Graduate Studies Program. Policies & Procedures

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1 Graduate Studies Program Policies & Procedures Effective

2 2015, College for Financial Planning, all rights reserved. This publication may not be duplicated in any way without the express written consent of the publisher. The information contained herein is for the personal use of the reader and may not be incorporated in any commercial programs, other books, databases, or any kind of software or any kind of electronic media including, but not limited to, any type of digital storage mechanism without written consent of the publisher or authors. Making copies of this material or any portion for any purpose other than your own is a violation of United States copyright laws. The College for Financial Planning does not certify individuals to use the CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, and federally registered CFP (with flame logo) certification marks. CFP certification is granted only by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience, and examination requirements. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, and federally registered CFP (with flame logo), which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFA institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the College for Financial Planning. CFA and Chartered Financial Analyst are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute. At the College s discretion, news, updates, and information regarding changes/updates to courses or programs may be posted to the College s website at or you may call the Student Services Center at

3 Table of Contents Introduction... 1 Chapter 1: Goals of the Graduate Studies Program... 3 Chapter 2: Expectations of Students... 5 Student Conduct... 6 Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements10 Degree Requirements for the Master of Science (MS) Degree, Personal Financial Planning Major Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Degree Chapter 4: Graduate Designation & Certificate Program Course Requirements Master Planner Advanced Studies (MPAS) Designation Personal Financial Planning Graduate Certificate Portfolio Management for Financial Planners Graduate Certificate Retirement Planning Graduate Certificate Estate Planning Graduate Certificate Economics Graduate Certificate Financial Analysis Graduate Certificate Portfolio Management for Financial Advisors Graduate Certificate Credit for Earning a College for Financial Planning Designation Chapter 5: Admission to the Graduate Studies Program Admission Requirements The Application Process Official Transcripts International Students Criteria for Readmission... 36

4 Chapter 6: Accepting Courses and Credits as Transfer Credit Transfer of Graduate-Level Courses from Other Institutions Transfer of Equivalent Financial Planning Courses from Other Institutions College for Financial Planning Courses and Exams Credit Transfer Process Waiver Chapter 7: Student Progress Advising Add/Drop Period Course Enrollment Status Program Admission Status Chapter 8: Grading Grading Policy Calculation of Grade Credit Hours Multiple grades of C+/C Grade Appeals Chapter 9: Graduate Studies Program Courses First Course Enrollment After Program Admission Continuous Enrollment Course Descriptions Course Tuition and Fees Course Prerequisites Course Load Course Re-enrollment/Repeating a Course to Raise a Grade Course Sessions... 49

5 Thesis Course PFP Capstone Course Finance Capstone Courses Completion of a Graduate Degree or Certificate Program.. 54 Earning a Graduate Certificate Earning a Second Degree Chapter 10: Scholarship Programs Loren Dunton Merit Scholarship Military Master s Degree Scholarships... 57

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7 Introduction This document contains changes in policy since the last revision and is not a historical document cataloging all past changes, but a snapshot of the policies as of the date of revision. Outside of this policies and procedures document, the College reserves the right to change policies and procedures at any time, with careful consideration. Introduction 1

8 2 Policies & Procedures

9 Chapter 1: Goals of the Graduate Studies Program The College s Graduate Studies Program mission is as follows: The Graduate Studies Program at the College for Financial Planning is a leader in developing financial professionals through higher learning and quality student experiences, focusing on critical thinking, ethics, and lifelong learning. The aim of the College s Graduate Studies Program is to develop highly competent financial professionals. Students must demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives within the program of study. To achieve this assessment, the College s faculty uses a wide range of assessment strategies. Students who have completed a graduate degree at the College for Financial Planning will have competence in the following areas: Subject-Area Knowledge and Skills The student will develop competencies in the terms, concepts, theories, practical tools, and quantitative and qualitative techniques of the subject area. In addition, the student will develop advanced research skills. Critical Thinking The student will demonstrate competencies in analyzing arguments and issues; in developing logical reasoning patterns; and in understanding and challenging assumptions, biases, and weak or unsound arguments. In addition, the student will demonstrate competencies in evaluating methods and materials, and emerging issues in and important contributions to the subject area. Problem Solving The student will demonstrate competencies in recognizing and defining a problem; in generating a variety of solutions; and in selecting appropriate alternatives after consideration of applicable facts, ideas, and probable consequences, as well as evaluating the outcome and revising these alternatives where necessary. Chapter 1: Goals of the Graduate Studies Program 3

