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Tap into the Master of Science in Financial Planning (MSFP) accredited, graduate degree program and gain the tools needed to analyze, plan, and implement integrated financial and life strategies.



$1,995 per course


Complete in 14 months


Hybrid (Online classes plus mandatory residency for core courses. See Core Program below.)

Learning Outcomes
  • Tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, education planning and investment planning principles
  • Securities concepts including t-bills, bonds, debentures, common and preferred shares, equities and financial derivatives
  • Business succession planning strategies to achieve strategic business initiatives
  • Evaluating insurance and estate planning documents such as wills and trusts 


The Master of Science in Financial Planning (MSFP) is an accredited graduate degree program that gives aspiring and active financial professionals the practical and relevant skills they need to improve the financial well-being of their clients.

Students in the MSFP program receive a strong foundation in financial planning principles using sound, ethical, business practices, and have the option to choose one of two concentrations representing the fastest-growing and most relevant fields in financial services today: Financial Planning or Legacy Planning.

Completing a concentration provides you with the opportunity to earn some of the financial services industry’s most respected professional designations. By completing the Legacy Planning concentration makes you eligible to earn the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) designation and/or the Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation.

With the MSFP on your side, you’ll be prepared to meet clients where they are with proven strategies and a broad knowledge base tailored to every stage of their financial life.



The MSFP is designed to advance the careers of a wide range of financial planning professionals including:

  • Experienced and credentialed financial advisors looking for new avenues for their financial planning practice and further education with a graduate-level degree
  • Young professionals looking to break into the financial services industry and get a foundational financial planning knowledge, while also working toward one or more designations to enhance their business credentials
  • Individuals seeking a customizable curriculum that can be tailored to their busy schedule and personal educational preferences, with a hybrid course model offering in-person or all-online learning
  • Planning professionals looking for additional educational and training including financial planners, life insurance specialists, trust officers, CPAs, attorneys, investment consultants, major gift officers, planned giving officers, and more

Two Concentration Tracks

Students have the opportunity to graduate with not only a masters degree in financial planning, but also with a higher professional certification or a path to future designations through our two concentration tracks:

Program Details

Educational Requirements

Applicants to the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School are selected on the basis of academic and professional criteria. To be admitted into the MSFP program, a prospective student must hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or appropriate professional/educational requirements and submit the following to The College:

  1. A completed admission application
  2. A current resume
  3. An unofficial transcript from the accredited institution that awarded your Bachelor’s degree
  4. $100 application fee

Students admitted to the MSFP graduate program have seven years from date of admission to complete degree requirements. Acceptance of courses completed prior to admission will be determined by the Graduate School Dean. Graduates who earn a Huebner School designation along with their MSFP, such as CAP®, must also agree to comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures.

The Office of the Registrar determines and certifies that students have completed all degree requirements. Once certified, students are considered to have graduated with all the rights, privileges, and obligations pertaining thereto.

Apply Online Today

Tuition & Fees

Individual course: $1,995

Your tuition and admission fees include required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, and all necessary examinations. 

 The MSFP is a 10-course, non-cohort-based program featuring a mix of online and in-person class meetings, with courses starting on a quarterly basis. Course materials include:

  • Video lectures (live and prerecorded)
  • Faculty-led webinars
  • In-depth case studies
  • Detailed course outlines
  • Real-time discussion forums

Students typically complete the program by taking two courses per session over a 14-month period. Live class sessions will meet at The College’s King of Prussia, PA campus. Online courses are conducted asynchronously through our course website and do not have comprehensive exams, except for students with a concentration in legacy planning (CAP®), who will be able to take their exams online.


To enroll in the MSFP program, fill out our digital application and submit your resume and unofficial transcript. Our admissions advisors will contact you if you are accepted to the program.

Students admitted to the program are required to have an undergraduate or graduate degree in a financial planning field, or appropriate professional and/or educational qualifications. See our Graduate Admissions Policy for Non-Business Backgrounds for additional details.

Normally, students spend around 14 months for their 10 courses in the MSFP program, with two courses per quarter.

Upon enrolling in the MSFP program, students have seven (7) years to complete full degree requirements, including 10 full courses (four core, six in concentration of choice) and electives (if applicable).

Tuition for each course includes all fees and course materials, but does not include the initial $100 application fee for the program. For a complete listing, view the Tuition & Fees section.

Program tuition is paid on a per-course basis. To see our current tuition rate and options, view the Tuition & Fees section.

