Financial Planning

The Executive Certificate in Financial Planning is a graduate certificate program offered to fulfill the education requirement to sit for the CFP® Exam*. The only in person, postgraduate program in the region, it is designed for individuals new to the financial services industry and seasoned professionals. The certificate is particularly appealing to those currently employed in or interested in entering the financial services industry. It provides the skills, training, and knowledge to succeed in the financial services industry, as well as meeting the education required to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. This schedule allows you to complete your studies in approximately nine months while maintaining a full-time job or taking other courses in degree programs.

Duquesne University does not certify individuals. The CFP® mark 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.

Program Features

Live One-Hour Informational webinars will be presented by the Program Director to show you how to turbo-charge your career.

  • Graduate Executive Education certificate from Duquesne University Graduate School of Business
  • A CFP® Board registered and approved education program
  • Live, in-person instruction
  • Successful completion of the curriculum allows participants to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination
  • Scroll down for more information and FAQ.

See the program schedule. 

Topics covered:

  • Practical benefits of CFP® certification
  • How to earn your CFP® certification
  • Program specifics
  • Question-and-answer session

Please e-mail Jennifer Milcarek at for the upcoming information session dates.

The Executive Certificate in Financial Planning program is approved by the following:

GI Bill or VA education benefits; please contact us for more information about this opportunity. 




Admission Requirements

Acceptance is considered for individuals who have completed an undergraduate program of study and who demonstrate the ability to succeed in a rigorous, accelerated program of study. This program follows all university guidelines for non-discrimination.

Application Process

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Set up your Duquesne applicant account
  3. Submit a current resume - via applicant account or send directly to milcarekjFREEDUQUESNE.
  4. Submit an official transcript from your undergraduate institution - via applicant account or send directly to Most schools have a digital delivery system for official transcripts. Go to your institution's registrar page for those specifics.
  5. Applications will be reviewed after all required documents are received. If accepted, your place in the next cohort is secure when a deposit is received.


Curriculum and Course Descriptions

An overview of specific areas of financial planning - income tax planning, investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, and intro to concepts of time value of money, education/retirement funding, and insurance planning. A financial calculator, such as an HP 12C, is required for this course.
An introduction to investment strategies, portfolio allocation theory and application, debt and equity securities, portfolio management strategies, determining a client's risk tolerance and goals, and managing an investment portfolio that incorporates a client's level of risk.
A study of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, other tax-advantaged plans, employee benefits, and an overview of the Social Security, disability and health care programs.
A focus on the federal income tax system to include gross income inclusions, exclusions, deductions, exemptions, credits, income taxation of individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC's, corporations (including S corporations), taxation avoidance, and minimization alternatives.
An intro to estate planning and taxation, tax implications of gifts and bequests for tax avoidance and minimization techniques.
Classes are held in person every other weekend on campus - Friday eve from 5:00 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Every effort is made to ensure that classes meet every other weekend, but holidays and local events may sometimes alter the schedule. (If local health conditions require a shift to remote or online learning, we adhere to the existing course calendar. Please refer to our cancellation policy for more information.) We offer two start dates each year - April and September. Rolling admissions for the next available start date are open. Course assessments include quizzes, final exams, and a group case presentation. A passing grade on the final exam is 70%.

Frequently Asked Questions

We offer two separate cohorts start dates each year - April and September. Each cohort will run for nine (9) months ending in May and December respectively.
The program is delivered in person on the Duquesne University campus conducted Friday evenings 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 8.45 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Quizzes and exams are completed online. The cohort calendar is established to run every other weekend in this format with exceptions due to University or National holidays and to meet CFP Board verification deadlines.
There is a significant amount of time and effort required to participate in this program. There is no formula to provide an exact amount of time but estimates and anecdotal evidence suggests approximately 7-10 hours per week hours per week in addition to the class time. Another suggested formula is for every hour in the classroom, you should spend two outside – one in preparation and one in review.

Tuition for our program is $5,495 plus books and materials (books are not included in the tuition and are purchased by the student directly from Kaplan Financial. Duquesne University does not sell the books).

  • Payment must be paid in full before the first class and by established deadlines unless you enroll in the University approved payment plan. This payment plan option carries a sign-up fee and an interest charge for the subsequent two monthly payments.
  • There is no University or Federal Financial Aid available for this program.
  • This program is considered non-credit and part-time and will not qualify for loan deferrals while enrolled.
  • There is no third party or corporate billing. If an employer is willing to cost share or cover a portion or all of the tuition, the student will need to make arrangements for payment in full by the deadline with his/her employer. Tuition invoices will be made directly to the student only.
  • Students should evaluate their own financial means for payment before applying.
  • Related expenses not covered in tuition might include: campus or nearby parking costs, food and beverages, transportation expenses, financial calculator, internet access device for required online assessments (quizzes, case studies, final exams).
  • This program is a registered and approved program by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. which owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and CFP (with flame logo)®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements
  • GI Bill or VA education benefits; Veterans will need to provide his/her DD-214 to the University’s VA Certifying Officer.  Please email Jennifer Milcarek at milcarekjFREEDUQUESNE for more information.