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Financial Planning

Who is this programme for?

The Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning, awarded by University College Dublin (UCD), is a highly regarded postgraduate qualification (level 9), designed for those working in, or who would like to develop a career in, financial planning and wealth management. It is designed for those who wish to develop their financial planning knowledge and skills to the highest international standards.

The programme is specifically designed to provide financial planners with the knowledge and understanding of the applicable regulatory requirements, the mechanisms and purpose of the main investment products and the ability to satisfy their individual clients' financial planning and investment portfolio needs.

The Graduate Diploma also seeks to deepen your technical knowledge of areas such as asset, finance and risk management and provide the tools to develop effective mutually beneficial client relationships.

How you will benefit

This programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills required for a career as a professional financial planner. It will;

•Enhance your knowledge of the constituent disciplines underpinning financial planning including investments, pensions, taxation and estate planning.

•Develop your analytical, problem solving and decision-making skills to produce comprehensive financial planning solutions.

•Enable you to evaluate economic, financial and other relevant data to create integrated financial plans.

•Promote a deep understanding of professional values and ethical issues in financial planning execution.

•Prepare you for the Certified Financial Planner designation qualifying examination

Gateway to the prestigious international designation - Certified Financial Planner professional

Certified Financial Planner professional or CFP® certification is the world's most widely respected financial planning designation and it marks the Certified Financial Planner as being professional, competent, ethical and professional to the highest global standards.

At the end of 2018, there were 181,630 CFP professionals in 26 countries around the globe, including all of the main developed and developing economies. Global numbers have increased by almost 12% over the last two years.

The first cohort of candidates in Ireland were CFP certified (with the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning) in early June 2011. There are now 641 CFP professionals in Ireland.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for the programme are:

Relevant honours degree (second class honours, grade 2 award, minimum) in business or a related discipline


Equivalent relevant professional qualification (e.g.) Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA), with three years' relevant work experience obtained in the banking or financial services industry, Chartered Tax Advisers (CTAs), accountants, solicitors and barristers.

Candidates should also have a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel before starting on the programme.


Holders of the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification qualify for an exemption from the Tax and Estate Planning module.

Professional Body Membership

You must be a member, or become a member of LIA, The Institute of Banking or the Irish Tax Institute to undertake this programme.


The programme acts as a gateway to the prestigious international designation Certified Financial Planner professional.

Financial Planning Standards Board Ireland (FPSB Ireland) requires that a candidate who wishes to become a Certified Financial Planner professional in the Republic of Ireland must;

•Hold the Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) designation and the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning

•Have successfully completed the certification exam set by FPSB Ireland

•Have met the three year experience requirement in financial planning as set out by FPSB Ireland

•Accept continuing obligations for certification, and

•Commit to the ethics and standards required for CFP® professionals.

Continuous Professional Development

If you hold an Institute designation or a designation managed by the Institute CPD hours may be awarded on successful completion of this programme.


This part-time programme is delivered via weekly lectures. Lectures will be offered in the following locations (subject to demand):

•Dublin, city-centre location (evening lectures)

•Portlaoise (lectures are all day Monday)

Students can register for a maximum of two modules per trimester. Each 10 ECTS module comprises of up to 30 lecture hours per trimester.

Further enquiries

Edel Hayden- Programme Manager

Subjects taught

Modules and learning outcomes

01 Financial and Data Analysis for Financial Planning (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

This module provides students with the underpinning financial and data analysis techniques required by the financial planning professional. It will cover the (i) structure and content of financial statements and their impact on valuations (ii) calculation principles behind financial planning products and (iii) data techniques relevant to the macro environment in which financial planning takes place.

02 Tax and Estate Planning (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

This module introduces the fundamentals of the Irish taxation system and international aspects of taxation relevant to financial planning and wealth management. It covers the key taxation provisions and reliefs of the Irish tax legislation relevant to succession and estate planning which are significant for the financial planner.

03 Retirement Planning (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

This module deals with all aspects of retirement provision, public and private, relevant to providing financial advice. It provides you with a macro view of the regulatory environment for pensions. It explores in detail a range of issues including the structure and investment of private arrangements for groups and individuals, insured and non-insured.

04 Asset Management (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

An understanding of robust financial planning and wealth management is an important pre-requisite for meeting customers' financial and lifestyle objectives. This module covers core concepts in modern portfolio theory and marries them with the practical application of tools and techniques to construct and manage client portfolios. It assimilates a range of theoretical and empirical evidence to provide the best solutions when advising customers on investment and wealth management.

05 Risk Management in Financial Planning (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

The predominant part of this module deals with the important topic of risk management in financial planning. It covers the key risks that customers face through their financial life cycle, such as mortality and illness risk, investment risk and longevity risk. The aim of the module is to create advice processes that allow you identify and analyse the key risks for clients; devise appropriate solutions; and communicate those risks and solutions effectively. The module also covers the ethical requirements and responsibilities of the financial planner.

06 Integrated Personal Financial Planning* (NFQ level 9, 10 ECTS)

This is the capstone module of the graduate diploma and has been designed to integrate the learning from the other programme modules. It aims to develop the analytical and synthesis skills required by financial planners when providing comprehensive financial plans. This will be achieved through your active development of a number of case studies and the construction of a comprehensive real-life financial plan.

*Before registering for this module, candidates must have completed the first four modules and be registered for/have completed the Risk Management in Financial Planning module.



Those who successfully complete the course will be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning by UCD. This is a Level 9 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications and carries 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

Candidates who achieve a second class honours grade 2 award in this Graduate Diploma are eligible for the award MSc in Financial Services (level 9) on successful completion of an additional three modules, Risk-Based Financial Management, Behavioural Decision-Making and Winning Business Negotiation Strategies. The MSc in Financial Services is accredited and awarded by UCD (at postgraduate level 9).

Assessment method

Assessment is a combination of continuous assessment and written exams. The pass mark is 40% in all modules in line with UCD academic policy.

Application date

Closing date: Wed 23rd Jan 2019.

Course fee

The fees are €4,400 for the first academic year (€6,600 for the programme in total).

We encourage candidates to register for the full academic year, but if you choose to register on a per module basis, fees are broken down as follows;

Trimester 1 - 2019/2020
•Financial and Data Analysis for Financial Planning - €1,100
•Tax and Estate Planning - €1,100

Trimester 2 - 2019/2020
•Retirement Planning - €1,100
•Asset Management - €1,100

Trimester 3 - 2020/2021
•Risk Management in Financial Planning - €1,100
•Integrated Personal Financial Planning - €1,100

Enrolment and start dates

Please contact the course provider for the next enrolment and start date.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!