We are proud to offer scholarship opportunities for qualifying active-duty military personnel, veterans, and spouses. For more information, visit our Center for Veterans Affairs.

Program discounts and promotions are offered occasionally to our email subscribers. Some partner companies also offer exclusive tuition rates. For more information, check with your employer or contact our Admissions team at 888-795-6306.

Having a master’s degree expands your career options. A graduate certificate opens doors to jobs you may not otherwise be considered for. For anyone considering pursuing an executive-level position, a master’s degree is beneficial. Whether you’re looking to work in family financial planning or another specialization, the overview of the financial industry you will receive during your MSFP courses will prove helpful in your career.

Sunsetted in 2021, the MSFS provided expertise in the wealth accumulation process and the knowledge to help business owners develop compensation, succession planning, and retirement income strategies.

If you have GI Bill® benefits available and interested in our Master's Degrees, please email for additional information prior to enrollment.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Program Director & Faculty

Timothy Belber, Adjunct Professor of Estate Planning
Timothy Belber

Adjunct Professor of Estate Planning

Charles E. Drimal Estate Planning Professorship

Thomas M. Brinker, Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Taxation and Special Needs Planning

ChSNC® Program Director

Chia-Li Chien
Chia-Li Chien

Associate Provost, Graduate Programs

Associate Professor of Succession Planning

Professor Sophia Duffy, Associate Dean
Sophia Duffy

Associate Vice President of Curriculum Quality

Associate Professor of Business Planning


Michale Finke Chief Academic Officer
Michael Finke

Professor of Wealth Management

WMCP® Program Director

Director for the Granum Center for Financial Security

Frank M. Engle Distinguished Chair in Economic Security

Russ DeLibero
Russ DeLibero

Adjunct Professor MSFP

Jason Heller
Dr. Jason E. Heller

Adjunct professor of Behavioral Finance in MSFP®

Teaching various courses in the CLF® designation.

Mark McLennon, Adjunct Professor of Business Planning
Mark McLennon

Adjunct Professor of Business Planning

Dr. Jim Peterson, Adjunct Professor of Ethics at The American College
Jim Petersen

Roger Hull/James S. Bingay Chair of Leadership

Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) Program Director

Robert Steen headshot
Robert Steen

Adjunct Professor of Financial Planning

Kimberly Turner

Adjunct Professor of Financial Planning


The MSFP program consists of 10 courses and 30 credits; four core courses (12 credits) along with six more courses (18 credits) in each of the two potential concentration areas.

MSMT500 - Grad Orientation Program
In this online orientation, students are introduced to the courses within the MSM program, the faculty, and fellow students. Students are also oriented to The College and the educational resources available to them. This course is 0 credits

MSFP 551 - Introduction of Financial Planning
This course introduces the broad scope of financial planning as it relates to personal goals/values, as well as its role in the financial services industry. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of the concepts of the financial planning process, the economic environment, the time value of money, the legal environment, financial analysis, and ethical and professional considerations in financial planning. Topics include careers in financial services, management of personal financial statements, time-value-of-money analysis, calculator/computer applications, insurance, Social Security, house-buying strategies, education funding techniques, investments, retirement planning, income tax, estate planning, and financial psychology.

MSFP 559 - Fundamentals of Estate Planning
This course explores the application of estate planning methodologies and policies to personal financial planning. Introduces estate planning tools and strategies to assist a client in developing, maintaining, and transferring his/her wealth consistent with objectives. Topics include: professional role differentiation between financial advisers, CPAs, and estate-planning attorneys; writing disclaimers in a financial plan; gift and estate taxation; ownership of personal and real property issues; wills; letter of last instructions; trusts; trustees/personal representatives and their fiduciary responsibilities; probate strategies; implications for individuals; general/limited partnerships; closely held businesses; corporations; life insurance funding; post-mortem planning; creative estate planning strategies consistent with client goals and values; and charitable giving strategies.

MSFP 650 - Capstone Case Development
This course covers Capstone Case Development. This course applies students’ knowledge and skill set in personal financial planning techniques to a comprehensive fact pattern. Students will develop and integrate core financial planning disciplines of retirement, investment, risk management, income tax, employee benefits and general principles into integrated analysis and presentations.

MSFP 554 - Income Taxation
This course explores the strategies used by financial planners to help clients achieve greater tax efficiency. Topics include income tax concepts and calculations, income tax research methods, gross income realization, exclusions and deductions, passive activities, alternative minimum tax, tax considerations of business forms, taxable and non-taxable property transactions, compensation planning, family tax planning, audit risk, and dealing with the IRS.

