SDSU Department of Consumer Sciences Master of Science in Human Sciences Family Financial Planning Specialization Great Plains IDEA Graduate Handbook

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1 SDSU Department of Consumer Sciences Master of Science in Human Sciences Family Financial Planning Specialization Great Plains IDEA Graduate Handbook 1

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTACT INFORMATION AND ONLINE RESOURCES 3 INTRODUCTION 4 ADMISSION 4 Application Admission requirements and considerations Recommended skills and academic preparation BEGINNING THE PROGRAM 6 Degree requirements and program description M.S. Human Sciences - Family Financial Planning Family Financial Planning Certificate Financial & Housing Counseling Certificate Registration Recommended course load Recommended course sequence Plan of Study (POS) form Transfer credits Time limit and outdated coursework MOVING FORWARD 11 Minimum GPA and continuous enrollment Building a committee FIINSHING THE PROGRAM 12 The Written Exam Content Filing the Form Submitting for Final Approval The Oral Examination Content Setting a date and the Form for the Graduate School Graduation Intent to Graduate Form APPENDIX A. Application Requirements 14 B. Master s Plan of Study Guidelines and Form 15 C. Change of Plan of Study Form 16 D. Committee Approval Request and Assignment of Graduate Faculty 17 E. Written exam form master s degree (Option C) 18 F. Master s Oral Exam Request Form 20 G. Graduation Application 21 H. Request to Participate in Graduation Ceremony 22 [Note: refer to website address on p. 3 of this document for updated forms, as forms may have changed since development of this document] 2

3 CONTACT INFORMATION and ONLINE RESOURCES GPIDEA Family Financial Planning Program Advisor: Soo Hyun Cho, Ph.D. Department of Consumer Sciences Box 2275A, Wagner Hall 307 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD Phone: GPIDEA SDSU Coordinator: GPIDEA Coordinator SDSU SDSU Graduate School general website: SDSU Graduate School link to Forms: Master s Degree Checklist Graduate School Forms SDSU Consumer Sciences Department Family Financial Planning website: SDSU Continuing and Extended Education Family Financial Planning website: Great Plains IDEA Family Financial Planning website: For technology assistance please contact the Support Desk at or 3

4 INTRODUCTION This guidebook provides students with the graduate program policies and procedures in the Master of Science in Human Sciences, Family Financial Planning Specialization. Students are urged to read it thoroughly prior to starting the graduate program. General policies and procedures of the Graduate School are found in the current Graduate Bulletin of South Dakota State University (SDSU) What this Guide does: Provides basic information about each step of the program. Informs the student of necessary administrative steps and forms to be filed and completed. Includes representative copies of forms for student examination. Gives an overview of the program requirements. Explains the oral examination. Provides help and advice for each step of the way. What this Guide does NOT do: Address all circumstances for potential students. For further guidance contact either Dr. Soo Hyun Cho, GPIDEA Family Financial Planning Program Advisor, in the Department of Consumer Sciences or SDSU GPIDEA Coordinator, in the Office of Continuing & Distance Education with additional questions. Include specific deadlines. Deadlines change slightly each term, so be sure to check the Graduate School website for important dates for filing the Plan of Study, Graduation Applications, and Oral Examination scheduling requests. Contain up-to-date forms. Forms can change slightly over time. The forms provided in this document are intended to give you general familiarity of the information required and the structure for providing that information. Please go to the Graduate School website to insure that you have the current version of the necessary form. The program may have additional requirements beyond those of the graduate school. There is important that the SDSU Graduate Bulletin and this guidebook be used together. ADMISSION Application In the present economic climate, individuals and families are responsible for meeting their own financial goals. Changes in demographics, life span, retirement and costs of education are a handful of the many reasons financial planners and financial counselors are recognized as invaluable partners in planning for one's future. 4

