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Masters in Financial Planning Curriculum

Core Courses (18 Credits Required)

FP600 Professional Financial Planning Practice

Addresses complex issues involved in financial planning for individuals. Students learn financial planning strategies, research techniques, and methods of analysis. Topics include ethical responsibilities, economic considerations, risk management, quantitative methods, cash-flow analysis, and investment strategies. Covers risk management and insurance-related concepts and practices as well as the tools and techniques necessary to minimize dissipation that results from unforeseen circumstances, retirement and death. Students use the college's specialized information technology resources, such as the Trading Room and the Accounting Center for Electronic Learning and Business Measurement. Emphasizes teamwork and collaboration along with critical thinking and analysis. Written and oral presentations are important parts of the course.

FP601 Investments and Capital Accumulation

Explores tools and techniques central to personal investment planning. Students concentrate on developing the skills that guide financial planners in developing and monitoring client investment plans. Covers the investment decision process and its underlying concepts; financial markets; and the characteristics, analysis, valuation, taxation, and trading of various domestic and offshore investment alternatives. Introduces portfolio management and performance measures. In conducting relevant research and analysis, students use specialized information technology resources such as the college's Trading Room as well as public domain databases.

FP610 Benefits, Compensation and Retirement

Considers the current state of compensation, benefits and retirement planning. To gain a comprehensive understanding of these evolving topics, students examine the key types of benefits, compensation and retirement programs, including a complete survey of the rules that govern the principal areas of each program and the history of each. The course addresses the impact of these programs on both the employer and the employee. Explores which compensation and benefits plans are best, depending on an individual's financial position. Covers the basic rules of the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, and the effects of other areas such as securities, family and bankruptcy law.

FP620 Trusts, Gifts and Estates

Focuses on the planning, administration and taxation of trusts, gifts and estates. Covers the principles of trusts, including simple and complex trusts; irrevocable and charitable trusts; life insurance, annuities, and powers of appointment; gifting strategies and techniques; probate avoidance; wills and other legal vehicles of estate planning; tax minimization and asset protection; lifetime gifting; marital deduction planning; charitable gifting planning; the use of life insurance in estate planning; planning for generation-skipping transfers; advising elderly clients; postmortem planning; and the responsibilities of executors, administrators and trustees.

FP630 Financial Planning Process/Cases

Course examines analytical and methodological issues in the preparation and presentation of financial plans to individual clients and client families. Students are expected to utilize knowledge and skills obtained in pre-requisite and other courses, as well as from any work experiences, in the analysis, preparation, and presentation of a comprehensive personal financial case and other mini-case studies. Substantive topic areas utilized in plan development will include cash flow, income tax, insurance, investment, and estate planning, as well as quantitative skills and techniques.

TX601 Federal Taxation of Income

Studies federal tax law as it applies to individuals. Emphasizes the determination of gross income, deductions and credits as well as identity of the taxable person, tax accounting and timing principles. Introduces the tax treatment of individuals as owners of pass-through entities. Involves an in-depth analysis of the applicable tax statutes, regulations, rulings and leading court cases. Students gain an awareness of the history and tax policy considerations behind various Internal Revenue Code provisions.
All of the above courses plus FP710 Insurance and Wealth Preservation Planning Techniques are required to satisfy the education requirement to take the CFP exam.

Elective Courses - Four Courses (12 credit hours)

Electives may comprise other graduate courses in financial planning (FP) or taxation (TX), or in other disciplines at the 600 level or above, where appropriate prerequisites have been met. 

FP700 Investment Vehicles

Explores a variety of investment vehicles, including exchange-traded funds, exchange funds, variable annuities, variable life insurance, unit investment trusts and separately managed accounts. Builds on knowledge developed in FP 601 Investments and Capital Accumulation. Emphasizes mutual funds, including open-end vs. closed-end, index vs. actively managed, load vs. no-load, socially responsible, and international. Highlights the use of rating services to screen funds. Focuses on matching vehicles with client goals, risk management, portfolio realignment and tax efficiency. Students construct portfolios for hypothetical clients.

FP701 Portfolio Management

Addresses the management of a client's assets, building on the knowledge base developed in FP 601 Investments and Capital Accumulation. Topics include determining long-term "target" percentages, determining asset categories for the client portfolio, specifying allocation ranges, and selecting assets for each category. Examines the optimal asset allocation mix, which is one of the most critical aspects of investing. Provides the tools and techniques necessary to ensure diversification. Covers management of client expectations, portfolio design, strategy implementation, and report preparation. Emphasizes tax considerations, sensitivity analysis and portfolio simulations. Students use technology for making optimal portfolio decisions.

FP703 Marriage, Separation and Divorce

Covers marriage history and background, ante-nuptial agreements, and successive marriages. Explores the special concerns of support obligations, the battered wife problem, and criminal remedies. Topics include the legal disabilities of minors as well as the care, education and supervision of children. Examines financial planning cases to improve understanding of marriage breakdown, division of property, alimony and child support. Places special emphasis on the federal tax aspects of separation and divorce.

FP704 Financial Planning for Non-Traditional Families

Examines why some of the basic rules and assumptions for financial planning do not apply to non-traditional families, and develops alternative financial planning solutions. Topics include employee benefits, retirement and elder planning, income tax planning, asset ownership, and gift and estate planning. Students analyze a variety of non-traditional family scenarios.

FP705 Elder-Planning Techniques

Encompasses legal and financial planning for the aging or incapacitated client. Examines elder-law issues, challenges and planning strategies. Discusses Social Security disability, supplemental security income, railroad retirement programs, and veterans' benefits. Analyzes insurance and other means for funding long-term care either in a nursing home or at home. Explores Medicaid requirements and strategies for resource planning, as well as the tax implications of Medicaid planning. Discusses use of durable powers of attorney, guardianship, and health-care proxies. Examines relevant federal and state laws, such as the age discrimination in Employment Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987.

FP706 Psychology in Financial Planning

The course is designed to assist students in understanding issues related to the psychology of money and wealth to enhance their client interaction and management skills during the process of personal financial planning. It provides an understanding of the money beliefs and skills possessed by clients requesting financial planning or wealth advising; clarifies the nature of different subgroups of clients based upon class, gender, age, wealth history in the family, and medical and psychological characteristics; provides an overview of behavioral finance; teaches communication skills in the advising relationship; explains characteristics of the professional mental health field; and, explains how to access mental health, philanthropic, and other resources to assist clients' relationship with their personal wealth.

FP710 Insurance and Wealth Preservation Planning Techniques

Offers a comprehensive understanding of insurance, including risks to be insured, levels of insurance, best products available, and key policy provisions. Covers types of insurance that include workers' compensation, life, health, disability, personal liability, professional liability, and long-term care. Emphasizes protection and preservation of client assets, with additional focus on annuities, tax planning with life insurance, irrevocable life insurance trusts, estate liquidity and life insurance as an employee benefit. The course integrates case studies to bridge the gap between technical knowledge and a variety of real-world client situations.

FP781 Internship in Financial Planning Practice

Enables students to enhance their development and direction by integrating prior classroom study with the real-world experience of professional employment. Each student is required to prepare a research paper addressing a contemporary financial planning issue and a paper assessing the work experience, under the supervision of a faculty adviser.
Insurance and Wealth Preservation Planning Techniques is required to satisfy the education requirement to take the CFP exam.