M.S. in Family Financial Planning

The family financial planning master's degree is a 30-credit distance degree program that is offered through a consortium of six midwestern and western land-grant universities through Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP-IDEA).  The participating land grant universities are:

  • Iowa State University
  • Montana State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The program is registered with the Certified Financial Planner® Board of Standards and meets the education criteria for individuals who wish to fulfill the education component for obtaining CFP® certification.  Students may also take the six core courses to fulfill this CFP® education requirement, rather than the full master's program. The program is also registered with the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education and meets the education criteria for individuals who wish to obtain Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) certification.  As a participating university in this consortium, Montana State University offers four of the twelve required courses, in addition to a three-credit practicum experience and a three-credit professional paper. The program is designed to be a part-time program for fully or partially employed students. 

Applicants apply at their home institution and take approximately two to three 3-credit courses via online delivery from each of the participating universities, at a uniform tuition rate determined by the consortium.  More information is available at http://www.montana.edu/online/degrees/ffp/ or contact Dr. MJ Kabaci, (678) 654-8546 mary.kabaci@montana.edu.

Program Options

Two plans for program completion are available:  the professional paper plan and the course work-only plan.

Professional Paper/Project Plan

This option is appropriate for students who want to conduct their own original research or to participate in a project of interest.  This option is particularly appropriate for students who wish to continue to get a doctorate.  A maximum of six (6) professional paper/project credits can be taken.  If the student is using faculty time or university facilities to work on their professional paper/project, the student must be registered for HDFP 575 credits.  The HDFP 575 credits can be graded or taken pass/fail, as negotiated between the student and the professional paper/project faculty adviser.

Course Work-Only Plan

This plan is for family financial planning students who intend to only work as a financial planning practitioner and have no intention of continuing on for a doctorate.  A minimum of 36 credits of course work is required and a practicum is highly recommended for this course work-only option.

Financial Assistance

The program does qualify for financial aid.  However, it is a self-supporting program and as such is not eligible for faculty and staff fee waivers through the MUS system.

Program Requirements

(Subject to change; check with program contact)

Core Courses

HDFP 515Insurance Planning for Families3
HDFP 520Investing for Family's Future3
HDFP 525Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, and Families3
HDFP 530Estate Planning for Families3
HDFP 540Personal Income Taxation3
HDFP 572Financial Plan Case Studies3
Total Credits30


Electives (others may be approved by the student's graduate committee)
HDFP 510Fundamentals of Family Financial Planning3
HDFP 545Financial Theory and Research I3
HDFP 550Housing/Real Estate3
HDFP 555Financial Counseling3
HDFP 560Professional Practices in Family Financial Planning3
HDFP 565Military Personal Finance3
HDFP 575Professional Paper1-4
HDFP 594Seminar1-3
HDFP 576Professional Practicum3