10 Effective Communications The student will demonstrate effective writing and communication skills. This will be reinforced by the requirement to adhere to APA style formatting in written papers and other assignments. Lifelong Learning Skills The student will develop learning skills to serve as the foundation for future assimilation and dissemination of developing knowledge and changing environments. 4 Policies & Procedures

11 Chapter 2: Expectations of Students It is expected that applicants have carefully considered their commitment to study for a graduate degree. As evidenced by their application and their enrollment in the initial course, the College assumes that students are committed to earning the degree and they are in agreement with the following expectations: They will know and understand the course and program policies and procedures. They are willing to expend the time and effort required to complete the degree program, and they will take courses continually until they obtain the degree. Students should expect to spend hours per week preparing for and participating in their courses. They will conduct themselves appropriately and professionally in dealing with their instructor and fellow students. They have or are willing to acquire the necessary technology and skills to complete assignments and interact electronically with their instructors and fellow students. Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree majors (with possible Concentrations) are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the proper usage of financial calculators and Microsoft Excel. Students must be aware that the Master of Science (MS) degree, Personal Financial Planning and Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree, Financial Analysis Concentration are NOT preparatory courses for standardized examinations. Though they provide extensive knowledge that will assist in the development of an in-depth theoretical and conceptual knowledge of these majors, it is not the intent of the Graduate Studies Program to prepare students for standardized examinations. Chapter 2: Expectations of Students 5

12 Student Conduct The College has adopted a Student Conduct Code to protect the rights of students, faculty, staff, and the College itself. This code ensures that the College for Financial Planning learning community is one characterized by mutual respect, civility, and good citizenship. The College s students, as members of the academic community, are to accept and adhere to these high standards of personal conduct. Students shall 1. treat all members of the College community with courtesy, respect, and dignity. 2. fulfill their obligations through honest and independent effort and integrity in academic and personal conduct. 3. accept responsibility for and the consequences of their actions. 4. maintain professional and respectful dialogue at all times. 5. abide by all published polices including, but not limited to, this manual. The Student Code of Conduct applies to all College for Financial Planning Graduate Studies Program students. Academic Integrity The College expects students to fulfill their academic obligations through honest and independent effort. In a community of scholars committed to the truth, dishonesty violates our societal code of ethics and is considered a serious offense subject to strong disciplinary actions. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to 1. knowingly furnishing false or misleading information. 2. falsification, alteration, or misuse of College forms or records. 3. any joint effort in examinations, assignments, capstone or thesis requirements, or other academic activity unless authorized by the instructor. 4. plagiarism in any form, including, but not limited to: using the work of someone else and submitting it as one s own; 6 Policies & Procedures

13 using another s phrase, sentence, or paragraph without quotation marks and/or citation; using another s ideas or structure without properly identifying the source; providing incorrect citations and/or references; providing no original thought, even with the use of citations; and willfully aiding another in any act of academic dishonesty. For proper citation and reference page formatting, students should consult the examples in the APA section of the College s required text, A Pocket Style Manual, 6 th edition. Academic misconduct and violations of academic integrity may result in being dismissed from a course and receiving a final grade of F, and may lead to dismissal from the program. Academic Disciplinary Procedures Alleged Violations An alleged violation of the Student Expectations shall be forwarded in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Director of Enrollment, or their designee. All alleged violations shall be subject to a fair and impartial process in determining whether or not a violation has occurred. An alleged violation of the Student Expectations may result in a warning or it may be subject to review by the Academic Disciplinary Committee as described below. Investigation Alleged violations of the Student Expectations shall be investigated in a prompt and reasonable manner. The investigation shall gather relevant evidence, including, but not limited to, pertinent documents and statements from witnesses. While an alleged violation of the Student Expectations is being investigated the student may be removed from class at the discretion of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Chapter 2: Expectations of Students 7

