in this course. Subjects include the estate planning process, client interaction about estate planning, basic legal estate planning documents, trusts, lifetime transfers, gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxation, life insurance planning, and charitable giving.
3 credits

Prerequisites: PFPL510 and PFPL540, or equivalent

Students will get the chance to apply their knowledge to a case study of a hypothetical couple seeking retirement in 15 to 20 years. Students will be expected to show how they would assist clients and help resolve their retirement issues. Research and writing skills are learned and used in the weekly assignments.

3 credits

Prerequisite: PFPL520

The course covers the theory of investment management, security valuation, and portfolio management, including the analysis of investment risk, return, and portfolio performance evaluation. There are two case studies analyzed, and investment policy statements are created for those hypothetical clients. Short-answer and calculations are required on the weekly assignments.
3 credits

Prerequisites: PFPL510, PFPL520, PFPL530, PFPL540, PFPL550, or equivalent

Students use their knowledge to analyze the situations, to create a financial plan for several hypothetical families in this course. A comprehensive Excel file is filled in and analyzed throughout the course (completed in the final week) and weekly short-answer assignments and quizzes are due weekly.

Elective Courses for the MS-PFP Program

The program consists of ten (10 courses) comprised of:

  • Eight (8) required courses and
  • Two (2) elective courses

For the Traditional Pathway, students choose from the following elective courses listed.

For the Client Psychology and Communication Pathway,

  • Elective 1 must be PFPL522 Behavioral Finance or earning the Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional℠ designation
  • Elective 2 must be PFPL650 Client Psychology and Communications

3 credits

Prerequisite(s): PFPL510 (or equivalent)

This course covers financial statement analysis starting with the origin of financial data and uses of financial reporting. Topical coverage includes revenue recognition, income determination with in-depth analysis of the income statement.  Coverage also includes applied financial statement investigation including cause-of-change, common-size, and trend analyses.

 


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

This course covers economic issues relevant to financial planners, including economic indicators, monetary and fiscal policies, economic growth, international trade, currency exchange, and investment decisions. Weekly assignments are largely short answers and one- to two-page essays. Calculations are required in some assignments (e.g., currency exchange).
3 credits

Prerequisites: None

This course covers the fundamentals of quantitative concepts and techniques including descriptive statistics, probability distributions, sampling, hypothesis testing, correlation analysis, linear regression, and time-series models. 
3 credits

Prerequisites: PFPL520 (or equivalent)

This course covers the advanced analysis of equity and debt securities including the valuation of common stock, preferred stock, and various types of fixed-income instruments. In regard to common stock, coverage includes valuation techniques including discounted cash flow analysis, price multiples, and the residual income model.  Bond features and characteristics including time-to-maturity, types of coupons, callability, conversion are covered. Relevant topics include investing strategies, duration, convexity and risks relevant to securities, including default, credit, interest rate and reinvestment risk. Additional coverage includes behavioral finance, technical analysis and the Efficient Market Hypothesis.
3 credits

Prerequisite(s): PFPL510 and PFPL520 (or equivalent)

This course examines the financial structure of corporations with an emphasis on understanding financial statements, time value of money, cash flows, working capital management, capital structure, financing decisions, cost of capital, capital budgeting techniques.
3 credits

Prerequisite: PFPL520

Students enrolled in this course are immersed in the world of behavioral finance. This is a fascinating look at real-world case studies of the psychology, experiences, and personal biases people possess surrounding money. Weekly assignments consist of short-answer and one- to two-page essays.
3 credits

Prerequisite: PFPL530

This course provides students with a strong background in the application of income tax concepts, calculations, and planning techniques specific to middle- and higher-income taxpayers. Short-answer questions on hypothetical situations are on the weekly assignments.
3 credits

Prerequisite: PFPL550

This course 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. Short-answer questions on hypothetical situations are on the weekly assignments.
3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ or CRPC® Professional Designation Program is taught by the College at the graduate level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements. 


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠ or CRPS® Professional Designation Program is taught by the College at the graduate level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements. 


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Accredited Wealth Management Advisor℠ or AWMA® or Sports and Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management Advisor℠ or SE-AWMA℠ Professional Designation Programs are taught by the College at the graduate level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements. 
3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor℠ or APMA® Professional Designation Program is taught by the College at the graduate level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements. 
3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional℠ or ABFP® Professional Designation Program is taught by the College at the graduate level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements.  
3 credits

Prerequisite(s): None

The Chartered SRI Counselor℠ or CSRIC® Professional Designation Program is taught by the College at the graduate-level. Students who complete the program earn 3 credits in graduate credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program to fulfill elective requirements. 


3 credits

Prerequisite(s): PFPL560 and PFPL570

The course covers a financial planning topic of the students’ choosing. Research and writing skills are learned in this course. Weekly critiques of writing are given, and students complete a 25- to 40-page research paper by the end of the class.

