Financial Education for Securities, Banking, & Insurance Professionals.
Master of Science in Financial Services
12 Courses: 10 Required / 2 Elective
Advanced Financial Planning
Skills and Confidence to Implement Complex Financial Strategies
Today's wealthy clients are seeking increasingly complex solutions to meet their financial needs. The Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) provides you with the tools you need to analyze, plan and implement integrated financial and life strategies, helping you grow your business in affluent markets.
A newly admitted MSFS student who has earned the CLU®, ChFC® or CFP® designation may challenge up to two distance (non-residency) courses in the MSFS program. The exam must be taken upon acceptance into the program. The cost to challenge an exam is $300. The College provides no materials.
If the student is unsuccessful on the exam, he or she must register for the course at full tuition, with no credit for the challenge. There is no retest.
Convenient Study Options:
Attend live, instructor-led classes from your home or office PC. These interactive classes offer a convenient, time-saving way to participate in classes without needing to travel. The final exam is taken online through The College's Blackboard website or at our Examination on Demand centers.
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The MSFS program is comprised of self-study coursework and live online classes, along with a four-day residency session. For the most efficient course track, it is suggested to start the program with GS 803: Financial Statements and Business Valuation Analysis and enroll in the MSFS residency after the completion of the other required courses. Additionally, as of January 2010, the MSFS program has combined GS 808: Issues in Advanced Retirement Planning and GS 831: Ethics and Human Values into one comprehensive required residency.
Is the MSFS Program Right for You?
The MSFS program includes practical case studies and client/practitioner scenarios so you can immediately address your clients' needs with expertise and confidence. With the convenience of distance learning, combined with indispensable faculty and peer interaction, the MSFS program also helps you gain entry to advanced markets, corporate clients and larger cases.
The MSFS is designed to advance the careers of a wide range of planning professionals including:
- Financial planners
- Life insurance specialists
- Trust officers
- Investment consultants
To begin your MSFS studies, you first must be formally admitted to the program. Applicants are selected on the basis of academic and professional criteria. To be admitted into the program, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, pay the required application fee, and submit official transcripts from each college or university attended.
No Application Option: You can take up to three MSFS courses without submitting a transcript or completing the Graduate Application form. Courses passed will count towards your MSFS degree. After the third course, you must apply to the program if you wish to continue.
The first part of this course teaches students the “language of business” — accounting. It deals with understanding and analyzing financial statements to evaluate the financial stability and performance of a company. The second part of this course provides students with knowledge of the fundamentals of equity valuation. Course grades are determined by the performance on an Examination on Demand® (EOD). Students are strongly encouraged to complete this course prior to taking either GS 811 (Security Analysis and Portfolio Management) or GS 819 (Mutual Funds).
This course requires the student to develop a comprehensive solution to a financial planning case. The case materials are introduced online. Students are expected to complete both a comprehensive financial plan and an executive summary.
Studies two decision processes: setting the optimal asset-allocation mix (using modern portfolio theory) and analyzing and selecting securities within the asset class. While focusing primarily on the first, briefly reviews security analysis models, capital markets and historic risk/return aspects. Presents theory/practice of identifying optimal allocation of wealth among various asset classes. Presents techniques for quantifying expected risk and return for individual asset classes and portfolios; evaluating portfolio performance; portfolio distribution; applying the dividend discount model; and using options, futures and other investments.
Course covers qualified defined-contribution and defined-benefits plans, as well as similar arrangements, such as SEPs, SIMPLEs, 457 plans and 403(b) plans. Planning issues are emphasized, with a particular focus on the use of plans in small, closely held businesses. The course includes discussion of the more sophisticated strategies for the small business including ESOPs, 401(k) plans, age-weighted and cross-tested plans and fully insured 412(i) plans, as well as a detailed discussion of life insurance as a qualified plan investment and the tax treatment of retirement plan distributions. The course culminates with the analysis of a comprehensive case study.
First of two advanced gift and estate planning courses. Presents an overview of basic gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax law and builds on that knowledge for application to real-life cases and situations. Covers taxable transfers of property during life and at death; property valuation; inclusion of property in a decedent’s gross estate; the marital, charitable and other deductions; computation processes involved in estate and gift taxation; basic estate planning documents; and estate planning devices.
Introduces current tax laws, new cases, revenue rulings and regulations for income tax planning. Presents strategies and techniques for tax reductions, including the laws governing income allocation, tax shelters, income shifting and deduction recognition and timing.
Provides a basic understanding of the concepts, sources of information and fee structure of mutual fund investing. Presents modern portfolio theory, which utilizes mutual funds as asset classes, and explains how computer-based decision tools support the allocation decision across a pre-qualified set of mutual funds. Focuses on recent empirical evidence regarding performance evaluation and risk characteristics used in pre-qualifying mutual funds for investment.
Covers executive compensation plans, emphasizing owner-employees of closely held businesses. Focuses on design of cash and bonus compensation, stock options and other forms of compensation with restricted property; life insurance, including split-dollar plans and other death benefits; nonqualified deferred compensation; health and disability plans; and various fringe benefits. Covers plan installation, financing and administration, as well as ERISA, tax, including sections 280G and 409A and other legal and accounting compliance issues. The course culminates with the analysis of a comprehensive case study.
Covers advanced topics in business succession planning. Provides an overview of gift and trust taxation to illustrate how charitable transfers facilitate business succession planning objectives. Presents detailed coverage of family limited partnerships and limited-liability companies. Covers sales and gifts of business interests using discounting techniques. The course discusses the use of benefit and retirement plan strategies to facilitate succession planning. The course includes a comprehensive case study. This course is also available as self-study.
Focuses on how clients and donors can use financial planning, estate planning, and gift planning to advance their personal financial goals while also having a positive impact on their heirs and on their community.