14 Notification A student who is charged with a violation of the Student Expectations shall be notified of the specific charge(s) in writing by a Charging Letter sent via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, or comparable means, and shall be given ten (10) days to submit a written response to the designated College official. Failure of a student to respond to the Charging Letter shall result in the allegations being entered as fact. In those instances where the College determines the conduct does not warrant a Charging Letter, it may choose to issue a Warning Letter and/or provide counseling to the student. Academic Disciplinary Committee After the investigation is completed and the student has responded to the Charging Letter, an Academic Disciplinary Committee shall be convened to review the file and make findings and recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The Academic Disciplinary Committee shall be compromised of at least three (3) impartial individuals who have no prior involvement with the student or the investigation. These will, however, generally be employees of the College. Committee Process Students shall be afforded the opportunity to address the Committee to make a statement in their defense. This may be done via teleconference. The amount of time to be afforded to the student may be reasonably limited by the Committee. Students are not entitled to representation by an attorney or any other third party at any point in the process. Tape, digital, or other electronic recording of the Committee Meeting is not permitted. Decision The Committee delivers a summary report, generally containing Findings of Fact, Conclusions, and Recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The decision shall be communicated to the student via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, or comparable means. 8 Policies & Procedures

15 Sanctions If a violation is found, disciplinary sanctions shall be based on the seriousness of the situation and may include, but are not limited to: documented counseling by a College staff member; loss of academic credit; assignment, or course grade being entered as F; additional proctoring or alternate assignment requirements; and suspension or dismissal from the course, program or the College in general. Appeals Students found to be in violation of the Student Expectations may appeal the decision to the President of the College within ten (10) days of receiving the Disciplinary Committee s decision. The decision of the President is final and shall be communicated directly to the student. Chapter 2: Expectations of Students 9

16 Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements Degree Requirements for the Master of Science (MS) Degree, Personal Financial Planning Major The Personal Financial Planning major is a general course of study, emphasizing the traditional areas of financial planning in case-studybased courses. The goals for the Personal Financial Planning major are as follows: Identify the relevant elements and analyze, develop, implement, monitor, and revise effective risk management planning strategies to address client objectives. Identify the relevant elements and analyze, develop, implement, monitor, and revise effective investment planning strategies to address client objectives. Identify the relevant elements and analyze, develop, implement, monitor, and revise effective income tax planning strategies to address client objectives. Identify the relevant elements and analyze, develop, implement, monitor, and revise effective pre- and post-retirement planning strategies to address client objectives. Identify the relevant elements and analyze, develop, implement, monitor, and revise effective estate planning strategies to address client objectives. Demonstrate mastery of the major goals of Personal Financial Planning, including an advanced knowledge of ethics, through a directed case study analysis or a thesis. 10 Policies & Procedures

17 There are two capstones that a Personal Financial Planning major student may pursue: Integrated Case Study Capstone (4 total hours) Financial Planning Thesis (5 total hours) Students must meet the following standards to be awarded the MS Degree, Personal Financial Planning major. Accumulate a minimum of 34 or 35 hours of credit (depending on the capstone option). Students may change their choice of Case Study Capstone or Thesis at any time. Students may transfer up to 15 credit hours if they have CFP Certification Education through the College for Financial Planning or institutions using the College s materials and exams. Students of other institutions may transfer up to 9 credit hours, if approved by the Admissions committee. Earn an overall 3.00 or higher grade point average (GPA). Transfer courses and graduate-level CFP courses credited toward the degree are not included in the computation of the student s program GPA. A maximum of three C+/C final course grades will count toward the degree. Courses in which additional final C+/C (more than 3) or F course grades are received will be included in the program GPA, but no credit hours will be earned. If a course is repeated, only the most recent course grade will be included in the GPA computation. Be admitted as a graduate degree student for a minimum of one year before the degree is awarded. Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 11

