Mar 26, 2023  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Planning, MS

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Program Information

The Master of Science in Financial Planning is designed for students who aspire to become financial planners, investment advisers or money managers, or who may be interested in one of the many elements - estate planning, insurance, taxes, real estate, for example - of this broad and rapidly growing field. Golden Gate offers the oldest accredited Master of Science in Financial Planning degree in the country, having offered our first courses in 1980.

At the heart of this degree is a core of courses that examine the key functions of financial planning: financial planning principles, income tax planning, risk management, estate planning, investments, employee benefits and retirement planning. Not only do these courses provide the academic foundation of the discipline, they also satisfy the educational requirements necessary for the premier Certified Financial Planner™ designation; thus, students can prepare to sit for the CFP® exam while they are earning an advanced academic degree in financial planning.*

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MS in financial planning degree program will possess the following knowledge, skills, abilities, and values:

  • The quantitative, analytical, and technical skills needed to address complex financial situations
  • An appreciation of the role played by the emotional and psychological dimensions of the financial planning process, and the ability to integrate those elements into a comprehensive financial plan
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to maintain successful client relationships and to work effectively with colleagues, individually or in teams
  • The skills and knowledge of financial planning that are represented in the full range of topics covered by the CFP® examination
  • The ability to apply their knowledge to real-world problems in financial planning
  • Knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment in which financial planning occurs and familiarity with relevant licensing, reporting, and compliance requirements
  • The ability to recognize the ethical dilemmas that may arise in financial planning practice, and familiarity with appropriate responses to those dilemmas

Requirements for the Master of Science in Financial Planning

The Master of Science in Financial Planning degree requires completion of 30 units of advanced program coursework, with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 “B” or better in courses taken at Golden Gate. Courses carry three semester units of credit unless otherwise noted. All course prerequisites must be satisfied prior to enrolling in a given course; prerequisites are indicated in the section “Course Descriptions.”

Business Proficiency Requirement

Students admitted to this program are required to possess an understanding of U.S. business practices equivalent to BUS 201 . This requirement must be completed in your first term, and you must have completed this requirement no later than your first nine units at GGU. A grade of “C-” or better is required for BUS 201 . However, graduate students must maintain a 3.00 “B” cumulative grade point average to remain in good standing.

Computer Proficiency Requirement

Applicants are expected to have access to current levels of computing, including the internet, and to demonstrate a working familiarity with computers and software applications appropriate for graduate studies. Deficiencies in computer proficiency may require additional work as determined by the faculty.

Graduate Writing Proficiency Requirement

Students  are expected to possess a level of writing skill and knowledge equivalent to ENGL 201 . Students may meet this requirement by satisfying one of the screening criteria. See Graduate Writing Proficiency Requirement  for more information.

Graduate Mathematics Proficiency Requirement

Students admitted to this program are expected to possess a level of mathematical skill at least equivalent to MATH 30  . Students may meet this requirement by satisfying one of the screening criteria listed under Graduate Mathematics Proficiency Requirement  .

Waiver of Proficiency Requirements

The standard proficiency requirements above for the MS in financial planning will be waived for students who have completed the GGU Financial Planning Graduate Certificate  within the last two years. In their place, the student is required to submit an official transcript of a completed undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited university of an English speaking country, and to have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0. The student’s transcript from the certificate program will also be considered in the admissions decision.


Students who satisfy their electives by taking FI 424 , FI 448 , and FI 449 , will also satisfy the course requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Financial Life Planning.

*Golden Gate University is a “Registered Program,” which provides authorized coursework covering all of the knowledge requirements of the CFP.® Golden Gate University does not award the CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ designations. The right to use the marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ is granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to those persons who have met its rigorous educational standards, passed the CFP Board’s certification examination, satisfied a work experience requirement and agreed to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Only persons registered with the CFP Board are permitted to sit for the certification examination. CFP® certificates and licenses are issued only by the CFP Board.

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