A photograph of a couple with a financial planner

Financial Planning

Becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ entitles you to use the distinguished CFP® mark, setting you apart in the financial services industry.

Duke University’s Certificate in Financial Planning program enables you to satisfy the CFP Board’s education requirement, which is one of four requirements necessary to sit for the CFP® exam. This program benefits both experienced professionals seeking to advance their careers and those entering the field for the first time. Taught by working professionals, our accelerated learning option allows you to master the eight major domains covered on the CFP® exam in nine months.

Upon successful completion of all required courses, you will receive a Certificate in Financial Planning.

Please note: While the Certificate in Financial Planning program is a CFP Board registered program, it is not a program geared toward teaching test-taking tips and strategies for passing the CFP® exam

Program Highlights include:

  • Live Vitual format
  • Convenient alternate weekend format 
  • Compressed 9 month schedule**
  • Multiple Instructors who themselves have passed the CFP® Exam and are industry practitioners
  • Online resources such as question bank/videos etc. 
  • Program registered with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. 
  • Graduates eligible for CFP® Exam
  • Certificate earned from Duke University, a recognized leader in educational excellence

*A US level 4-year Bachelor’s degree is required for admission to this program. Consideration for exception to the degree requirement may be considered depending on financial work experience. Contact the Program Manager to discuss.

**Due to holidays or other scheduling conflicts, this program may, on occasion, require class meetings on successive weekends.

more: expand to show more details about this program
less: collapse to show fewer details about this program

Curriculum & Course Details

General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation

This course is an introduction to the concepts and profession of personal financial planning. The student will gain an understanding of the role and responsibilities of a financial planner, along with some analytical skills to aid in financial decision-making. Topics in the course include the financial planning process, securities regulation and licensing, CFP Board ethics, the economic environment, the time value of money, and planning for special situations such as a college education, the formation and operation of a closely held business, and disability. The course also previews wealth accumulation, tax, retirement, and estate planning techniques

Risk Management, Insurance, and Employee Benefits Planning

This course introduces you to the concept of risk management and its role in the financial planning process. Risk management includes all of the actions clients can take to minimize risk. Insurance is one of the key risk management options available and functions as an important tool for you to consider when evaluating the various risks to which your clients may be exposed. The material in this course discusses the various forms of property and casualty insurance, which include homeowners, auto, commercial, and professional liability insurance.

Investment Planning

This course follows sound investment principles as a primary means of wealth accumulation for financial planning clients. In turn, the process of wealth accumulation provides the funds necessary to achieve many financial planning goals. In this course, you will learn investment concepts as well as effective investment planning strategies for helping your clients accumulate wealth. Asset allocation principles are reviewed, modern portfolio management theory is explained, and the importance of tax-efficient investing is considered.

Retirement Savings and Income Planning

This course deals with the single most important issue millions of people will be facing in the years to come: affording to retire. Normally, the amount of money necessary to achieve this goal is substantial and, just like the satisfaction of any other financial goal, requires significant planning. It covers determination of the retirement savings need and subsequently considers both government and employer-sponsored methods of providing for one’s retirement. Distribution options from corporate retirement plans are reviewed, as well as the suitability of an investment portfolio in ensuring a comfortable and profitable retirement.

Tax Planning

This course discusses effective income tax planning strategies, whether personal or related to clients’ business interests. This course reviews tax planning basics—individual income tax calculations, deductions, exemptions, and credits. Key topics include the disposition of property, cost recovery, passive activity losses, charitable contributions, and alternative minimum tax. Because planners often assist clients who own businesses, the tax characteristics of various business entities and tax planning for those businesses are also discussed in this course. Finally, trust and estate taxation techniques are presented.

Estate Planning

Once the wealth accumulation process is complete, distributing excess wealth is a primary goal for many financial planning clients. This course presents the challenges of effective estate planning raised by tax code changes. It begins with a consideration of the estate planning process and the documents of transfer. The course then addresses the unified transfer tax system and the calculation of an individual’s estate tax liability. Estate planning techniques such as trusts, marital and charitable deduction vehicles, and intra-family business and property transfers are then discussed. The course ends with a consideration of postmortem tax planning.

Capstone Case Course (Financial Planning Development)

Students taking this course will be exposed to case analysis and integration of the six (6) major areas of personal financial planning (General Financial Planning Principles, Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning, and Estate Planning).

  • Instruction will be a combination of classroom and online learning.

  • The classroom learning Instruction will be delivered over a series of sessions.

  • Students will also be responsible to review online content, presenting material in each of the six major topic areas.