18 Personal Financial Planning Degree All traditional (non-legacy) students must take the following core courses first: PFP Degree, Non-legacy Required Courses PFP500 PFP501 PFP502 PFP503 PFP504 PFP505 PFP550 PFP570 Financial Planning Process Overview (3 semester hours) Studies in Insurance (3 semester hours) Studies in Investment Planning (3 semester hours) Studies in Income Tax Planning (3 semester hours) Studies in Retirement Planning (3 semester hours) Studies in Estate Planning (3 semester hours) Portfolio Management for Financial Planners (3 semester hours) Pre-retirement Financial Planning Topics (3 semester hours) Two electives (can be used to obtain certificates see explanations of the available certificates in Chapter 4) (6 semester hours) PFP651 OR PFP649 Financial Planning Thesis (5 semester hours) Financial Planning Capstone (4 semester hours) Enrollment in a capstone or thesis must follow completion of the other courses. Total of 34 or 35 semester hours Traditional students may be eligible to take challenge exams for up to three of the core courses and receive course credit upon successfully studying College material and passing a proctored College exam (if obtaining 6 or 9 credits through a challenge exam, no additional transfer credit is granted). Grades from successful challenge exams that are applied toward a degree, are not reflected in the overall graduate degree GPA average. Personal Financial Planning Tracks Legacy Legacies, students who have graduated from the College s CFP Certification Professional Education Program, will have authorized the following transfer credit: 12 Policies & Procedures

19 Transfer Credit for PFP Degree, Legacy CFPE501 (1101) PFP501 3 semester hours CFPE502 (1101) PFP502 3 semester hours CFPE503 (1103) PFP503 3 semester hours CFPE504 (1104) PFP504 3 semester hours CFPE505 (1105) PFP505 3 semester hours Total possible transfer credit: 15 semester hours Legacies may not transfer any additional courses into the PFP degree (College designations excepted as these are internal transfers). Legacies are also required to take PFP550, PFP570, and three electives (including PFP500, which is replaced with an elective requirement) before attempting the capstone. Courses eligible for electives are (prerequisites are in parentheses; courses that are used for credit only are indicated by an asterisk): ACC510: Financial Statement Analysis Electives ECO510: Money and Banking (ECO500, may be waived) ECO550: Managerial Economics (ECO500, may be waived) ECO610: Advanced Macroeconomics (ECO500, may be waived) ECO620: Advanced Microeconomics (ECO500, may be waived) ETH550: Business Ethics FIN510: Investment Management FIN511: Global Finance (ECO500, may be waived) FIN520: Quantitative Analysis (MAT550, may be waived) FIN523: Debt Analysis (FIN510, may be waived) FIN525: Equity Valuation (FIN510, may be waived) FIN541: Derivatives (FIN525 or FIN523, may be waived) FIN552: Corporate Finance (FIN510, may be waived) FIN560: Public Finance (ECO500, may be waived) FIN610: Advanced Portfolio Management (FIN523 and FIN525) PFP500: Financial Planning Overview Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 13

20 PFP501: Studies in Risk Management PFP502: Studies in Investment Planning PFP503: Studies in Income Tax Planning PFP504: Studies in Retirement Planning PFP505: Studies in Estate Planning PFP510: Financial Planning Process & Risk Management PFP511: Insurance PFP512: Investments PFP513: Taxes PFP514: Retirement Planning PFP515: Estate Planning I (PFP505, PFP515, or PFP516) PFP516: Estate Planning II (PFP505, PFP515, or PFP516) PFP517: Financial Plan Development* PFP520: Portfolio Construction* PFP532: Financial Planning for Domestic Partners* PFP540: Situational Estate Planning PFP550: Portfolio Management for Financial Planners (PFP502 or PFP512, may be waived) PFP552: Alternative Investments (PFP502 or PFP512, may be waived) PFP554: Behavioral Finance and Psychology of Money (PFP502 or PFP512, may be waived) PFP558: Wealth Management Strategies* PFP560: Tax Planning for the Highly Compensated (PFP503 or PFP513) PFP570: Pre-Retirement Financial Planning Topics (PFP504 or PFP514) PFP574: 401(k) and Other Salary Deferral Plan Topics (PFP504 or PFP514) PFP576: Retirement Planning Strategies* PFP578: Retirement Plan Studies* PFP580: Issues and Cases in Estate Planning (PFP515 and PFP516 OR PFP505 and PFP516) PFP581: Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits (PFP 580) PFP590: Women and Financial Planning *These programs are linked to our designation programs. 14 Policies & Procedures

