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Financial Planning Stream

What is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)?

The Certified Financial Planner® or CFP® is a registered trademark that is the most widely
recognized professional qualification for financial planners around the world. It started in
the US. In Canada, FP Canada licenses the trademark and controls all the educational and
certification processes and provides ethical and practice standards. Over 17,000 Canadians
hold the CFP designation, the second largest number of any country after the US.

A financial planner helps a family manage all its personal financial affairs – money
management and budgeting, insurance, income tax, investments, retirement and estate
planning, debt management. A CFP® professional receives education and practical
experience in every area of personal finance in order to qualify.

How do I become a CFP® Professional?

FP Canada sets the requirements for CFP® certification and changes the process when they deem it is necessary so it is important to refer back to FP Canada for complete details of the process. We will update this document regularly, however this document is not a substitute for the official programme and policies. There are two slightly different routes to become a CFP, and one of them grants a lower level form of certification as a first step. Either path requires three years of qualifying work experience to become a CFP® Professional.

Direct Path to CFP Certification

  1. Complete an FP Canada approved core curriculum educational programme. York’s programme is explained below.
  2. Complete a two-hour Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) course offered by the FP Canada Institute. You may take this before, during or after the core curriculum.
  3. Complete an FP Canada approved advanced curriculum educational programme.
    (The core and advanced curriculum at York are the same, so no additional courses
    are needed).
  4. Complete the FP Canada Professional Education Program (PEP). FP Canada offers this mandatory program, but York is accredited to offer the course. It will be offered fully-online starting in Winter 2021.
  5. Pass the CFP® Examination.

Indirect Path to CFP, through the QAFP

As an alternative, you can take an intermediate certification, the Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ (QAFP™). You can stop at the QAFP™ or continue to finish the CFP® Certification.

  1. Complete an FP Canada approved core curriculum educational programme. York’s programme is explained below.
  2. Complete a two-hour Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) course offered by the FP Canada Institute. You may take this before, during or after the core curriculum.
  3. Pass the QAFP examination.
  4. Complete one year of Qualifying work experience.
  5. Complete the FP Canada QAFP™ Professional Education Program within one year of writing the QAFP™ examination. Only FP Canada offers this mandatory program.
  6. Apply for the QAFP™
  7. To move on to the CFP® certification, further steps are required:
  8. Complete an FP Canada approved advanced curriculum educational programme. (The core and advanced curriculum at York are the same, so no additional courses are needed).
  9. Complete the QAFP-to-CFP Bridge Program. Only FP Canada offers this mandatory program.
  10. Pass the CFP® examination.

The School of Administrative Studies at York is a Certified Education Provider.

This is where we come in. If you wish to become a QAFP™ or CFP® Professional, you must take the courses at an approved institution. You register with FP Canada to become a student pursuing the CFP® designation, but you must also register with York, just like any other university student. Details of what you must do depend on your specific situation.

We are certified to provide both the core curriculum courses and the advanced curriculum, all of which are offered online. Six courses comprise the core and advanced curriculum for the CFP® designation, but these courses also require that you have taken several prerequisite courses, which may or may not be accepted for transfer credit at York. We do not identify specific courses as being core or advanced. Our financial planning stream is an integrated whole and is designed for the Direct Path to CFP® Certification. You could take our program and you would be qualified to write the QAFP™ first if you wish to follow that route.

Getting Admitted

York offers both a certificate in financial planning as well as a full BCom in Finance. Which route you choose depends on your specific situation:

If you do not have a university degree and you are not already a York student...

Effective April 2022, a bachelor’s degree is required to obtain the Certified Financial Planner® designation. The only way for non-York students to take these courses without a prior degree is to enrol in the BCom degree program. Admissions material is available on the Future Students website. You will have to take a substantial number of courses before you can take the courses required for the CFP® designation, all of which are in third and fourth year. Almost the entire BCom in Finance can be taken online, and we are working to convert the full stream online.

If you already have a university degree, but not from York University, or you are in a degree program at another university...

You must apply for admission as a “visiting” student to take our courses, but if you have a recognized university degree you will likely qualify. If your degree is in business you may already have the necessary prerequisites; otherwise you will have to take more than the courses that form the curriculum in financial planning. If your original degree was non-business, taking the Certificate will probably be the most efficient way to do it.



If you were previously a York student...

If you have already graduated or if you haven’t graduated and haven’t been enrolled in the most recent past Fall/Winter session, you must reactivate your record. If your degree is in business, you may already have the necessary prerequisites; otherwise you will have to take more than the courses that form the curriculum in financial planning.


If you are currently enrolled in the BCom degree...