  • Students will submit a final project consisting of a completed template and oral presentation.

show the curriculum
hide the curriculum



Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies-Professional Certificate Programs- requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Admission Criteria

  • A four-year degree from an accredited university*
  • Computer literacy
  • Access to a computer throughout program
  • A valid email account
  • Fluency in English, including reading and writing
  • Registration complete via either phone or online
  • Resume/biography submitted prior to start of program (email to dukecfp@duke.edu)
  • Full tuition payment or loan approved prior to start date of program

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion,to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

*A request for exception to the four-year degree admission requirement must be made in writing to the Program Director. Approval of exception is at the discretion of the Program Director.

*Students with a degree earned from a university outside the United States will need to verify eligibility of their institution with the CFP Board before applying for this program.

Certificate requirements

Successful completion of Duke University's program fulfills the education requirement for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Certification.

Completion of this program, while excellent preparation for the exam, does not guarantee success on the exam itself.

There are no mandatory attendance requirements for this program. However, it is expected that each student will attend classes to the best of his or her ability, and will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the materials by achieving a minimum score in each course. Courses one through six include multiple quizzes and exams. Course seven includes quizzes and group presentations.

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the instructor to make up missed exams and/or assignments. Instructors will work with students so long as the student is able to complete the test(s) within a timeframe established by the instructor. There is a strict deadline for completing each exam.

Successful completion of the Duke program indicates a minimum score of 70 was achieved for each course and tuition was paid in full.

Upon completion of the entire program students will receive an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Duke University.**

Official Duke Continuing Studies transcripts are available upon request for $10/copy.

**The certificate is non-credit thus it does not apply toward a degree.

show the requirements
hide the requirements

Schedule & Registration


Click here for schedule.


Be sure you meet registration Requirements.

  1. Refer to the Tuition and Payment section for tuition information.
  2. Note our Refund Policy under the Policies and Procedures section.

Registration methods:

  1. Register Online using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  • Note: If you are using the payment plan (2 payments equaling full tuition paid prior to start of the program, you must call to register.
  1. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST).

Please email a resume/biography denoting four-year degree to dukecfp@duke.edu.

You will receive confirmation of your acceptance.

Questions? Call 919-684-6259 

show the schedule and registration
hide the schedule and registration

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the time commitment required for study outside of the classroom?

Depending upon previous experience and education, a student should spend  a minimum of 1-2 hours outside of the classroom for every hour in the classroom.

This program requires readings and homework problems for each weekend of class. Multiple quizzes/exams and/or cases may also be administered during each course except for the Capstone course, in which students will be graded on both group presentations and individual cases/tests.

Students who intend to take the national CFP® Exam should expect to dedicate at least 200 hours of extra study beyond the study requirements for the Duke program.

How long is the program and how much does it cost?

This is a nine-month program consisting of seven courses: General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation, Risk Management,  Insurance and Employee Benefits, Investment Planning, Retirement Planning, Income Tax Planning, Estate Planning and a Capstone Case Course in Financial Planning. Courses are required to be taken sequentially as each course is designed to lay the groundwork for the following course. Course seven, Capstone, integrates all the components from the previous six courses.

Full payment of $5495 for the program is required in advance of the start date as this program is purchased as one package. Two payment installments of $2745 and $2750 can be made prior to program start. The Duke program does not accept payments per course.

Students securing loans, WIA funding, etc., to pay for the program must receive funding approvaland must notify Continuing Studies of such approval, prior to the program start date. Information regarding program costs, loans and other funding sources is available in the Tuition & Payment section. 

How do I order materials and receive other program participation information?

10 - 14 days prior to program start, the materials list and directions for ordering will be emailed to you by the Program Director. Books are purchased on a course-by-course basis.
Other orientation materials such as syllabus, directions and required calculator will also be emailed to you.

Why choose Duke University’s Certificate in Financial Planning program over another program?

The Duke program is a unique collaboration between Duke University and College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company. Duke’s reputation for educational excellence combined with College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company content-based expertise ensures that students will receive the highest standard of training and instruction. College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company is the leading provider of review materials and courses for the CFP® Exam.

Other benefits offered by the Duke certificate program:

  • Instructors, themselves, have passed the CFP® Exam and are industry practitioners in some capacity.
  • Students are exposed to different financial perspectives as multiple instructors teach during the program.
  • Instructors are trained to present the material in a manner that allows students to use their study time outside of class in an efficient and effective manner.
  • Multiple readings/problems/tests and/or cases are administered during each course enabling the student to quickly focus on weak areas and to adjust study habits accordingly. Repetition via classroom lectures, homework and consistent testing strengthens the student’s learning process.
  • In just nine months, students of the Duke program can complete the education requirement for CFP® certification, graduate, and apply for the CFP® Exam

How many students are typically enrolled in the Duke program?

Enrollment numbers vary between 10 and 25.

Why choose a (non-credit) certificate program?