21 Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Degree The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree offers advanced financial education that builds on a foundation of business, economics, and quantitative skills. The degree is designed to offer a strong conceptual understanding of finance to develop the student s analytical and critical thinking abilities. This degree emphasizes technical competence, application of financial tools to decision-making, value creation for stakeholders, and professional responsibility and ethics. The goals for the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree are as follows: Demonstrate competencies in macro- and microeconomic systems and their application in developing, implementing, and monitoring effective global financial strategies. Identify and analyze appropriate financial models for use in security and firm valuation, risk and return measurement, and portfolio performance evaluation. Identify and apply financial statement analysis, investment tools, and asset valuation to investment management. Apply effective capital budgeting techniques, case management strategies, and risk management strategies in a corporate finance setting. Demonstrate effective decision-making competencies to balance financial goals with acceptable ethical standards and social norms. Demonstrate applicable analytical and research competencies to successfully complete a capstone or thesis requirement. Students must meet the following standards to be awarded the degree: Accumulate 18 hours of core class credit (these hours do not include any foundation class requirements), 9 hours of elective credit, and 3 credit hours of an Institutional Research or Case Study Capstone, or 5 credit hours of Finance Thesis; total of 30 or 32 credit hours required. Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 15

22 In addition to earning an MSF degree, a choice of three Concentrations (using the 3 elective credits) can be obtained: Economics Concentration: ECO550, FIN511, and one elective. Financial Analysis Concentration: FIN520, FIN541, and one elective. Portfolio Management for Financial Advisors Concentration: FIN541, FIN610, and one elective. Earn an overall 3.00 or higher grade point average (GPA). Transfer courses credited toward the degree are not included in the computation of the student s program GPA. A maximum of three C+/C final course grades will count toward the degree. Courses in which additional final C+/C (more than 3) or F course grades are received will be included in the program GPA, but no credit hours will be earned. If a course is repeated, only the most recent course grade will be included in the GPA computation. Be admitted as a graduate degree student for a minimum of one year before the degree is awarded. Foundation Courses Students without evidence of undergraduate/graduate course(s) in accounting, finance, and/or statistics (with a 3.0 or better GPA in those courses) must take one or more of the following foundation courses. This increases the credit hour degree requirements by three credits for each course. MSF Degree Foundation Courses ACC500 FIN500 MAT550 Accounting Finance Statistics 16 Policies & Procedures

23 Degree Requirements Requirements for the Master of Science in Finance degree are as follows: Master of Science in Finance Degree Requirements Core Classes FIN510 ACC510 ECO510 FIN525 FIN523 FIN552 FIN644 FIN651 OR Investment Management (3 credit hours) (required first course unless ACC510 is taken) Financial Statement Analysis (3 credit hours) (required first course unless FIN510 is taken) Money & Banking (3 credit hours) Equity Valuation (3 credit hours) Debt Analysis (3 credit hours) Corporate Finance (3 credit hours) Choice of 3 Electives (9 credit hours) (electives can be used to obtain an Economics, Financial Analysis, or a Portfolio Management for Financial Advisors Concentration) Capstone Case Study Capstone (3 credit hours) Finance Thesis (5 credit hours). Enrollment in a capstone or thesis must follow completion of the other courses. 30 to 32 total credit hours Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 17