5 Family Financial Planning (FFP) is an emerging area with job opportunities in areas related to insurance, real estate, investments, retirement, tax, and estate planning. Financial planners are increasingly in demand as Americans seek advisors to help manage their income, assets, and debts. Students enrolled in the Family Financial Planning program will enhance personal finance knowledge, gain eligibility to sit for certification examinations, increase networking opportunities, and improve career options. The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) sponsors a fully online Family Financial Planning program that allows students to complete coursework while maintaining their professional lives. Courses are entirely Internet-based and are taught by faculty within the Alliance (Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Montana State University, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University, South Dakota State University, University of Missouri, and University of Nebraska). Students enter the Great Plains IDEA program through application and admission to the South Dakota State University Graduate School. All application materials must be submitted to the graduate school by April 15 for admission to the following fall term. For the following spring and summer terms, all application materials must be submitted to the graduate school by August 15 for international students and by October 1 for US citizens. Application forms are available on the Graduate School website Graduate School instructions for completing the Application are included in Appendix A. Students are encouraged to apply at any time, as course registration may sometimes be allowed upon acceptance of the application. Admission requirements and considerations The Graduate School requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for unconditional admission into any program. Given that this program is directed toward nontraditional and professional students, we do take into account life experience for conditional admission to our program. Two Letters of Recommendation from persons acquainted with the academic ability or professional competency of the applicant should be sent directly to Dr. Cho at if conditional admission is being requested. Recommended skills and academic preparation The Master s in FFP is an entirely on-line program. Consequently, you must have adequate technical access, skills, and the academic background to ensure your success. Below find the minimum recommendations in each of these areas to help you succeed in the on-line learning environment and in graduate work. Note: These elements are not required, but have proven to be helpful. Technical access (recommended): Unlimited web access in the home at the highest speed possible as many courses require downloading of videos and recorded lectures. PC or Mac word processing programs (2007 or later). 5

6 Skills (recommended): Familiarity with navigating diverse learning management platforms SDSU currently uses Desire to Learn (D2L), and platforms vary at other institutions in the program. Strong writing and composition skills. Ability to self-motivate and learn independently. Academic Background (recommended coursework prior to program admission): Advanced undergraduate English composition. Personal Financial Planning Fundamentals BEGINNING THE PROGRAM Degree requirements and program description M.S. Human Sciences - Family Financial Planning. The FFP program has been registered by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Board of Standards. "CFP " and "CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER " are federally registered service marks of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Board of Standards, Inc. They are granted by the CFP Board to a person who has fulfilled a comprehensive educational requirement, passed the CFP Certification Examination, satisfied a work experience requirement, and agreed to abide by the CFP Board Code of Ethical Conduct. The FFP program meets the educational requirement as a prerequisite to the CFP Certification Examination. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals have the satisfaction of helping people solve their financial problems and reach their financial goals. The CFP Board website at has extensive CFP certification information. Students in the Family Financial Planning master s program complete 36 credits of coursework, which consists of nine, 3-credit, required courses and nine credits of elective coursework. Required coursework is grounded in the necessary areas of comprehensive financial planning (Please see the specific course list below). Elective courses allow students to personalize his or her education by focusing on research, gaining hands-on experience through practicum, or increasing knowledge in more specialized areas such as housing and real estate, military finance, or financial theory. Courses are taken in any order (though a suggested course sequence is offered later in the document) with the Financial Planning Case Study course designed as a capstone to the program. An oral examination assessing knowledge of degree coursework, including presentation of the comprehensive financial planning case study, is also required. 6

7 Course # Course Title Credits Required Coursework: All nine of the courses below are required. CA 755 Financial Planning Case 27 Study should be completed only after the other eight required courses have been completed. CA 612 Financial Counseling 3 CA 621 Financial Theory and Research I 3 CA 640 Fundamentals of Financial Planning 3 CA 660 Investing for Family s Future 3 CA 680 Insurance Planning for Families 3 CA 704 Estate Planning for Families 3 CA 725 Family, Employment Benefits and Retirement Planning 3 CA 735 Personal Income Taxation 3 CA 755 Financial Planning Case Study 3 Elective Coursework: Coursework for Option C (coursework only) requires 9 credits from the Electives courses listed below. Students choosing Option A (Thesis) or Option B (Research Project) instead of Option C, then choose any remaining credit hours from the electives list. Option A: Option B: Electives: CA 798 Thesis 6 CA 788 Master s Research Projects 3 CA 595 Practicum 3-6 CA 645 Military Personal Financial Readiness 3 CA 715 Housing and Real Estate in FFP 3 CA 721 Financial Theory and Research II 3 CA 745 Professional Practices in Financial Planning 3 CA 790 Seminar 3 STAT 541 Statistical Methods II 3 Total Credits: 36 9 Family Financial Planning Certificate. The FFP Certificate program meets the educational requirement as a prerequisite to the CFP Certification Examination. Students in the Family Financial Planning Certificate program complete 18 credits of coursework, which consists of six 3-credit courses. Course # Course Title Credits CA 660 Investing for Family s Future 3 CA 680 Insurance Planning for Families 3 CA 704 Estate Planning for Families 3 CA 725 Family, Employment Benefits and Retirement Planning 3 CA 735 Personal Income Taxation 3 CA 755 Financial Planning Case Study 3 7