Duke University has elected to offer this program as a certificate because such programs allow students to concentrate their studies to the specific content area relevant to their profession. By focusing the coursework, students are able to complete their education requirement in only nine-months and at a significantly lower cost than degree-granting programs.

I have already completed classes in a self-study program. Can I transfer course(s) to your program?

Duke University will allow students to transfer one course from another CFP Board-registered program. In addition, Duke will offer a tuition reduction of $500 for the exempted course. If granted an exemption from a course, you are still encouraged to attend the class and complete the class assignments to ensure you receive the best possible education and preparation for becoming a financial planner.

Registration for this discount/program cannot commence until the Program Director has been contacted about the discount, has received documentation verifying completion of a course and has given permission to register.

To get this discount, please call (919) 684-6259.

Note: No exemption or transfer applies to the Capstone Course.

What requirements must be met in order to earn the Duke Executive Certificate in Financial Planning?

Students must achieve a minimum score of 70 for each course and tuition must be paid in full. Failure to meet these requirements will delay receipt of the student’s certificate and prolong his/her eligibility to apply for the national CFP® Exam. For more information, see the Requirements section, section “Earning the Certificate.”

What is the process of attaining CFP® certification?

The CFP Board outlines four E’s for CFP® certification: Education, Examination, Experience and Ethics. (A four-year degree is also a requirement to pursue certification.)

  • Education - The Education requirement can be fulfilled by successfully completing Duke’s Executive Certificate in Financial Planning program. Completing the education requirement does not guarantee success on the exam. Additional study is required by the student to prepare for the exam. Certain professionals such as a Ph.D., D.B.A., JD, CFA, CPA, ChFC or CLU may challenge the exam. Once you become a CFP® certificant, you will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
  • Examination - The CFP® Exam is given three times per year in March, July and November. The CFP Board issues a topic list covering nearly 100 financial planning topics a candidate should be prepared to answer at the evaluation level or lower. The CFP Board requires applicants to take all the courses in a CFP Board-registered program such as the Duke program. No coursework substitution is allowed. For information on transferring credits, see question #7 above.
  • Experience - In order to receive CFP® certification, the candidate must meet certain experience requirements. Three years of related work experience is necessary. In addition, this experience must be completed in the 10 years preceding the exam or 5 years after passing the exam.
  • Ethics - CFP® certificants are required to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards. In addition, CFP® certificants are required to disclose to the CFP Board if involved in a criminal or civil proceeding.

Do you provide assistance with employment?

No, we do not provide assistance as our program is only approved to offer the required education component by the CFP board. Students are encouraged to contact financial agencies/firms through their own endeavors to secure employment.

How long are the quizzes and final exam?

The students get 90 minutes per quiz and the final exam is 4 hours. The final exam must be completed one week after the final class date. There are no extensions for this. There are also no secondary exams.

If a student misses a weekend, how long do they have to make up the work?

If a student misses a weekend, they need to work with their instructor to gather the information that they missed. Quizzes and exams must be complete within 7 days from original assignment. Each quiz must be completed in order to move on to the next quiz and to proceed to the final exam.

show the frequently asked questions
hide the frequently asked questions


All instructors in the Executive Certificate of Financial Planning program have passed the CFP® exam. Multiple instructors teach in the program thus offering students the benefit of being exposed to different perspectives of the financial planning industry. Instructors present the material in a manner that allows students to utilize their time efficiently and effectively outside of the classroom, thus helping students succeed in this intensive, fast-paced program.

David Ness, JD, CFP®

Dave began his professional career engaging in a general practice of civil law in Wisconsin. In 1985, after a few years practicing law, he joined the personal financial and tax planning group of an international accounting firm and became a CPA. From there, he moved into the securities industry, first as a wire house financial consultant and then as director of financial planning for regional and independent contractor brokerage firms, becoming a CFP in 1991. He later became president of two broker affiliated trust companies and built a fiduciary business for over 15 years. In 2013, Dave left the corporate world to pursue a lifelong ambition to teach at the post-secondary education. He was an adjunct professor of business law and is currently a member of the adjunct faculty for the College For Financial Planning.


Tom Pemberton, CFA®, CFP®

Tom owns and runs Pemberton Financial Planning, specializing in portfolio management, risk management and financial planning. Prior to opening his own business, Tom worked for Bank of America as Senior Vice President-Senior Trader Federal Funds/Euro Dollars. In this position he was responsible for managing the bank’s cash position at the Federal Reserve. He also was a Senior Euro Dollar Term Book Manager & Foreign Currency Arbitrage Trader, responsible for managing term Euro book of $1 to $2 billion size.

