Graduate Certificate - Financial Counseling

Required Courses

Financial Counseling

This course is about theory and research regarding the interactive process between clients and practitioner, including communication techniques, motivation and esteem building, the counseling environment, ethics, and methods of data intake, verification and analysis. Other topics of the course are legal issues, compensation, uses of technology to identify resources, information management, and current or emerging issues.

Financial Theory & Research I

This course introduces students to the social science of family relationships as they relate to the processes of family finance and financial planning. The course covers theories of family functioning, microeconomic theory related to family resource allocation decisions, the family as an economic unit, and the influence of the economy on families.

Housing/Real Estate

An overview of the role of housing and real estate in the financial planning process from a theoretical perspective is the focus of this course. Students learn about taxation, legal aspects, mortgages, and financial calculations related to home ownership and real estate investments. Students examine new and emerging issues in the context of housing and real estate and the role of ethics in financial planning concerning housing and real estate.

Fundamentals for Family Financial Planning

This course focuses on issues and concepts related to the overall financial planning process and establishing client-planner relationships. Students explore services provided to families, documentation required, and client and Certified Financial Planner™ licensee responsibilities. Students develop competencies for gathering of client data, determining goals and expectations, and assessing the client's financial status by analyzing and evaluating data. Emerging issues and the role of ethics in financial planning are an integral part of the course.

Elective Courses

Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, and the Family

This course covers micro and macro considerations in retirement planning for individuals and families. Content includes a survey of various types of retirement plans, ethical consideration in providing retirement planning services, assessing and forecasting financial needs in retirement, integration of retirement plans with government benefits, and current research and theory in the field. Case studies provide students experience in retirement planning needs analysis.

Personal Income Taxation

This course focuses on in-depth information of income tax practices and procedures including tax regulations, tax return preparation, the tax audit process, the appeals process, preparation for an administrative or judicial forum, and ethical considerations of taxation. Students learn new and emerging issues related to taxation. Family and individual case studies provide students practice in applying and analyzing tax information and recommending appropriate tax strategies.

Insurance Planning for Families

This course is an in-depth study of risk management concepts, tools, and strategies for individuals and families. Students study life insurance, property and casualty insurance, liability insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance, and government-subsidized programs. Students discuss current and emerging issues as well as ethical consideration in relation to risk management. Case studies provide experience in selecting insurance products suitable for individuals and families.

Estate Planning for Families

This course focuses on fundamentals of the estate planning process, including estate settlement, estate and gift taxes, property ownership and transfer, and powers of appointment. Students explore tools and techniques used in implementing an effective estate plan, ethical considerations in providing estate planning services, and new and emerging issues in the field. Students use case studies to gain experience in developing estate plans suitable for varied family forms.

Investing for the Family's Future

This course is an in-depth study of investment options for families and includes a look at common stocks, fixed income securities, convertible securities, and related choices. Students study relationship between investment options and employee/employer benefit plan choices. Integral to the course is students examining current and emerging issues and ethics.

Military Personal Finance

This course offers an overview of topics relevant to the financial planning process and adapts the topics to unique needs, terminology, benefits, and resources that impact military service members and their families. The subject matter includes status of service members, financial readiness, financial management, recordkeeping, cash flow management, risk management, credit and debt management, savings, education planning, investment management, tax management, retirement management, estate management, and special topics.

Financial Theory & Research II

This course features macroeconomic theory as it relates to family resource allocation decisions, theories of household behavior, the lifecycle hypothesis, behavioral economics, behavioral finance, theories of behavioral change, and psychological theories of family well-being. The course of study includes focus on empirical research investigating household financial decision-making.

Family Financial Planning - Practicum

Practicum is available through your home university. Consult with your academic advisor about course selection and scheduling.
Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2018-2019: $580
2018-2019: $580

36 Hours


18 Hours


18 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Trisha Ritland
Rachel Ohmes
Janine Hansen
Karen Murie
Karla Sisco
Aimee Maher
University of Missouri
Hannah Portwood
Lisa King
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

– – April-Dawn Knudsen, Community Development Graduate