MSFP 555 - Fundamentals of Insurance Planning
This course introduces students to the application of insurance planning and risk management in personal financial planning. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of the concepts of identification of risk exposure, legal aspects of insurance, property and liability policy analysis, life insurance policy analysis, health insurance policy analysis, employee benefits, social insurance, insurance regulation, and principles of insurance taxation. Topics include career issues; contractual and agency legal issues; insurance distribution systems (including Internet); evaluating insurers; personal risk assessment; risk strategies; alternative risk transfer approaches; life insurance programming and product analysis; key-person insurance; business continuation applications; life insurance use in income & estate tax planning; applicability of other insurance products  (e.g., health, disability, general liability, property, and casualty); HMOs, group insurance plans; workers compensation; relevant aspects of social security; negligence issues; errors & omissions policies; & professional ethics.

MSFP 557 - Retirement Planning
This course covers retirement planning and employee benefits. Retirement planning addresses accumulation and distribution phases and covers the various types of retirement plans, including employer-provided retirement plans (pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, ESOP, 401(k), 403(b), 457, SEP and SIMPLE plans as well as nonqualified deferred compensation and stock option plans), Social Security, and IRAs. Employee benefits covers medical plans, group term life and disability plans, cafeteria plans and flexible spending plans. This course explores the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of plans and provides the understanding and skills necessary to assess the costs and benefits of such plans from the perspective of clients, whether employers or employees. This highly participative course will help students evaluate client-specific goals, identify key issues, and recommend appropriate solutions.

MSFP 558 - Investment Planning
This course provides two major areas of investment planning in security analysis and portfolio management. The portfolio management examines a) financial markets; b) the concept of risk/return; c) modern portfolio theory, including market efficiency and behavioral finance; d) integrate investor objectives, their risk tolerance, e) asset allocation decisions and f) performance evaluation. The security analysis examines a) selection and timing of financial and real securities; b) selection and trading of common stock, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds; c) issues concerning macroeconomics, industry and sector analysis; d) alternate (qualitative and quantitative) methods of valuation; e) timing of buy/sell decisions; e) portfolio hedging; and f) alternative investments.

MSFP 615 - Advanced Estate Management
An advanced gift and estate planning course which presents an overview of basic gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax law and tax computation processes. This course also discusses the ownership and taxation of transfers of property during a lifetime and at death in addition to marital, charitable giving, and life insurance planning. Family business entity planning, and buy-sell agreements are also addressed in the course. 

MSFP 631 - Advanced Retirement Planning Issues
This course addresses current issues relevant to helping clients save for retirement and ensure that adequate retirement income lasts a lifetime. The first half of the course focuses on retirement savings issues including the retirement savings crisis, determining retirement needs, motivating clients to save, and maximizing savings through tax strategies. The second half of the course primarily addresses the issue of choosing an appropriate retirement income strategy but also addresses a very practical issue, when to claim Social Security benefits.

MSFP 536 - Behavioral Finance
This course is an applied behavioral finance course that examines the intersection of behavioral finance and financial planning. It reviews the research on behavioral finance, neuroeconomics, and investor psychology, exploring the effects of human emotions and cognitive errors on financial decisions and the financial planning process. This course focuses on the application of behavioral finance theory and research to the practice of personal financial planning to help financial planners improve the financial health of their clients.

GS 839 - Planning for Impact in the Context of Family Wealth
The focus of this course is on wealth in families and wealthy families in community with others. By the end of this course, the fundraiser and advisor should have the knowledge needed to elicit client or donor goals for self, family and society and to convene a team to achieve those goals now, later, at death or beyond death, through a financial plan, business exit plan, estate plan, or gift plan. 

GS 849 - Charitable Giving Strategies
The focus of this course is on charitable tax strategies, tools, and techniques. By the end of this course, students will have the knowledge needed to open a client-specific or donor-specific conversation about the features and benefits of appropriate charitable tools. The student will then be able to convene a planning team, or in simpler cases, close for the gift.

GS 859 - Gift Planning in a Nonprofit Context
The focus of this course is on gift planning for nonprofits. By the end of this course, students should have the knowledge needed to apply the concepts and processes introduced in GS 839 and GS 849 to develop six to eight figure gifts for a specific nonprofit from its highest capacity donors.