Tom has a BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. He attended the National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University in Illinois and the National Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Geoffrey W. White, CFP®

Geoffrey W. White is the owner and managing member of Capital Strategies Group, LLC. CSG is a unique family owned comprehensive wealth management firm offering traditional and non-traditional investments, estate planning, insurance solutions and tax planning. Our experienced and personable team assists individuals, families and businesses through:

  • Creative portfolio construction and management that reduces market volatility while improving returns through non-traditional investments.
  • Appropriate and coordinated estate and succession planning that produces efficient asset transition.
  • Effective use of insurance and tax strategies to compliment investment and estate needs.

Geoff is a Certified Financial Planner and co-founder of Capital Strategies Group. He specializes in comprehensive financial planning and assisting clients in applying recommendations and financial strategies. Geoff also works as an instructor for Kaplan Professional Education in their CFP Board-Registered program, teaching CFP candidates insurance, investments, estate planning, taxation and retirement planning. Geoff holds a Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Business/Finance. And a Master of Science in Financial Services from Institute of Business and Finance. He also holds a designation as Chartered Financial

Consultant. Geoff lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife and five children. You can contact Geoff at geoffrey.white@cffp.edu.

William P. Yurkovac, CFP®

William P. Yurkovac, CFP® has provided a wide range of financial planning and consulting services specializing in estate planning, wealth management and preservation.

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Bill attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education. Bill received his certification in 1990 and has over thirty-seven years of experience in financial planning as an independent financial advisor. Currently, Bill is enjoying semi-retirement which allows more time to be devoted to family and teaching endeavors.

Bill has served as an instructor in all of the courses in the CFP® certification program of study as well as review courses for the certification examination since 1998. He also has served on the Board of Directors of several community based non-profit organizations and as a mentor in the Take Stock in Children program.

He and his wife, Leslie, are residents of Naples, Florida and have four children and four grandchildren.

show the instructors
hide the instructors

Tuition & Funding Sources



Books and Financial Calculator are not included in the tuition. You should budget $800 for required books and $100 for calculator.

Duke Employee Discount

• $100 off the fee of $5495
Duke employee pays fee of $5395
• Student must register and pay tuition in full or have loan “certified” by Duke Continuing Studies, prior to the program start date, in order to reserve space in the program for that term.
• Questions:  Contact Program Manager at 919-684-2601

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered.* You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.

*Exception: Duke employee, upon furnishing documentation of a course completion in another approved Financial Planning Board of Standards’ registered program, and with permission of the Program Manager, may be eligible for an additional one-time $500 reduction in tuition. Contact Program Manager for more information.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?

Contact the Program Manager for details.

Payment Plan

A payment plan, for those not securing a loan, is available for the tuition of $5,495*:

  • Due at initial Registration: $2745
  • Remainder of tuition due by the first day of class: $2750

To establish this plan call 919-684-6259.

Please note: If full payment is not received by the first day of class, student will not be permitted to attend the program.

*Tuition does not include books. Book (and calculator) information will be emailed within 10 days prior to program start date.

Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.


Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.

Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-degree offerings. Therefore, loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) cannot be construed to imply any degree-seeking status.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition, regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, and click the I’m ready to apply buttonThe following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

  • Under Loan Needs, select Student and then Undergraduate degree.
  • Select Career training school. 
  • Select North Carolina from the drop down menu.
  • Under name of school begin typing DUKE PROFESSIONAL, then select DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 when it populates.
  • Click Continue.
  • Next, You've confirmed that you want a Smart Option Student Loan for DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES will appear.
  • Click Continue.
  • Fill out Basic Information.
  • Fill out Permanent Address section.
  • Fill out School Information.
    • DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school.
    • Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study.
    • Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options.
    • Select Half Time for Enrollment Status.
    • Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level.
    • Enter your Loan period begins and loan period end dates.
    • Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion.
    • Enter loan amount. NOTE: This may not exceed the cost of tuition.
    • Estimated financial assistance should be $0.00.
    • Under Loan request, click Use calculated need.
    • Do not check any box in typical school expenses.
  • Follow the remaining loan application prompts.

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

Please note that Wells Fargo is no longer accepting new applications for their private student loans. However, students with an outstanding balance on a Wells Fargo private student loan may be eligible to be borrowers on a new private loan. See here for details.

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.


The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field and occupation. For more information, please visit the MyCAA website.

Wire Transfers

Contact our registration office at learnmore@duke.edu for details on how to send wire transfers. Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.

show tuition and payment options
less tuition and payment options

Policies & Procedures

Students who withdraw prior to the start of the 2nd weekend, will receive a 90% refund, minus a $100 processing fee. All withdrawals after the 2nd weekend receive no refund, but student may request of Program Director to enroll in the next program offering. The Program Director has discretion to determine whether student can be re-enrolled. Send withdrawal and refund requests to CFP Program Manager (dukecfp@duke.edu). In the event a program is cancelled, students will be refunded their tuition in its entirety.

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

show policies and procedures
hide policies and procedures