8 Financial & Housing Counseling Certificate. The Financial & Housing Counseling certificate program prepares students to apply for the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) and Certified Housing Counselor (CHC) certifications. Learn to help households manage their personal finances to best meet the needs for housing, debt recovery and long-term financial planning. Courses cover several key areas of financial planning, including family systems and economics, insurance planning, financial readiness for military families, personal income taxation as well as housing and real-estate. Tailor your courses towards the certification you are hoping to obtain AFC or CHC. AFC Professionals: Have a thorough understanding in the particulars of debt, credit and governmental assistance programs. To be an AFC, you must complete 1,000 hours of experience in admissible financial counseling in order to enroll for the certification exam. CHC Professionals: Specialize in residential housing, such as property appraisals, contracts, rights and deeds, financing and taxation, the real estate and mortgage industries and legislation. To be a CHC, you must complete 1,500 hours of admissible housing counseling experience in order to enroll for the certification exam. Students successfully completing the Financial & Housing Counseling certificate program will be able to sit for the AFC examination or the CHC examination. Students in the Financial & Housing Counseling Certificate program complete 18 credits of coursework, which consists of six 3-credit courses. Course # Course Title Credits Required CA 612 Financial Counseling 3 CA 621 Financial Theory and Research I 3 CA 640 Fundamentals of Financial Planning 3 CA 715 Housing and Real Estate in FFP 3 2 of the following CA 595 Practicum 3 CA 645 Military Personal Financial Readiness 3 CA 660 Investing for Family s Future 3 CA 680 Insurance Planning for Families 3 CA 704 Estate Planning for Families 3 CA 725 Family, Employment Benefits and Retirement Planning 3 CA 735 Personal Income Taxation 3 Course registration Each term the GPIDEA Coordinator registers students for courses. Courses must be approved by your advisor. Once you get your schedule approved with your advisor, contact GPIDEA ***The remainder of this document largely deals with the M.S. degree*** 8

9 coordinator directly to ensure your timely enrollment; courses can fill so early registration is important. Recommended course load The average course load per semester for students in this program is from 3-6 credits. Most students also work full-time, and the time demands for on-line learning are very high. We strongly suggest that for the first year of coursework, students take no more than 6 credits per term if they have previous on-line learning experience, and no more than 3 credits per term if they have never had an on-line learning experience. Once you are familiar with the time demands and the process of distance learning, you may be able to increase your course load. If you are applying for financial aid or student insurance, please check the credit requirements. Recommended course sequence You should take these required core courses in sequence Fundamentals* Insurance Taxation Investments Retirement Estate Case Studies** *Fundamentals should not be taken concurrently with other core courses **All core courses must be completed prior to enrolling in Case Studies Take these required courses, as offered. Financial Counseling Financial Theory and Research I Choose three courses (nine credits) from the electives list below, and take as offered. Practicum^ Military Personal Financial Readiness Housing and Real Estate in FFP Financial Theory and Research II Professional Practices in Financial Planning Seminar Statistical Methods II ^Can be taken twice for up to 6 credits, and recommended toward the end of the program Plan of Study (POS) Form By the end of your first year of coursework or completion 50% of credits needed for graduation (whichever comes first), you must complete and submit a Plan of Study (POS) Form. The POS helps you plan your progression through the program, based on course offering schedules posted. Appendix B includes a copy of the POS form and directions for its completion. Note: Course offerings for the next three years are available on the GPIDEA website, from the GPIDEA Coordinator, or Dr. Cho. ***The remainder of this document largely deals with the M.S. degree*** 9

