Personal Financial Planning
Certificate Program

Personal Financial Planning

A future by design

Enroll in Certificate View Individual Courses

Certificate Description

The only CFP™® Board-registered program in Silicon Valley

The only CFP® Board registered program in Silicon Valley. At its core financial planning is about goal setting and practical problem solving. Financial planning helps people plan for common, real-world challenges such as how much to save for retirement, whether or not to pay off a mortgage, and how to ensure college education.

UCSC Extension financial planning students gain a strong foundation in retirement planning, tax planning, risk management, estate planning, and investments that can be applied both personally and in a professional practice. Our training fulfills the educational requirements set by the Certified Financial Planning™ Board.

Upon successful completion of coursework, students may sit for the rigorous CFP® examination. Our program partners with the Financial Planning Association of Silicon Valley providing you with unique networking opportunities in the Silicon Valley Financial advising community.

Personal Financial Planning certificate program objectives

  • 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

Required Credits: Total Required: 8 courses (29.5 units)
Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 6–12 months.


Course Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Required Foundation Courses
Applied Mathematics for Financial Planning 3.0
Personal Financial Planning, Survey 4.0
2. Required Courses
Employment Benefits and Retirement Planning in Personal Financial Planning 3.5 Winter TBD
Estate Planning 3.5
Income Taxation in Personal Financial Planning 3.5
Investments in Personal Financial Planning: Principles and Methods 4.0
Risk Management in Personal Financial Planning 3.5
3. Capstone Course
Personal Financial Planning, Practicum 4.5
4. Required Certificate Review
Personal Financial Planning Certificate Completion Fee None

Certificate Inquiry Form

Contact Us
Speak to a student services representative.

Call (408) 861-3860


Professional Development

Transfer Your Personal Financial Planning Certificate Units to a Master's Program

California Lutheran University Master's Degrees in Financial Planning

  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Courses satisfy the initial education requirements necessary to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.
  • Ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top 20 schools in the Western U.S.
  • Listed as one of the Top Schools in Financial Planning Magazine

Completion of the eight courses (29.5 quarter credits) of the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Financial Planning certificate equates to 15 graduate credits toward a California Lutheran School of Management's MBA in Financial Planning or MS in Financial Planning. Note that the UCSC certificate must be completed prior to consideration for admission and students must receive a grade of B or higher in each UCSC PFP course to qualify. Courses must be taken within seven calendar years from the time of admission to be accepted for transfer to these programs. There may be restrictions for course substitutions.

CFP® approved

Our training grounds you in Certified Financial Planner™® Board education requirements that qualify you to sit for the rigorous CFP® examination.

When you go to take the CFP exam, you will need to provide specific information about the program.

  • Our government FICE code is 001321.
  • Our CFP program code is 99984.

FPA-SV Partnership

Personal Financial Planning Program students and alumni are welcomed into the professional network of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA-SV).

RGB FPA-Chapter-Silicon-Valley-150.png

  • Discounted Association Access. UCSC Extension students benefit from discounted events and association membership.
  • The Student Forum, an ongoing FPA-SV/UCSC collaboration to present topical events, invites industry professionals to the Silicon Valley campus and to online gatherings for discussions focused on practical information for new and aspiring practitioners. These events are organized for prospective and current UCSC students, alumni, and finance professionals, providing a great professional networking opportunity.

Licensure and Certification

The Personal Financial Planning certificate program satisfies the coursework education requirement to apply for the Certified Financial Planner CFP® certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Certification is optional to practice in this field. Please see our Licensure and Certification Policy to learn more.

Requisite Knowledge

To pursue a 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.

Advisory Board

Renee Snow, chair

Certificate Program Chair 

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.

Certificate Program Advisory Committee

Financial Advisor, Limited Partner
Edward Jones
Mountain View

Registered Principal and Branch Manager
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Financial Planner
Instructor, Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program
UCSC Silicon Valley Extension

Registered Principal/Investment Advisor Representative
Instructor and Chair, Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program
UCSC Silicon Valley Extension

Senior Advisor and Partner
Wade Financial Advisory
Instructor, Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program
UCSC Silicon Valley Extension

Vice President, Branch Manager
Charles Schwab

Declaring Candidacy

You can enroll in a certificate program any time during your studies.

Once you create your student account, you can enroll in a certificate program. Although you can enroll in a program at any time, the benefit of enrolling early is that it locks in your certificate requirements. This means that even if program requirements change, the requirements to complete your certificate will remain the same for you.

  • You must enroll in the certificate program before enrolling in the Certificate Completion Review.

You have a total of five years to complete all necessary courses in a certificate program.

All the necessary units in a certificate must be completed within a five-year window. The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2017, you would have to complete all of the required units in this certificate by Sept. 4, 2022.

  • Enrolling in a certificate program does not trigger the beginning of the five-year window. It begins the first day of the first course that applies to a certificate program.
  • The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the five-year timeframe.

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C- or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.

Our recent stories on Personal Financial Planning