Students in the BCom degree program should elect to take a finance major, which is an honours degree, and use the core curriculum courses as part of the requirements for their major. To complete the requirements for the BCom Honours Finance and complete the core curriculum for the CFP, you must take at least three additional electives, at least two of which must be in finance. Be sure to read all the calendar requirements for the BCom Honours Finance. This brief summary is not a substitute for the complete program rules.

If you are a current York student, but not in the BCom degree...

You can enrol in the financial planning courses if you meet the pre requisites, which will require students outside the BCom to take several prerequisite courses. BCom students will receive preference over other students for enrolling in these courses, which may cause you some difficulty, although at the present time there is space in the most advanced fourth year courses. Students who do not have a 5.5 GPA should not attempt to take these courses. Students in Economics will have the easiest road to taking the financial planning core curriculum due to the prerequisites, but all students outside the BCom program must consult with the adviser in their own degree program to make sure they meet all of its requirements while taking these other courses. You may find that the Certificate is the best route for you to follow, and you might be able to finish your degree and start working while continuing to complete the Certificate.


Financial Planning Program at York

York offers an integrated program that combines CFP® Core Curriculum Education Program and the Advanced Curriculum. Completing the program will provide you with the educational requirements needed to take either the QAFP™ or the CFP® Exam. Based on your circumstances, you can choose to complete the courses necessary in the Financial Planning Certificate or as part of your undergraduate degree.

Certificate in Financial Planning (Undergraduate)

We offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Financial Planning, approved by FP Canada, that covers the core and advanced curriculum. This Certificate contains the same courses as you would take in the financial planning stream portion of the B Com. Any student wishing to take this Certificate needs to meet York University standards for admission, as well as prerequisites in the Certificate, but it would not require an entire degree. A student has to take a minimum of six courses (each one is 12 weeks long) to get the Certificate. There are several prerequisite courses, so this minimum number of courses will apply only to students who have already taken a number of university-level business, economics and finance courses. You may count these courses from other universities as part of the certificate, as long as you take at least six courses at York from the list, and do not use the York courses as part of any other degree at York. You will have noticed that in previous paragraph and elsewhere we refer to seven courses in the program, but only six are required for a certificate. If you are following the certificate route it is possible that you would have taken a course already at York, or at some other institution, that is equivalent to one of the seven courses, and hence you would need only the other six to get the Certificate.

Note: The Financial Planning Certificate is only open to applicants who already have an undergraduate university degree or who are enrolled in a degree program at York already.

BCom with Emphasis in Financial Planning

Starting in 2022, a bachelor’s degree is required for to earn the CFP® designation. If you do not have a degree, then your best course of action is to complete a full undergraduate program.

Core and Advanced Curriculum Education Program for the CFP®

Students who wish to qualify for the CFP must successfully complete a certified Core Curriculum Education Program and an Advanced Curriculum. Our certified BCom Honours Finance degree program and the Financial Planning Certificate provide the following six courses that are the required core and advanced curriculum, as approved by FP Canada:

  • AP/ADMS 3520 Introduction to Canadian Taxation
  • AP/ADMS 3531 Personal Investment Management
  • AP/ADMS 3541 Personal Financial Planning
  • AP/ADMS 4505 Retirement and Estate Planning
  • AP/ADMS 4507 Insurance and Other Finance Topics
  • AP/ADMS 4506 Professional Financial Planning (FP Institute’s PEP program)

Descriptions for all the finance courses in SAS can be found on the York Courses website.

When are these courses offered?

  • ADMS 3520, 3531 and 3541 are offered in all three semesters and are generally offered in the evenings (7 – 10 pm), during the day, and online. These courses are pre-requisites for ADMS 4505 and ADMS 4507.
  • ADMS 4505 and 4507 are offered once a year – usually in the Fall semester. Both are offered online and both are pre-requisites for 4506.
  • 4506 is offered online once per year – usually in the Winter semester.

In addition to the required CFP® curriculum, we offer additional courses that are relevant for financial planners:

  • ADMS 4501 Advanced Portfolio Management
  • ADMS 4502 Ethics for Investment Managers
  • ADMS 4508 Money Behaviours and Client Communication
  • ADMS 4537 Sustainable Investing
  • ADMS 4561 Personal Income Taxation

Outstanding Instructors

SAS has an impressive roster of instructors teaching courses in the financial planning stream:

  • Several of our tenure stream faculty members are CFP® Professionals and three are Fellows of FP Canada in recognition of their contributions to the financial planning profession in Canada.
  • Several part-time instructors work in various areas of practice and hold CFP®, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designations.
  • Our faculty members are engaged in rigorous academic research and have been recognized with grants and awards for their research in financial planning.
  • Two faculty members have been recognized with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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