Iowa Graduate Schools for Masters in Financial Planning

Masters in Financial Planning Schools offer programs built to prepare graduates to help individuals meet their life goals through the proper money management. A financial planning masters degree program thus often includes coursework in investment strategy, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement.i

Masters in Financial Planning Schools: Overview

One of the primary degrees featured at Masters in Financial Planning Schools is the MSFP – Master of Science in Financial Planning. Students could also study to earn a Masters in Finance with a concentration in areas such as wealth management or financial planning.

Schools such as partner, Bentley University may have financial planning Masters programs where students could pursue a MSFP in tandem with a graduate certificate in a related area such as taxation. Whatever your professional goals, make sure to search with them in mind.

About the MSFP

A MSFP program is generally planned-out for students who aspire to pursue career paths such as financial planners, investment advisers, or money managers. As a result, curriculums are often both holistic and focused, with some theory and practice. For instance, there is often a course where students are asked to develop financial plans and/or portfolios for hypothetical clients.

On one hand, participants often take a wide range of technical and quantitative courses to foster an ability to analyze information and solve real-world financial problems. Students could also become familiar with the legal and regulatory environment in which financial planning occurs as well as relevant licensing, reporting, and compliance requirements.

Other courses might enable students to develop key ethical and interpersonal skills. These are often vital to build successful client relationships, and to work effectively with colleagues,

individually, or in teams.

Additionally, on-campus Masters in Financial Planning programs may emphasize both written and oral presentations, teamwork and hands-on practices. Students may also have access to information technology resources such as a “Trading Room” and other facilities for accounting and business.

In some grad schools, MSFP students may be required to complete a total of 30 credits, 18 of which may be devoted to compulsory classes, with the rest devoted to electives. Compulsory courses could cover the following.

  • Professional Financial Planning Practice
  • Investments and Capital Accumulation
  • Benefits, Compensation and Retirement
  • Trusts, Gifts and Estates
  • Financial Planning Process
  • Federal Taxation of Income

Elective topics could enhance the required coursework, and tailor studies to professional interests. Some examples could include courses in portfolio management, elder-planning techniques, psychology, insurance and wealth preservation. Make sure to check out individual schools for more options.

About the MSF

A Master of Finance program is typically planned-out to provide breadth of knowledge in a range of essential financial areas and in-depth skills in a chosen focal area. Financial planning and investment management are two such emphases. A final project often reflects a synthesis of coursework and a student’s ability to problem solve.

Regardless of the concentration, MSF programs typically have students first take a series of compulsory finance topics. Frequently, these are intended to help participants learn to use financial information to make business decisions. Take a look at some examples below, then follow up with individual schools.

  • Investment Theory and Practice
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Banking
  • Financial markets
  • Risk Management

On top of the basic courses, a MSF often provides a list of available electives in one’s chosen focus area. Students who pursue a Wealth Management Masters degree might, for instance, take courses in global investment, fixed income analysis and treasury options.

Students who choose a focus in financial planning may be required to take a series of courses based on CFP guidelines if their goal is to pursue that certification. For instance, at partner, Kaplan, the Master of Science in Finance with a concentration in financial planning is a CFP Board-Registered Program in financial planning education.

Aside from their course requirements, students might need to complete assignments, reports, presentations, and group projects. Together this type of curriculum could enable students to develop the proficiencies to find solutions to real-life financial situations.

CFP Schools

Regionally accredited schools may feature MSFP programs that are registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Students enrolled in these programs often take required courses to be able to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.

The CFP exam is the gateway to becoming a Certified Financial Planner and is one of four criteria CFP candidates must pass to earn their credential (along with ethics, education and experience).ii Currently, the CFP exam covers ten major topics.iii

  1. Principles of financial planning
  2. Insurance planning
  3. Risk management
  4. Employee benefits planning,
  5. Income taxes and retirement planning
  6. Investment and real estate planning
  7. Debt management
  8. Planning liability
  9. Emergency fund reserves
  10. Statistical modeling

MBA CFP schools are those where students could study to earn a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in financial planning as per CFP guidelines.

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

Certified Financial Planners have successfully passed the CFP Exam. Per the BLS, “Certifications can enhance a personal financial advisor’s reputation and can help bring in new clients.” iii

If this is your goal, you may want to work towards a Masters degree in Financial Planning at a grad school that provides the requisite education.

11% of Certified Financial Planners (CFP) have a professional degree. iv

What is a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor is someone who counsels clients and helps prepare financial plans. To do this, s/he has to listen to clients’ goals and use sound knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate.

Other aspects of this profession involve an ability to assess clients' assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives. Some students may enter the field with a Bachelors degree, but for advancement, the BLS states that “a master’s degree and certification can improve one’s chances.”iii

Application Information

While admission requirements to Masters in Financial Planning Schools vary, some universities may consider the entirety of a candidate’s application. This might include prior work experience, test scores, personal learning goals, and other factors, such as type of program one is applying to.

As an example, applicants to partner, Kaplan University’s MSF program are required to have a bachelor's degree in finance from an accredited institution. Or a minimum of 30 semester/45 quarter credit hours in undergraduate coursework across the ACBSP's Common Professional Components (CPC).

Apart from application fee and completed form(s), applicants may need to submit other materials. See below for some examples, then make sure to check individual finance schools’ criteria.

  • Transcripts (Bachelors degree with school-set GPA and undergrad major)
  • Resume
  • Essay(s)
  • GMAT or GRE Scores (unless waived)
  • TOEFL/IELTS Scores for International Students
  • Letters of Recommendation

Why Earn a Masters Degree in Financial Planning on Campus?

Today’s financial planning graduate program is often planned out to meet the schedule needs of at-work professionals. Students may be able to take class in the evenings or on weekends, part-time or full-time.

On campus participants may form new networks and could learn first-hand how to persuade others, listen attentively, and speak effectively. All valuable assets for the aspiring financial planner.iv

Masters in Financial Planning Schools may also attract recruiters from local (and/or global) businesses. Students may have the opportunity to make important connections, and possibly pursue internship experiences in their community.

Contact Masters in Financial Planning Schools

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  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
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