Personal Financial Planning


"I wanted to make an impact in my was time to start taking classes."

— Cameo Roberson, Portfolio Administrator, ‎Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, LLC
​Alumna, Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program.

Your Future—in Dollars and Cents
Forget guessing about money—what’s the best way to manage it? Regardless of where you are in life, understanding your finances is often half the battle to prosperity. Our Personal Financial Planning certificate offers a strong foundation in retirement planning, compensation management, risk management, estate planning and investments—the fundamentals you need to manage your own finances or study to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.

Pick up skills course by course or declare candidacy for the certificate to prepare for a career in this growing field.

CFP® Approved
Want to sit for the CFP® exam? Our courses fulfill the CFP Board of Standards’ education requirements.

Silicon Valley Approach
As the South Bay’s only CFP® Board-authorized provider offering classroom instruction, our instructors bring real-world case studies from private practice and the corporate world.

The Profession

The Best Laid Financial Plans
What’s the best way to plan for retirement, pay off your mortgage or send your kids to college? At its heart, financial planning is practical problem-solving. As a personal financial planner, either as a partner at a firm or the principal of your own practice, you can empower your clients to make educated plans about the way they spend, save and invest. Our Personal Financial Planning curriculum will prepare you to help others plan for the future.

Average Earnings
The average median pay for financial planning advisors was $89,160 in May 2015. –Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certified financial  planners often earn in excess of $100,000 annually.

Market Relevance

Financial advisors rank #4 in Best Business Jobs for 2016. –U.S. News & World Report

Job Prospects
$90,530—Median annual wage for personal financial advisors (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016)

15 percent growth projected from 2016 to 2026. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2018)


Program Objectives

As a graduate of the Personal Financial Planning certificate program, you’ll have the skills to:

  • Understand applied mathematical concepts for financial planning
  • Identify and solve estate problems from the financial planning perspective
  • Decode the retirement planning process, including how to determine the adequacy of your client’s resources and income
  • Apply risk management to financial decision-making
  • Understand the structure, regulation and operation of investment markets


"UCSC Extension has connected me to further training and other avenues of serving the community." –Elisa Ordona


At UCSC Extension, courses are developed by program chairs and faculty according to the rigorous University of California standards and designed to meet the economic needs of each industry. Our instructors represent the best of both worlds.

Program ChairDescription: Rene_Snow_599.jpg

RENÉE SNOW, Ph.D., CFP®, has worked as a Certified Financial Planner® for the past 20 years and has combined technical expertise with psychology and philosophy in service to her clients. She earned a M.S. in accountancy and worked eight years for a large regional CPA firm. Dr. Snow manages her own firm and specializes in tax planning, asset management, and the psychological aspects of wealth management. As a financial planning instructor at UCSC Extension, she grounds students in the philosophy of economics while giving them the practical tools to work in the financial services industry. The focus of her research has been an inquiry into the ancient texts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism as they apply to financial management. Dr. Snow has published works in the areas of leadership and behavioral finance.

Advisory Board

Renee Snow, Ph.D., CFP®, EA

Cynthia J. Riley, B.S.

Eric Solve, CFP®

James Park, B.S.


Program Format

UCSC Extension’s Personal and Financial Planning program is offered at UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus, a beautiful facility located on the corner of Scott and Bowers in Santa Clara. Choose courses according to your interest or declare candidacy in the certificate for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

Certificate Requirements

Total: 8 courses

Required: 8 courses, including 2 prerequisites

GPA: 3.0, with a C or better in all courses.

Timeline: To earn the certificate, you must complete all minimum requirements within 3 years of declaring candidacy.

Transferring courses from other institutions: Courses completed more than 5 years prior to the date of certificate issuance cannot be used to fulfill requirements. Learn more about course substitution by contacting Student Services


  • Applied Mathematics for Financial Planning, 3 units
  • Personal Financial Planning, Survey, 4 units

Required Courses

  • Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning in Personal Financial Planning, 3.5 units
  • Estate Planning, 3.5 units
  • Income Taxation in Personal Financial Planning, 3.5 units
  • Investments in Personal Financial Planning: Principles and Methods, 4 units
  • Risk Management in Personal Financial Planning, 3.5 units

Final Required Course

  • Personal Financial Planning, Practicum, 3 units

Also of Interest: Enrolled Agent Program

  • Enrolled Agent Review, Part 1 – Individuals, 3 units
  • Enrolled Agent Review, Part 2 – Businesses, 3.5 units
  • Enrolled Agent Review, Part 3 – Representation, Practices, and Procedures, 1.5 units


If you intend to pursue the Certificate in Personal Financial Planning and take the CFP® examination, you should hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited U.S. college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Recommended Course Sequence

The two prerequisite courses ("Applied Mathematics for Financial Planning" and "Personal Financial Planning, Survey") must be completed prior to enrolling in the remaining courses. The final course for all candidates is the "Personal Financial Planning, Practicum."


Want to learn more about our curriculum in person? Join us for a free Info Session to learn more about our courses, faculty, and program requirements. Learn more on our Events page.


“UCSC Extension’s courses are very comprehensive; they cover all aspects of the financial industry.” –Tom Nguyen


The rough cost of the Personal Financial Planning certificate is $6,000.



No application is required to enroll in our courses or certificate programs. Information about our open enrollment process can be found on our Enrollment page. If you have any questions about our programs, please contact the UCSC Extension Outreach office by phone at 408-861-3860, or by email at

From the schedule below, click on a course title to see sections available for enrollment. You may view the full course schedule, or enroll in the course, by clicking the respective button. The course type offerings (classroom, online, blended) are guidelines and subject to change. A blended (hybrid) course has both classroom and online components.

Declaring Candidacy

If you intend to pursue a certificate, declaring candidacy establishes program requirements early in your studies, so any subsequent curriculum changes do not affect your progress. It does not limit what courses you can take; and it helps you structure your professional development program for maximum benefit to you. Go the declare candidacy page to establish your requirements for this program. Certificate program requirements must be completed within three years of declaring candidacy.

Course Schedule

1. Prerequisite Courses:
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
FPLN.X400 Personal Financial Planning, Survey 4.0 Classroom Classroom
FPLN.X409 Applied Mathematics for Financial Planning 3.0 Classroom Classroom
2. Required Courses
3. Practicum Course
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
FPLN.X490 Personal Financial Planning, Practicum 3.0 Classroom and Blended Classroom and Blended
4. Enrolled Agent Program
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
5. Required Certificate Review
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
O-CE0163 Personal Financial Planning Certificate Completion Review Online Online Online Online