3 credits

Prerequisite(s): PFPL600 and either PFPL522 or ABFP®

Client Psychology and Communication will help students understand and apply the most up-to-date best practices on the qualitative side of financial planning, informed by current academic research. Building on the fields of psychology and behavioral finance, this course includes readings from foundational texts in client psychology and communication, written by the top scholars in financial planning academia. A case study integrates the readings and assignments. The course is both practical and educational.

Tuition and Fees

Application Fee: $35

Tuition: Tuition for each course in the program is $1,400.00 

For more information on the Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning fill out the form below

Application Process

  1. Submit a completed Graduate Degree Application with non-refundable application fee
  2. Order official transcripts directly from the college/university where the undergraduate degree was earned and have it sent directly to the Registrar’s Office. Transcripts submitted to the College from the student will not be accepted. 

College for Financial Planning
Attn: Office of the Registrar
9000 E. Nichols Ave Suite 200
Centennial, CO 80112
Registrar@cffp.edu

 

Please note:

If your native language is not English and/or your post-secondary education was completed from a school outside the U.S. you must demonstrate English language proficiency by achieving a minimum score (as defined below) on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT® exam or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
The College for Financial Planning code assigned by the test provider (ETS) for reporting TOEFL scores is 7126. You must identify the College using this code on the day the test is taken or submit a follow-up request. Score reports must be received by the College directly from the ETS test provider. For more information, visit the TOEFL test website at www.ets.org/toefl.

Exam Type: TOEFL iBT® Minimum Required Score: 85

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Applicants must identify the College on the day the test is taken or submit a follow-up request. Score reports must be received by the College directly from the test provider. For more information, visit the IELTS test website at www.ielts.org/.

Exam Type: IELTS Academic Minimum Required Score: 7.0
If you attended an institution outside the U.S. you are required to obtain a comprehensive equivalency report for educational purposes from an approved third party evaluation agency that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). A list of approved agencies may be found on the NACES website at www.NACES.org.

Evaluation reports must be received by the College directly from the evaluation agency. Student copies are not accepted. If you are petitioning for review of potential transfer credit, a course-by-course evaluation needs to be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office for review. If you are not petitioning for transfer credit a document-by-document evaluation is sufficient.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning

Graduate application status can be obtained by contacting the Registrar’s Office at registrar@cffp.edu or the Academic Advisor.

To apply for admission to the programs, you will need to:

  1. Complete and submit the application at https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/masters-program/application.
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Request official transcripts for prior learning from the college/university to be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office.
For additional details on program policies, please review the College Catalog at https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/resources/policies-procedures.

Unlike most other programs and courses, grades for the MS program are not solely based upon final examinations. Instead, students are graded on a variety of scheduled assignments, research projects, papers, group discussions, and examinations.

A complete listing of all graduate degree program grading policies may be found in the College Catalog.

Completing the Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning requires a total of 30 credit hours. It consists of 10 courses that are worth three credit-hours each. Eight of the courses are required while two of the courses are electives. 

There are five Master of Science Degree Program course sessions held each year. Classes begin roughly every 10 weeks. The classes last for eight weeks each, and there is a two-week break between classes.

Students currently enrolled in a program offered by the College for Financial Planning® - a Kaplan Company can view academic policies in our College Catalog.

The Master of Science Degree in Financial Planning is an accredited program by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Full details can be found on the HLC website. This degree program is also approved as an education requirement by the Certified Financial Planner (CFP)* board for those looking to sit for their CFP Certification.

*The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP), is a Washington, D.C.-based independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to benefit the public by granting, upholding and promoting the Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) certification.

Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning requires the following:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • The equivalent bachelor's and/or graduate degree from a foreign Institution*

A complete listing of all graduate degree requirements may be found in our College Catalog available here.

Applications for admission into the program are accepted on a rolling basis and can be completed online. The admissions committee meets twice a month. Applicants are reviewed once all documents are received.
The average time to complete the master of science degrees from College for Financial Planning is 2.5 years. (The time frame can vary based on prior learning credits awarded and full- or part-time status.)

The MPAS® is a unique designation available only to graduates of the College’s Master of Science Degree Program in Personal Financial Planning. It is ideal for individuals who are employed at firms that exclusively reimburse for designations and certifications. 

Upon graduation, students have 6 months to apply for the designation. There is no charge to initially obtain the designation; however, designees must complete renewal requirements every two years to maintain it. A detailed list of the requirements can be found on our designation renewal page.

Refunds are calculated for students in accordance with the refund policy. The full program policy can be found in our College Catalog.

There are multiple programs and courses that may be eligible for transfer credit into the Master of Science Degree Program in Personal Financial Planning:

  • Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional, ABFPSM
  • Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor,  APMA® 
  • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, AWMA®
  • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, CRPC® 
  • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, CRPS® 
  • Chartered SRI Counselor, CSRIC® 
  • College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company CFP® education program

For more information on transfer credit please view our College Catalog on our policies and forms page for details.

Interested in a Master of Science in Financial Analysis?

The College for Financial Planning®a Kaplan Company offers a Master of Science in Financial Analysis (MSFA) online program. Coursework is aligned to the the learning outcomes of the CFA Institute's CFA Program, helping concurrently prepared candidates for the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) exam. 

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