Certificate Program in Financial Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

Class Fast Facts

DURATION 10 months, 1 yr or 2 yr
FORMAT Multiple formats available
TUITION $4995, $1150 per term or $675 per class

General Information

Program requirements

Registration / Enrollment

Academic issues

When do courses begin?

SMU Certificate Program in Financial Planning offers courses on a quarter system, which means that classes begin in January, April, and September. For specific course dates, please visit our course schedule page.

How can I get a copy of the catalog?

To request a course catalog, please use the online form or call 214-768-2737.

Where do I park?

Course confirmation letters serve as campus parking permits for course dates and times. Using this permit, students may park in any All University Parking lot (AUP), most Faculty/Staff lots (F/S) after 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and anytime on Saturday, and any Commuter lots (C). Please note, the first two levels of the Airline Parking Garage are reserved for F/S at all times. Please do not park in Visitor parking areas; these are reserved for patrons without this, or any other, parking permit. For more information about campus parking, please click here.

Why might a course be cancelled by SMU?

While rare, SMU reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment. Should SMU cancel a course, a full refund will be granted to enrollees. Every effort is made to notify students of a course cancellation in advance. Students are encouraged to register early to secure a place in the course(s) of their choice, and to help ensure the course's success.

How long will it take for me to complete the SMU Certificate Program in Financial Planning?

There are seven courses in the Program. Students may complete the entire Program in approximately 21 months by taking one course each quarter, on the Traditional Path, or in as little as 12 months by taking two courses each quarter on the Pacesetter Path. Students can expect to spend at least six hours each week per course, outside of class time, on homework and assignments.

When can I take the CFP Board administered exam?

Students may apply to sit for the CFP Board administered exam at the completion of the required Educational component (i.e. the SMU Program or another board-registered program). The exam is offered three times per year, in March, July and November. Please note that applications to sit for the exam are due 6-8 weeks in advance of the exam date. Students finishing in the winter quarter (March) may apply to sit for the July exam. Students finishing in the spring quarter (June) or summer quarter (September) may apply to sit for the November exam. Students finishing in the fall quarter (December) may apply to sit for the March exam. For more information, please visit www.cfp.net.

Are there any prerequisites?

Students must take courses in numerical order*, and are required to enroll in the Fundamentals course in their first quarter of the Program. For part-time students, those taking one course each quarter, the Fundamentals course must be their first. For full-time students, those taking two courses each quarter, the Fundamentals course may be paired with one other course, but must be taken in the first term.

*Exceptions are made for students electing to take the Pacesetter Path. Please click here for Pacesetter Path course schedules or call the office for details at 214-768-2737.

Students are highly encouraged to attend an Information Session prior to their first quarter. To enroll in a free Information Session, click here.

All registrants must have earned a bachelor's degree before beginning the SMU Program. No particular major or emphasis is required. The CFP Board requires candidates for CFP certification to hold a bachelor's degree before they receive the CFP certification. Refer to CFP Board's Web site www.cfp.net for more information regarding the CFP certification.

Can I take SMU Certificate Program in Financial Planning courses for credit?

SMU Certificate Program in Financial Planning courses are noncredit, however as a registered program with the CFP Board, attendance is recorded and grades are issued.

When does registration begin?

Registration opens approximately 8 weeks in advance of the start of each quarter. Students are encouraged to register early to secure their place in the course(s) of their choice.

To enroll online, please click here.

To learn more about the Early Registration Discount, click here.

Students may enroll online, via fax or mail with the printable registration form, or via phone at 214-768-2737.

Where do the courses meet?

Courses are held on the main campus of SMU in Dallas. Locations are noted on the course schedule page. Specific classroom locations are relayed to students via course confirmation letters, which are sent by mail or e-mail along with a campus map.

What if I have to cancel a registration?

Notification of any intent to withdraw from the course must be submitted to the Program Director in writing via e-mail, fax, or mail. Failure to withdraw will result in forfeiture of course fee. Students may withdraw from a course 3 business days before the first scheduled class session. A $25 handling fee will be withheld from tuition; the balance will be refunded. Should SMU cancel a course, full tuition will be refunded. No refunds are permitted after a course begins.

How long are the courses, and when are they offered?

Each course meets for three hours once a week for 11 weeks. Courses are currently offered Monday through Thursday, and are held from 6 – 9 p.m. Courses are offered on the main campus in Dallas .

Class has already started; if I need to cancel, can I get a partial refund?