This course encompasses the concepts of improving the operational efficiency and profitability of a financial advisory practice. The approach used in this course focuses on two major areas: how to increase recurring revenue, profit, and repeatable processes; and how to structure the practice in such a way that it can be sold for maximum profit, if applicable. The course concentrates on the eight essential business and operational disciplines: client acquisition, client management, the consultative sales/planning process, case development, time management, communication, education, and financial management. The final project for this course is a comprehensive business plan containing each of the disciplines, with a focus on increasing the value of the practice.
Focuses on the tools and techniques of charitable planning in a financial, tax, and legal context.
Focuses on what nonprofits call “planned giving.” The course is designed to help board leaders, advisors and nonprofits collaborate to create, count, and steward significant gifts.
Helps managers enhance interactions with others by understanding basic concepts of interpersonal relationships in work organizations. Uses a human relations model and case studies to illustrate concepts, skills and techniques. Discusses topics such as understanding informal organization, productivity, quality improvement, job redesign, performance appraisal, employee rewards, managing conflict and change and dealing with difficult people. (May be taken for graduate credit; contact Graduate Administration for applicability.)
This course addresses current issues relevant to helping clients save for retirement and ensure that adequate retirement income lasts a lifetime. The first day focuses on the retirement savings issues including the retirement savings crisis, determining retirement needs, motivating clients to save, and maximizing savings through tax strategies. Day two primarily addresses the issue of choosing an appropriate retirement income strategy but also addresses a very practical issue, when to claim Social Security benefits.
Approaches ethics and human values from the particular perspective of the ethical responsibilities assumed by the financial services professional. This course focuses on the specific ethical situations encountered by financial services practitioners. Discusses and evaluates these decisions in terms of their adherence to ethical principles, such as integrity, justice and fairness and responsibility. Focuses on behavior and the implementation of core values through case studies an analysis of ethical dilemmas.
June 10-13th - The American College
November 18-21 - Las Vegas Knowledge Summit-Caesars Palace
A unique feature of The College's MSFS program is its residency component. One four-day on-campus residency provides traditional classroom instruction and the benefit of interaction with faculty and other financial services professionals, typically 15-30 students per session.
We recommend you attend the Residency after you have completed two or three self-study courses.
The Residency takes place on The College's campus in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Exact dates for the Residency are announced 6 months in advance, and registration materials are sent to all students who are formally admitted to the MSFS program and who are eligible to attend; you also may request them by contacting MSFS Graduate Administration, 610-526-1385 or MSFS@TheAmericanCollege.edu. Students should register 6-8 weeks prior to the start date, to allow time to review the course materials.
The residency courses conclude in either a paper-and-pencil exam (multiple-choice /short essay) or an assignment or project. Your advance reading materials will describe the format of the exam or final assignment. Residency tuition covers cost of all study materials and instruction during the week. A commuter fee, covering catered breakfasts and lunches at the college, will be charged as well. For the Residency, participants will need to make hotel reservations directly with the hotel. The College will arrange a group rate for participants and provide hotel contact information.
MSFS Course Policies:
- Students admitted to the graduate program have 7 years from the date of admission to complete degree requirements. Acceptance of courses completed prior to admission will be determined by the Graduate School Dean. Upon completion of degree requirements, you are eligible to participate in our biennial commencement exercises.
- The Office of the Registrar determines and certifies that you have completed all degree requirements. Once certified, you are considered to have graduated with all the rights, privileges, and obligations pertaining thereto.
- Degrees are awarded on the first day of the second month following the date the last examination is passed. For example, if a student completed the final course in April, they could commence using the degree June 1.
Students who have completed academic requirements by August 31, and are subsequently certified by the Registrar, are invited to participate in commencement. Diplomas are ordered in June and December and take 6-8 weeks to ship.
Statement of Academic Integrity for Participation in
The American College Programs
Academic integrity is essential to any educational institution because the main purpose of such institutions is the discovery and transmission of knowledge and the pursuit of truth. Integrity requires that individuals represent themselves as they are, without pretense or exaggeration. In the case of presenting one's work to be evaluated, it is important that the work of others not be presented as one's own.
In academic exercises, as in business enterprises, honesty and straightforwardness are essential. To co-opt the work of another and represent it as one's own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a violation of the academic integrity policy of this institution and a contravention of professional and personal ethics. For those in the business of evaluating the worth of someone's academic work, plagiarism deliberately creates a misrepresentation of the nature and quality of a student's work.
Just as a true professional must at times put aside personal gain for the sake of doing what is right, a student must reject acting dishonestly or without integrity, and present only that work as his or her own which indeed is his or her work. Anything less is a form of cheating and misrepresentation and is intolerable in an academic community. Acts of cheating or misrepresentation constitute serious violations of academic ethics and can result in the student's failing a course and/or possible dismissal from the program. If a student needs clarification regarding this policy, he or she should seek counsel from his or her course professor or the Academic Dean
All requests for refunds must be made in writing to the Office of Professional Education, The American College, 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. We will refund your course tuition less a $170 cancellation fee for 30 days into the quarter for which you are registered. Textbooks do not need to be returned and no refund will be given for these textbooks.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition: $1,200 (per course)
Residency Tuition: $2,500
Admission Fee: $370*
Shipping: $25 (per course)
Your tuition includes all required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, and your examination.
*Refundable if admission to the MSFS program is denied.
For self-study graduate courses, we will refund your course tuition less a $170 cancellation fee if less than 30 days into the quarter for which you are registered.
The 7-Year Rule
Students admitted to the graduate program have 7 years from the date of admission to complete degree requirements. Acceptance of courses completed prior to admission will be determined by the Graduate School Dean. Upon completion of degree requirements, you are eligible to participate in our biennial commencement exercises.