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Human Sciences - Family Financial Planning

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This is a GPIDEA online degree that is coordinated though Continuing & Distance Education.

What you will learn with your online degree

Through the Online Human Sciences – Family Financial Planning Master’s Degree, you will learn to communicate a financial plan with consumers and communities, recognize ethical standards for financial planners, demonstrate listening and counseling skills to help families with financial management and calculate the time value of money. You will also develop an understanding of the variable that impact personal finance, such as changes in demographics, life span, retirement and costs of education, which will allow you to become an invaluable partner in helping others plan for their future. Finish this program to gain eligibility to sit for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam*, increase networking opportunities and expand your job prospects.

Course requirements

The master's degree program (36 credits total) core courses include nine 3-credit courses, CA 612 - Financial Counseling, CA 621 - Financial Theory and Research ICA 660 - Investing for Family’s Future, CA 680 - Insurance Planning for Families, CA 704 - Estate Planning for Families, CA 725 - Family, Employment Benefits and Retirement Planning, CA 735 - Personal Income Taxation, CA 755 - Financial Planning Case Study, taken in any order with the Financial Planning Case Study, which is designed as a capstone for the program. The remaining nine credit-hours are supervised experiences or projects in family financial planning.

The three options for students are:

  1. Thesis - requires 6 credits of CA 798 Thesis, 3 credits of electives
  2. Research/Design Paper - requires 3 credits CA 788 Research Problems/Projects, 6 credits of electives
  3. Coursework only – 9 credits of the electives

Thesis and research problems students write their thesis or research paper and defend it orally with their supervisory committee.

Please visit the SDSU Online Catalog page for more details on required courses.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Family Financial Planning

The 18 credit-hour graduate certificate program in Family Financial Planning is designed for students who want graduate coursework that meets the educational requirement to sit for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam*, but who do not need a Master's degree.

Financial Counseling

Learn to help households manage their personal finances to best meet the needs for housing, debt recovery and long-term financial planning. Courses cover several key areas of financial planning, including insurance planning, financial readiness for military families, personal income taxation as well as housing and real-estate. In collaboration with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), students successfully completing the 18 credit-hour Financial Counseling (FC) Certificate program will be able to sit for the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) examination.

AFC Professionals: Have a thorough understanding in the particulars of debt, credit and governmental assistance programs. To be an AFC, you must complete 1,000 hours of experience in admissible financial counseling in order to enroll for the certification exam.

Career opportunities

As a graduate of the master’s program, you would have career opportunities at a wide range of organizations such as banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms. You would also have opportunity to work as a professional within employee benefits and pension departments or choose to establish your own practice. Financial planners are increasingly in demand as Americans seek advisers to help manage their income, assets and debts.

  • Financial Planning/Financial Management Consultant: Use your knowledge of investments, tax laws and insurance to recommend financial options to individuals in accordance with the individual's short-term and long-term financial goals. Some of the topics that you might help individuals navigate are retirement and estate planning, funding for college and general investment options.
  • Financial Analysts: Assess the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions with money to invest.
  • Insurance: Become an insurance agent and specialize in life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, or "multi-line" agent that sells all lines of insurance.

Admissions Requirements

GRE: Not required; TOEFL: required score of 525 paper-based, 710 Internet-based; IELTS:  6.05; Duolingo: 100


*Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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