Students may transfer to an upcoming course in lieu of withdrawing up to a week following the mid-term exam; a transfer fee of $150 will be assessed to cover administrative costs. This amount supersedes the $25 withdrawal fee. Need for cancellation must be submitted in writing to cpfp@smu.edu. Students may use the transfer option up to 3 times during their time in the SMU Program.

What if a class I want to register for is full?

All courses are capped at 35 students. A student may choose to be added to the waiting list, free of charge, for any course that has already reached its maximum enrollment. If space becomes available in the course, or if a new section of the course is added to the schedule, those on the waiting list will be notified in the order in which they are listed. Students on the waiting list are not obligated to register if/when a space becomes available. We encourage students to add their names to the waiting list for courses they are interested in, as this can be a factor in whether or not new sections of the course are added to the schedule.

Can I pay when I arrive at the class?

Advance registration is required. Students may register 24 hours a day online, by phone at 214-768-2737, or by visiting the CAPE office during business hours. For a printable registration form that students can mail to our offices or fax to 214-768-1071, click here. Course locations are distributed only to registered, paid students. Instructors are not permitted to accept registration fees at class meetings.

What if I forget my “Account ID” or my password, used for online registration?

Click here to request that your account id be emailed to the email address on file for you.

Where does my class meet?

  • I have registered for my class.
    Classroom assignments are sent to registered students within 24 hours of registration by US mail, fax, or email. However, course information is available online to most students.
  • I registered online.
    Use the View my Registration Information option to find your course location. You may access your information using your Account ID and your initials. If you have forgotten your Account ID, you may have it emailed to you.
  • I registered by phone, fax, US mail or in person.
    If you provided an email address when registering by phone, fax, US mail or in person, you may request your computer generated ID be sent to you via email. If you did not provide an email address when registering by phone, fax, US mail, or in person, you will not be able to access your classroom assignment online. You will need to contact the office during business hours, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 214-768-2737.
  • I have not registered for my class.
    Classroom assignments are sent to registered students within 24 hours of registration by US mail, fax, or email. If you have not registered for a course, the location information is not available to you. Course locations are not published in the catalog or on the website. Due to limited classroom space on campus, students must register prior to attending a course so that we can be sure that the classroom size is appropriate for the number of enrolled students.

Can I earn CEUs/CPEs in the SMU Certificate Program in Financial Planning?

For Insurance licensees: CPFP102 Insurance & Risk Management has been approved for 30 credit hours for all license types by the Texas Department of Insurance. Please note: the Ethics requirement is not included in the 30 hours.

For CPAs: The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy has approved the SMU CPFP courses for 33 credit hours per course (rule 523.142). Please note, effective January 1, 2005, the Board has instituted several changes including the CPE review process. The guidelines set by the Board allow the licensee to determine which CPFP course will enhance their professional competency, and thus, which to submit for CPE credit. To review these guidelines, visit the Texas Administrative Code, Rule 523.102, CPE Purpose and Definitions.

What should I do if I have missed class?

If possible, inform your instructor in advance to check on arrangements and find out how these absences will affect your grade. Contact Student Services if you need additional assistance.

What should I do if I miss an exam?

A student who misses an announced exam with the instructor’s prior permission may be given an opportunity to make up the work at the instructor’s convenience. Notify the instructor as soon as possible. If the instructor gives you permission, you are eligible to take a make-up exam.

Get Started!

  • Choose a starting date. Students may join the SMU Program in April or September on the main campus in Dallas, or in January at SMU-in-Plano.
  • Choose a track. Students may elect to take one course per quarter, on the Traditional Path, or take 2 courses per quarter on the Pacesetter Path (at a discounted rate). Students in the SMU CPFP in Plano program move through the program one course at at time, at an accelerated pace; each of the seven courses in the program are taught in 6-week modules. For an overview of the course paths, click here.
  • Enroll in an Information Session. Offered throughout the year, these 1-hour sessions are packed with information about the SMU Program and the CFP® certification process. Register now.
  • Meet program instructors, view prerequisites and course fees.
  • Complete the program application. Click here to complete the SMU program application process.
  • Register for class. After the application has been approved, students may enroll online, by phone, or by fax. Traditional Path and Plano students begin the program with course 101; Pacesetter Path students begin with courses 101 and 103.

Learn more about discounts for SMU students for the Kaplan Financial live and online review courses.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP (with flame logo)®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

SMU does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and CFP (with flame logo). CFP certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.

Email your comments or suggestions to the webmaster. Questions? Call 214-SMU-CPFP.