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Complete Financial Planning Program Course List

Boston University’s Financial Planning program fulfills the coursework education requirement for CFP® certification. The program consists of seven courses, and all students begin with Introduction to Financial Planning and progress in sequence through the remaining courses, concluding with the Capstone Course in Financial Planning.

  1. Introduction to Financial Planning
  2. Insurance and Risk Management
  3. Investments
  4. Tax Planning
  5. Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits
  6. Estate Planning
  7. Capstone Course in Financial Planning

Introduction to Financial Planning

This course provides a comprehensive examination of the general principles of financial planning, professional conduct and regulation, and education planning.

These topics constitute 30% of the principal knowledge topics tested on the CFP® Certification Examination. In this course, you will receive an introduction to the financial planning process, including working with clients to set goals and assess risk tolerance. Learn how to process and analyze information, construct personal financial statements, develop debt management plans, recommend financing strategies, and understand the basic components of a written comprehensive financial plan. The course also covers the regulatory environment, time value of money, and economic concepts.

Modules included in this course:

  • Financial Planning Process
  • Financial Planning Practice Standards
  • Time Value of Money
  • Financial Statements
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Debt Management
  • Financing Strategies
  • Education Planning
  • Planning for Special Circumstances
  • Economic Concepts
  • Consumer Protection Laws
  • Disciplinary Rules and Procedures
  • Financial Services Regulation and Requirements
  • Function, Purpose, and Regulation of Financial Institutions
  • Practice Case

Insurance and Risk Management

This course provides students with an understanding of risk management and the tools and techniques available to minimize exposure to risk.

You will learn how to conduct an insurance needs analysis for clients and evaluate insurance contracts for life, disability, long-term care, and health insurance. The course also covers how insurance rates are developed, what types of contracts are available, how to read insurance proposals, and how life insurance is used in financial planning. You will also learn about property and casualty insurance, including homeowners, liability, and auto insurance. Other topics include group life and health insurance plans, business uses of insurance, and annuities.

Modules included in this course:

  • Principles of Insurance
  • Insurance Needs
  • Evaluation and Analysis of Risk Exposures
  • Legal Aspects of Insurance
  • Insurance Policy Selection
  • Insurance Company Selection
  • Property and Casualty Insurance
  • General Business Liability
  • Health Insurance
  • Disability Income Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Viatical Settlements
  • Taxation of Insurance


This course explores the securities market, sources of information, risk/return, debt and equities, stocks, bonds, options, futures, and security analysis, culminating in portfolio construction and analysis.

You will evaluate different asset classes for different investment objectives and determine their suitability for investors considering investment goals, time horizons, risk tolerance, and tax situations. This course also covers quantitative investment concepts, investment theories and strategies, and asset pricing models.

Modules included in this course:

  • Introduction to Stocks
  • Introduction to Pooled Investments
  • Investment Risks
  • Buying and Selling Securities
  • Measures of Investment Returns
  • Portfolio Management and Measurements
  • Formula Investing and Investment Strategies
  • Capital Asset Allocation and Portfolio Diversification
  • Efficient Market Theory (EMT)
  • Asset Pricing Models
  • Introduction to Fixed-Income Securities
  • Derivatives
  • Time Influence on Valuation
  • Valuation of Stocks and Bonds
  • Hedging and Option Strategies
  • Tax-Efficient Investing
  • Taxation of Investment Vehicles

Tax Planning

This course will cover taxation for individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, as well as the tax aspects of investments, insurance, annuities, and retirement planning.

You will be able to identify the likely tax consequences of personal and business financial activities and select appropriate and lawful tax-minimizing tactics and strategies.

Modules included in this course:

  • Income Tax Law Fundamentals
  • Gross Income
  • Income Tax Fundamentals and Calculations
  • Tax Accounting Methods
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
  • Basis
  • Cost Recovery Concepts
  • Introduction to Tax Consequences on Sale of Assets
  • Like-Kind Exchanges and Involuntary Conversions
  • Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • Tax Characteristics of Entities
  • Passive Activity
  • Charitable Contributions and Deductions
  • Tax Implications of Changing Circumstances
  • Tax Compliance
  • Tax Management Techniques

Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits

In this course, you will learn how to conduct a retirement needs analysis for individuals and recognize the key factors that affect retirement plan selection for business owners.

You will evaluate and compare the characteristics of various retirement plans and recommend which plan is appropriate in a given situation. The course covers tax-deferred retirement plans, IRAs, nonqualified plans, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, distribution strategies, taxation of distributions, and regulatory considerations.

Modules included in this course:

  • Retirement Needs Analysis
  • Qualified Retirement Plans
  • Nonqualified Retirement Plans
  • Government Plans (457)
  • Other Tax-Advantaged Retirement Plans
  • Retirement Income and Distribution Strategies
  • Distribution Rules, Alternatives, and Taxation
  • Plan Selection for Businesses
  • Employee Benefit Plans
  • Employer-Employee Insurance Arrangements
  • Social Security
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Regulatory Considerations

Estate Planning

This course provides an introduction to federal gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxes and the many planning techniques used to minimize the impact of these taxes on transfers of wealth.

It also explores the income-tax effects of gifts and bequests, with particular attention to the limitations on income-shifting to family members. The nontax aspects of estate planning—including the estate planning process, property ownership, planning for incapacity, and planning for business owners—are also examined, along with the need for estate planning documents for individuals, spouses, and unmarried couples. The course stresses the need for balancing tax and non-tax considerations in creating successful estate plans.

Modules included in this course:

  • Overview of Estate Planning
  • Forms of Property Ownership
  • The Probate Process
  • Estate Planning Documents
  • Gifting
  • The Gross Estate
  • Calculating the Estate Tax
  • Charitable Gifting
  • Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
  • Trusts
  • Business Planning
  • Estate Planning Considerations

Capstone Course in Financial Planning

This course integrates financial planning topics covered in previous courses and requires students to apply this knowledge by developing a comprehensive financial plan.

Students will construct a plan according to the CFP® Board’s Financial Planning Practice Standards and client objectives. Instructors will guide students through online course material, quizzes, exercises, and assignments via participation in discussion boards. For the final project, students will prepare and orally present (self-recorded video) a comprehensive financial plan to the faculty.

Students can choose to complete the Capstone course in either a self-study or instructor-led format. Offered 3 times per year, the instructor-guided format coincides with the CFP® exam dates in March, July, and November. This cohort option includes 9 live webinars that are recorded and archived for student reference. The course is completed at least 2 months prior to the chosen exam date.

Modules included in this course:

  • The Financial Planning Process
  • Principles of Non-verbal Communication
  • Principles of Communication and Counseling
  • Establishing the Relationship
  • Gathering Client Information
  • General Principles of Financial Planning
  • Insurance Planning and Risk Management
  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Developing Financial Planning Recommendations
  • Writing a Financial Plan
  • Presenting the Recommendations
  • Conclusion

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