10 Submit the completed and signed Plan of Study by to Program Advisor Dr. Cho, who will then review your plan and submit it to the Graduate School for final approval. A copy of the final POS will be included in your student file, and sent to you for your records. If you need to change your POS as you move through the program, please complete a Change of POS form (found in Appendix C) and notify Dr. Cho of your changes. Transfer credits Graduate credits earned at other institutions may be applied toward your degree if they were awarded a grade of at least B (3.0), and if approved by the Advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School. Requests for transfer of credits are usually made at the time a Plan of Study is approved and must be supported by an official transcript filed with the Graduate School. While the Graduate School accepts 40% of credits to be transfer credits, generally no more than nine graduate transfer credits are accepted for program completion. Transfer credits will only be accepted from other programs registered with the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Board of Standards upon review and approval of appropriate content from the Topic List for the CFP Certification Examination. Time limit and outdated coursework If the requirements for the Master s degree are not completed within six years from the time of admission to work toward the degree, reconsideration of the student s program will be required and the rules of the Graduate School in effect at the beginning of the seventh year will apply. Courses completed more than six years prior to completion of the requirements of the Master s degree and not part of a previous degree are regarded as obsolete. Outdated courses and thesis credits may be used in the Master s degree program only if validated by the Advisor, Advisory Committee, and the Department Head. Validation of course relevance and the student s knowledge and skill in the subject area may be accomplished by a variety of means to be determined by the Advisor and the Advisory Committee. The Graduate Schools allows 50% to be validated. MOVING FORWARD Minimum GPA requirement and continuous enrollment A graduate student in the FFP program (offered through the SDSU Department of Consumer Sciences) must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better for coursework on the Plan of Study. To maintain active status, students must be registered each semester of the academic year (excluding summer). Students who are not registered will be moved to inactive status and may be required to reapply before continuing their graduate studies. 10

11 Building a committee You will need to enlist one or two GPIDEA or SDSU Department of Consumer Sciences faculty members to serve on your oral exam committee; the SDSU Graduate School will also appoint a representative. Note: As you are completing the program through SDSU, Dr. Cho will serve as your primary advisor. You must choose one or two members from SDSU Consumer Sciences Department faculty: Dr. Carrie Johnson, Dr. Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, You may also choose one or two GPIDEA faculty members from other institutions. Complete the Committee Approval Request Form, Appendix D, by filling out all personal information and listing Dr. Cho as your advisor and one or two department faculty representatives for your committee. the form to Program Advisor Dr. Cho, who will then review and submit it to the Graduate School for final approval and the addition of the university representative. Note: You may want to submit this form concurrently with your Plan of Study. FINISHING THE PROGRAM The written examination Content. All master s degree students at SDSU who are pursuing a Plan C (coursework only) need to demonstrate accomplishment in a written exam. For the Family Financial Planning program, successful completion of the Comprehensive Case Study as part of the Financial Planning Case Study capstone course will fulfill this requirement. Filing the form. Students in the FFP program need to file the Written Examination Form with the department upon final grade assignment from the Financial Planning Case Study course. This Written Examination Form is available in Appendix E. Submitting for final approval. Students must send Dr. Cho a final copy of their Comprehensive Case Study, including final evaluation, upon receiving the final assessment and grade for the Financial Planning Case Study course by either or standard post. The oral examination All master s degree students at SDSU need to demonstrate accomplishment in an oral examination. The form of the student s examination can be a visual, distance presentation and discussion or a face-to-face meeting and discussion on the SDSU campus. The form of the oral defense and examination should be confirmed with Dr. Cho at the beginning of the graduating term. Students must successfully complete the Case Study course before the semester of the oral exam and graduating term. Content. The oral examination includes two primary components: 1) a verbal presentation of the Comprehensive Case Study, and a defense of the work and content in discussion with committee members, demonstrating specific expertise in theory and methods of the project; 11

12 and 2) an oral examination of past coursework material, demonstrating broad-based synthesis of program material. A copy of the Case Study must be sent to all committee members. Note: The Graduate School requires submission to your committee at least two (2) weeks before final oral examination. Students are encouraged to work with Dr. Cho and to consult with all committee members to establish effective review for the coursework portion of the exam. Students will not receive questions prior to defense for either content area. Setting a date and filing the form for the Graduate School. The Oral Examination needs to be scheduled through the Graduate School and specific deadlines apply. This Oral Examination Form is available in Appendix F. Note: These dates change by term so be sure to check with the Graduate School to ensure your timely submission for graduation eligibility in the term you desire. Students intending to graduate summer term should consider that faculty on the committee may not be on contract and may be unavailable between May 20 th and August 20 th. Graduation The last step you need to take is to notify the Graduate School of your intended completion date/term. A copy of the Intent to Graduate Form is included in Appendix G. This form should be filed in February or September; again, please check with the Graduate School for specific dates. If you choose to participate in the spring commencement ceremony, you will need to file the Request to Participate in Commencement Exercises Form, Appendix H. 12

