Advance your career as a financial planner, manager, or analyst with one of three specializations in our master’s in finance degree program.
Prepare for certification as a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)* professional. The coursework in this specialization is aligned with the content covered in the competency-based CFP® exam. You will gain hands-on practice for the competency-based certification exam and complete a simulated CFP® exam. In this program, you will explore best practices in financial analysis and decision making; investment and insurance planning; and income tax, retirement, and estate planning. You will also develop your knowledge of professional conduct and fiduciary responsibility required of a CFP® professional.
This program can be completed in as little as 20 months. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
*CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”). Walden University’s MS in Finance program is not a CFP Board-Registered Program and is not in any way sponsored or endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with, CFP Board.
|Course Code||FNCE 6000||Course||Decision-Making Tools for Today's Financial Professional||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6010||Course||Analysis and Communication for the Financial Professional||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6020||Course||Legal and Ethical Issues in Accounting and Finance||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6030||Course||Managerial Finance||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6630||Course||Tax Analysis and Decision Making||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6635||Course||Financial Budgeting and Forecasting Analysis||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6650||Course||Insurance Planning||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6655||Course||Investment Theory and Portfolio Management||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6665||Course||Retirement and Estate Planning||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
|Course Code||FNCE 6905||Course||Financial Planning Capstone||Credits||(3 sem. cr.)|
Today's effective finance professionals use a variety of financial management tools as they seek to evaluate alternatives and make sound financial recommendations. Students will gain practical experience of a financial professional's role by using financial modeling tools such as breakeven and cost-volume-profit analysis for model pricing and cost sensitivity; forecasting and cost prediction; variance cost analysis; relevant cost analysis; project valuation; and prioritization using payback, rates of return, and discounted cash flow methods. Students' increased diagnostic critical-thinking skills will help them to construct effective, ethical, fact-based arguments, which are among the fundamental capabilities required for financial decision-making. Using relevant management articles, case studies, and topic analyses, students also examine how to align business needs with fact-based solutions, how to identify new opportunities, and how to manage and enhance an organization's competitive position.
An essential skill for nearly all financial professionals is the ability to effectively communicate with the organization to manage internal and external relationships. The importance of communication in finance is emphasized, and students are presented with the opportunity to practice using the tools required for effectual and efficient presentation of information while gaining critical-thinking, reading, and scholarly writing skills. Students explore various written and presentational forms of communication that financial professionals use within organizational and managerial settings. Students examine techniques for developing and presenting white papers, memoranda used to communicate issues and recommendations to management, and financial and nonfinancial information. They learn about concepts in balanced communication coverage and how to adapt to constantly changing modes of communication, including social networking, blogging, and using professional organizations and training programs to their advantage. Through these activities, students gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the financial professional as well as the ethical methodologies required to maintain a professional obligation to the community and their clients.
In the news, it is too often that we hear about cases of financial fraud and misconduct involving major corporations. It is a social and professional obligation of financial professionals to be concerned and knowledgeable on topics involving legal and ethical issues in accounting and financial reporting. In this course, students learn to appreciate this role and explore the various legal and professional responsibilities of which financial professionals must be aware when developing financial statements and reports. They examine a variety of issues, such as the differences between statute and regulation and between common and statutory law. Students also assess the role of bankruptcy and its impact on business relationships. Through the extensive use of current and seminal case studies, students take a practical approach to examining the best practices of doing business in today's sociopolitical climate from a legal and ethical perspective.
Today's companies are challenged to constantly do more with less. Effective managers know how to deploy scarce financial resources in ways to achieve optimum returns on these resources. Students will discover the latest financial tools and analytic methods to strengthen the capital investment decision-making process. Students will use critical-thinking skills to apply and, at times, challenge traditional financial theory, while balancing various stakeholder interests in the financial decision-making process. Students will examine a range of contemporary issues and techniques relevant to sound and ethical financial decision-making. Topics include the role of stakeholders in optimizing firm value, assessment of an organization's financial position, effective communication of financial information and goals, the analysis of risk and reward in financial decision-making, the impact of financial decisions and capital structure on firm value, the role of ethics in financial decision-making, and the evaluation of financial decisions to enter international markets.
Students in this course are provided with an overview of current topics in taxation strategies for individuals and corporations. They learn about the Internal Revenue Service Code on tax differences, including book and tax accounting, inclusions, exclusions, deductions, credits, and tax aspects of property transactions. Students employ a "walk-through" technique through which they gain first-hand experience in the use of tax research services. Students also explore how economic, social, and cultural forces influence tax policy.
Managers are continually faced with the complexities of budgeting and forecasting their business operations. Complexities include many factors, such as one-time and ongoing expenses; investments; and risk related to investment proposals, time periods, and other financial considerations. Students will explore budgeting and forecasting along with related processes within the organizational context. Students will also review the implications of budgeting and forecasting as well as methods to plan for and prioritize the use of scarce resources, while considering ethical issues related to sustainability.
Insurance coverage is an important element on ensuring financial security. Students in this course will examine risk management and insurance decisions for financial planning. Topics for this course include insurance for life, health, disability, property, and liability risks, as well as annuities, group insurance, and long-term care.
Investments and portfolio management is a combination of different investment assets for the purpose of achieving investor goals while minimizing overall investment risk. Students in this course examine capital markets with an emphasis on securities valuation. Topics covered in this course include fixed-income markets, measuring risk with alphas and betas, asset pricing, portfolio management strategies, equity markets, and derivatives markets.
Retirement and estate planning allows not only for individuals to have a successful retirement, but also contribute to the lives of one's children or grandchildren. Students in this course focus on estate planning and the efficient conservation and transfer of wealth. They explore legal, tax, financial, and nonfinancial aspects of estate planning. Topics also include trusts, wills, probate, advanced directives, charitable giving, wealth transfers, and related taxes.
In this course, students review content based on prior Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)* Certification exams on a variety of topics, including financial and insurance planning, investment planning and strategies, income taxes, and retirement planning. Students conduct research, discuss with peers, and analyze the answers to actual CFP® Certification exam items to gain a thorough understanding of the format, concepts, and principles on which exam questions are based, gaining confidence and preparedness for taking the CFP® Certification exam.*CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. ("CFP Board").