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Applied Master of Science Program

The Department of Personal Financial Planning (PFP) offers a Master’s of Science (MS) degree for students desiring 100% online (the distance program) as well as the students who desire on-campus (the resident program) educational experiences.

Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance

The Distance Program:

Due to recent administrative changes, starting Fall 2021, we are not accepting new students into the  GPIDEA Distance program.  We are exploring options and hope to provide online graduate programs again in near future.  Meanwhile, we encourage those interested in a distance certificate or master’s program to contact the GPIDEA program coordinator at If you are interested in the Resident MS or Certificate programs, please contact Dr. Starla Ivey at

This program is for students who want to earn the MS degree 100% online through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance [GP IDEA], an inter-institutional program that shares graduate faculty resources online. Completion of this degree allows one to sit for the CFP® Examination to become a Certified Financial Planner. Students enrolled in the program should create an account with the CFP Board. More information can be found from here.

When a student selects Mizzou as their home institution, the University of Missouri becomes their gateway to GP IDEA resources.

Advising and registration take place in communication with Personal Financial Planning faculty and program coordinators at Mizzou Online. All courses are listed on a student’s transcript as University of Missouri graduate courses but can be taught by graduate faculty located at any university within the Great Plains Alliance (Iowa State, Montana State, North Dakota State, Oklahoma State, South Dakota State, University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska). The University of Missouri grants the degree or certificate for those who are admitted through our graduate school.

Coursework cost is set by members of the Great Plains Alliance and is the same across all institutions that are part of the Alliance. This cost typically differs from resident tuition and fee rates at member institutions. Some financial aid is available. Questions about the distance program can be directed to Dr. Starla Ivey.

The Resident Program:

This program is for students who view the MS as their terminal degree and plan to work as a financial services professional following graduation. The program focuses on understanding issues and solving practical problems in the financial services industry. The program is 36 credits and has no thesis component, but requires a practicum and capstone course that focuses on case studies. A final project for the degree will be determined between the advisor and the students. This program is registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. It meets the CFP Board’s education requirement and is designed to help students prepare to sit for the CFP® exam.

Download the Resident Master’s Degree Program Handbook (PDF)

Advising and registration take place in communication with Personal Financial Planning faculty and the MU Graduate School.

Tuition and associated fees are listed at the MU Cashier’s Office. Questions about the program can be directed to Dr. Starla Ivey.

How to Apply for Both Distance and Resident Programs:

Apply online at: University of Missouri Graduate School website. The review process will not start until the application is complete.

  • Submit the following:
    • Official Transcript(s)
    • Three Letters of Recommendations
    • Your resume
    • A statement of purpose (why you want to pursue an advance degree and how it will further your career)
    • Resume
    • A 2-minute video about to show about who you are, why you want to pursue MS degree in Mizzou PFP, and what your career goals are.
  • Official TOEFL* scores or IELTS (sent directly from the testing services), the department requires minimum TOEFL scores of 80 IBT and the writing score minimum of 17, or 6.5 of IELTS is recommended. See more information on minimum scores from the Language Requirements of the Graduate Studies office.
  • Note: No entrance exams are required.

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