13 APPENDIX A Application Requirements 1. Online application form. https://app.applyyourself.com/ayapplicantlogin/fl_applicantlogin.asp?id=sdstate-g 2. Application fee. The $35 fee can be paid through the online application system or by sending check or money order to the Graduate School. 3. Official transcripts. Request official transcripts from each higher education institution attended. An official transcript comes to SDSU directly from the institution. Student issued transcripts are not considered official. The Graduate School will access all South Dakota regental transcripts for you. 4. Proof of immunity. Medically signed proof of two properly administered measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) immunizations OR immune titers for measles (rubella), mumps, and rubella is required. For additional information, contact Student Health Services. 5. Program required documents. Programs may ask for additional documents above what the Graduate School requires. See the Graduate Catalog for additional requirements your program may require. Examples may include: Students applying for the GPIDEA FFP program do not need to submit GRE scores. If you have an undergraduate GPA under 3.0, you will want to include a two-page document describing relevant work and life professional experience to gain conditional acceptance. Two Letters of Recommendation from persons acquainted with the academic ability or professional competency of the applicant should also be included. Please send this information directly to Dr. Cho via at or standard post. 13

14 APPENDIX B Master s Plan of Study Guidelines and Form Guidelines: Form: Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning If you do not intend to do research, you should select Option C (coursework) Please enter Dr. Cho as your major advisor. You must enter the nine, required, 3-credit courses, as well as the remaining three electives you choose (if completing Option c) 14

15 APPENDIX C Change of Plan of Study Form Form: Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning 15

16 APPENDIX D Committee Approval Request and Assignment of Graduate Faculty Form: Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning Please enter Dr. Cho as your major advisor. 16

17 APPENDIX E 17

18 WRITTEN EXAMINATION FORM MASTER S DEGREE Option C Student s Name: ID #: Student s Current Mailing Address: Street City State Zip Code Phone Number Master of Science degree Program: Human Sciences Specialization/Emphasis: Family Financial Planning Minor, if applicable: Student s Address: (This will be used to provide you with the name of your Graduate Faculty Representative) MEMBERS OF STUDENT S COMMITTEE (The committee must consist of a minimum of 4 members, including the Graduate Faculty Representative. Three of these members must have graduate faculty status with the Graduate Faculty Representative being one of the three.) (PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE) Dr. Soo Hyun Cho Major Advisor Program Representative Minor/Supporting Area Representative, if applicable or Additional Program Representative Thesis Advisor (If different than major advisor) Graduate Faculty Representative (assigned by the Graduate School) Other faculty you wish to have on the committee (furnish address if off-campus): PLACE of Examination TIME of Examination Comprehensive Financial Planning Case Study N/A DATE of Examination Approval Signatures: Major Advisor Dean of the Graduate School This form must be completed and presented to the Graduate School Office at least 10 FULL WORKING DAYS prior to the date of the examination. 18

19 APPENDIX F Master s Oral Exam Request Form Form: Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning Please enter Dr. Cho as your major advisor. Please list the committee members you have chosen for Program Representative and Additional Program Representative List the university assigned committee member as the Graduate Faculty Representative This form must be completed and presented to the Graduate School Office at least 10 FULL WORKING DAYS prior to the date of the examination. 19

20 APPENDIX G Graduation Application Form: Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning All students planning to graduate must file the graduation application. If graduation requirements are not met during the first semester the graduation application is submitted, a new application is required for any following semesters. 20

21 APPENDIX H Request to Participate in Graduation Ceremony Form: Ceremony.pdf Note: Again, this form is the general form provided by the Graduate School for all programs. For GPIDEA FFP students, you need to indicate that you are completing: A Master s of Science degree in Human Sciences Note the appropriate specialization as Family Financial Planning You must have your Final Oral Exam scheduled and attached to this request. Fall and summer graduates can request to walk during the Spring commencement ceremony. 21

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