24 Requirements for the MSF degree Concentrations are as follows: Master of Science in Finance, Economics Concentration Requirements Core Classes FIN510 ACC510 ECO510 FIN525 FIN523 FIN552 Investment Management (3 credit hours) (required first course unless ACC510 is taken) Financial Statement Analysis (3 credit hours) (required first course unless FIN510 is taken) Money & Banking (3 credit hours) Equity Valuation (3 credit hours) Debt Analysis (3 credit hours) Corporate Finance (3 credit hours) Concentration Courses ECO550 FIN511 Managerial Economics (3 credit hours) Global Finance (3 credit hours) Choice of 1 additional Elective (3 credit hours) Capstone FIN644 Case Study Capstone (3 credit hours) OR FIN651 Finance Thesis (5 credit hours) Enrollment in the capstone must follow completion of the other courses. 30 to 32 total credit hours 18 Policies & Procedures

25 Master of Science in Finance, Financial Analysis Concentration Requirements Core Classes FIN510 ACC510 ECO510 FIN525 FIN523 FIN552 Investment Management (3 credit hours) (required first course unless ACC510 is taken) Financial Statement Analysis (3 credit hours) (required first course unless FIN510 is taken) Money & Banking (3 credit hours) Equity Valuation (3 credit hours) Debt Analysis (3 credit hours) Corporate Finance (3 credit hours) Concentration Courses FIN520 FIN541 Quantitative Analysis (3 credit hours) Derivatives (3 credit hours) Choice of 1 additional Elective (3 credit hours) Capstone FIN644 FIN651 OR Case Study Capstone (3 credit hours) Finance Thesis (5 credit hours) Enrollment in the capstone must follow completion of the other courses. 30 to 32 total credit hours Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 19

26 Master of Science in Finance, Portfolio Management for Financial Advisors Concentration Requirements Core Classes FIN510 ACC510 ECO510 FIN525 FIN523 FIN552 Investment Management (3 credit hours) (required first course unless ACC510 is taken) Financial Statement Analysis (3 credit hours) (required first course unless FIN510 is taken) Money & Banking (3 credit hours) Equity Valuation (3 credit hours) Debt Analysis (3 credit hours) Corporate Finance (3 credit hours) Concentration Courses FIN541 FIN610 Derivatives (3 credit hours) Advanced Portfolio Management (3 credit hours) Choice of 1 additional Elective (3 credit hours) Capstone FIN644 Case Study Capstone (3 credit hours) OR FIN651 Finance Thesis (5 credit hours) Enrollment in the capstone must follow completion of the other courses. 30 to 32 total credit hours 20 Policies & Procedures

27 Courses eligible for electives are (prerequisites are in parenthesis; courses for transfer credit only are indicated by an asterisk): Electives ACC510: Financial Statement Analysis ECO510: Money and Banking (ECO500, may be waived) ECO550: Managerial Economics (ECO500, may be waived) ECO610: Advanced Macroeconomics (ECO500, may be waived) ECO620: Advanced Microeconomics (ECO500, may be waived) ETH550: Business Ethics FIN510: Investment Management FIN511: Global Finance (ECO500, may be waived) FIN520: Quantitative Analysis (MAT550, may be waived) FIN523: Debt Analysis (FIN510, may be waived) FIN525: Equity Valuation (FIN510, may be waived) FIN541: Derivatives (FIN525 or FIN523, may be waived) FIN552: Corporate Finance (FIN510, may be waived) FIN560: Public Finance (ECO500, may be waived) FIN610: Advanced Portfolio Management (FIN523 and FIN525) PFP500: Financial Planning Overview PFP501: Studies in Risk Management PFP502: Studies in Investment Planning PFP503: Studies in Income Tax Planning PFP504: Studies in Retirement Planning PFP505: Studies in Estate Planning PFP510: Financial Planning Process & Risk Management PFP511: Insurance PFP512: Investments PFP513: Taxes PFP514: Retirement Planning PFP515: Estate Planning I (PFP505, PFP515, or PFP516) PFP516: Estate Planning II (PFP505, PFP515, or PFP516) PFP517: Financial Plan Development* PFP520: Portfolio Construction* Chapter 3: Graduate Degree Program Course Requirements 21

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