M.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Family Financial Planning
Sample plan of study
Frequently asked questions
Graduate faculty information
Tuition and Fees
Family financial planning 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 financial service advisers to help manage their income, assets, and debts. The online M.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Family Financial Planning option will enhance your knowledge of personal and family financial management. Students gain eligibility to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination, increase networking opportunities, and improve career options.
Career opportunities available to persons with special training in Family Financial Planning include:
- Financial Planning: Financial planners or financial management consultants use their knowledge of investments, tax laws, and insurance to recommend financial options to individuals in accordance with the individual's short-term and long-term financial goals. Some of the issues that financial planners address are retirement and estate planning, funding for college, and general investment options.
- Financial Analysts: Financial analysts assess the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions with money to invest.
- Insurance: Insurance agents specialize in life and health insurance or property and casualty insurance and a growing number of "multi-line" agents sell all lines of insurance.
Family Financial Planning (FFP) 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 persons who have 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.
We also offer an 18 credit online Family Financial Planning Graduate Certificate and an online Financial and Housing Counseling Graduate Certificate. Graduate certificates are valuable tools for career advancement and are designed for individuals who want to gain credentials at the graduate-level prior to completing a full master's program. Credits from the graduate certificate are designed to transfer into a full graduate degree program.
Family Financial Planning Brochure.pdf
"The convenience for online courses can't be beat. The classes are always laid out in advance so a student knows what to expect and the professors are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Being able to take a class on my time schedule is awesome."
- Marty, Enid, OK
HDFS 677 Financial Counseling
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Sample Plan of Study
Required Core Courses:
- HDFS 677 Financial Counseling (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 740 Financial Theory and Research in Family Financial Planning 1 (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 762 Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits and the Family (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 763 Personal Income Taxation (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 765 Insurance Planning for Families (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 766 Estate Planning for Families (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 769 Financial Planning - Case Studies (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 770 Fundamentals of Family Financial Planning (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 771 Investing for the Family's Future (3 CREDITS)
Three additional credits from:
- HDFS 741 Theories and Research in Family Financial Planning II (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 767 Prof. Practices in Family Financial Planning (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 768 Housing/Real Estate (3 CREDITS)
During the final year choose from:
- HDFS 794 Practicum (6 CREDITS) OR
- HDFS 796 Practicum (3 CREDITS) + HDFS 797 Master's paper (3 CREDITS) OR
- HDFS 798 Master's thesis (6 CREDITS).
Total Credits: 36
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the family financial planning master’s?
A student can earn the family financial planning master’s degree in two years as a full-time student taking nine credits a semester, with no summer classes. Students can take three, six, or nine credits a semester. Students, who also take summer classes, may be able to finish one semester early.
Are students required to come to campus during the program?
No, the program is completely online.
Is a practicum or thesis required for this program?
Students enrolled in the master’s program typically take six credits of practicum. For students interested in further education or research, another option is to do a master’s thesis (6 credits) or a master’s paper (3 credits) plus one additional 3-credit course or practicum.
Which university will I receive my degree from?
If you apply and are admitted to NDSU, you will receive a degree from NDSU even though some of your courses will be taught by professors from other institutions.
What is the difference between earning a graduate certificate and earning a master’s degree in family financial planning?
A certificate is a way of showing that you have completed a coherent set of courses within a certain field. Both the Financial Planning and the Financial and Housing Counseling Graduate Certificates cover a subset of courses that are included the master’s program. If you are interested in the certificate program and decide to continue on to the master’s program, the courses you take for the certificate program will apply to the master's degree.
Can I transfer previous graduate coursework into this program?
You can transfer up to nine credits into the family financial planning master’s program if they are relevant to the program. The syllabus of those courses will need to be provided to the Department of Human Development and Family Science graduate program in order to determine if the coursework is relevant.
I am employed full-time and have a family. How many credits would you recommend I take each semester?
For students with family and employment obligations we recommend taking three credits the first semester. Then students are able to see how it works with their schedule and can determine how many courses they are able to take each semester.
Can I take some family financial planning classes without being admitted to the program?
Will this program prepare me for a Ph.D. program?
If students are interested in applying to a Ph.D. program, we suggest they do a thesis instead of a practicum.
Is the program accredited?
There is no accreditation in the family financial planning field. Online degrees and classes offered through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and are approved through the academic departments and colleges at NDSU. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Board of Standards has approved the FFP master’s program as sufficient preparation for students to take the CFP Certification examination.
Why go into the family financial planning field?
Family financial planning 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 advisers to help manage their income, assets, and debts. Financial service providers from insurance companies to banks to investment firms are extending their services to provide comprehensive financial assistance. Corporations are adding planners in their employee benefits and pension departments. The master's degree in family financial planning not only creates the opportunities associated with graduate education, it prepares the student to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) examination.
What impact can I have getting the degree when there are so many online options for families to use? Is the degree still valuable today?
Precisely because there is so much “free” information online for families, they need a way to distinguish experts in the field from scammers. Earning the certificate or degree in FFP and then the CFP designation is now more important than ever, because it is a marker for families that you have the necessary background and follow ethical standards of practice.
What is this degree called?
The degree is a Master’s of Science in Human Development and Family Science: Family Financial Planning option. The “Family Financial Planning” option title appears on the student’s transcript. It is an advantage to have the broader field of human development and family science also listed in the title of the degree, to signify that your education in FFP was grounded in a well-established discipline that provides depth of knowledge in the family and social context.
Is there a required degree to be admitted into the program?
There is not a required undergraduate degree to be admitted. Some experience as an undergraduate with social science courses (e.g. psychology, sociology) or business courses would be helpful.
What is the application process for the family financial planning program?
To be admitted to the program applicants must meet the Graduate School admission and application requirements.
What do I do after I am admitted to the program?
Students admitted by NDSU into the program will be contacted via email by Melissa Selders Ortez from NDSU’s Graduate School. Melissa Selders Ortez will register students in the Great Plains database and for classes. Students will need work with their advisor to identify the classes they should register for and then will notify Melissa of those classes as soon as possible since class sizes are limited.
For information about graduate faculty for this program as well as their current research interests, visit the M.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Family Financial Planning bulletin page.
Apply for admission
View Getting Started Guide
For current admission requirements, visit the M.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Family Financial Planning bulletin page.
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NDSU Department of Human Development and Family Science
NDSU Graduate School
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