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Advanced Financial Planning, MS

Program at a Glance


Advanced Financial Planning, MS


Online, Hybrid

Total Units



No GMAT or
GRE Required

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Advanced Financial Planning is an innovative degree designed for financial planners who have already passed the CFP® examination and who wish to reinforce key planning skills and increase their expertise in the critical areas of either taxation, estate planning, or financial life planning skills, while adding the weight of a master’s degree to their professional credentials.

GGU’s financial planning program permits students to build on their CFP® background and move directly into advanced study in their chosen field. This degree program is particularly well-suited for more experienced planners who aim to take their careers to a higher level.

The financial life planning concentration was designed and is taught by many of the founders of the field, while the taxation and estate planning concentrations are co-taught with the nationally known Bruce F. Braden School of Taxation.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution, and provide official transcripts.
  • Master’s degree holders only need to submit transcripts from previous graduate programs. However, applicants are encouraged to submit all transcripts to maximize transfer credit.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must meet the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements.
  • Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.50 should submit a statement of purpose and a resume.
    The statement of purpose should address the circumstances that may have led the applicants to poor academic performance, what had changed and why they think they’ll be successful now.
  • Applicants for the Advanced Financial Planning program must submit documentation showing that they have already passed the CFP examination.

Proficiency Requirements

Math Proficiency

Intermediate Algebra (Math 20); See Graduate Mathematics Proficiency Requirement for more information.

Writing Proficiency

Students are expected to possess proficiency in writing to ensure they can be successful in their course of study. Students may meet this requirement by satisfying one of the screening criteria listed under Graduate Writing 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.


The Master of Science in Advanced Financial Planning requires a total of 30 units, including 6 units of core courses and 24 units of concentration courses.


Students may declare concentrations when they have completed the coursework required for their desired concentrations, or after the “Last Day to Drop Course without Tuition Charge” (per the Academic Calendar) for their final terms, if they will be able to complete their concentrations in their final terms.

To be eligible to declare concentrations, students must have already completed the required concentration coursework, or be able to complete it in their final terms without requiring waivers, substitutions, or directed study courses, unless they are approved in advance by the department chair, program director, or dean.

Students may declare up to two concentrations in a given degree program. Students seeking to declare more than two concentrations will be required to appeal to the dean or vice president of academic affairs for approval. Students’ diplomas will list the concentrations that they had successfully completed at the time their degrees were conferred. Students may not declare additional concentrations after their degrees have been conferred.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MS in Advanced Financial Planning program will demonstrate the following skills and capabilities:

  • Interpersonal skills necessary to maintain successful client relationship and to work effectively with colleagues, individually or in teams.
  • The quantitative, analytical, and technical skills needed to address complex financial situations.
  • The ability to apply their knowledge to real-world problems in financial planning.
  • Knowledge of the principles of managing a financial planning practice.
  • Knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment in which financial planning occurs and familiarity with relevant licensing, reporting and compliance requirements.

Graduates with a concentration in Financial Life Planning will demonstrate the following skills and capabilities:

  • Advanced interviewing skills for uncovering client history, vision, and values.
  • Identify specific client behavioral biases and heuristics and adapt advice accordingly.
  • Advanced coaching skills for helping clients affect positive change and achieve goals.
  • Apply research on client trust and relationship commitment to develop and sustain highly-functional client relationships.
  • Apply research on the impact of money scripts to facilitate better financial health for clients.

Graduates with a concentration in Taxation or Estate Planning will demonstrate the following skills and capabilities:

  • Knowledge of essential tax principles and doctrines, including, but not limited to the following; and be able to critically apply these principles to practical situations:
    • Common law
    • Claim of right
    • Assignment of income
    • Realization
    • Constructive receipt
    • Related party transactions
    • Gross income
    • Tax benefit rule
  • The ability to identify tax issues, to research these issues, and to communicate effectively the results orally and in writing
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