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  • Bachelor's degree in any field
  • Admission to the MSU Graduate School

How to Apply

  • Fill out an MSU graduate school application ($60)
  • Also required:
    • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
    • a brief resume and a statement of goals, including previous education, professional experience, and plans following completion of the degree
    • Three letters of recommendation

All application materials should be uploaded during the online application process. However, official transcripts should be sent to:

MJ Kabaci, Ph.D.
Montana State University
Department of Health and Human Development
[email protected]

GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required.

Admission Decisions

When materials have been received, the graduate committee at MSU will process your application and contact you with their decision. You may receive one of four decisions:

  1. full admission
  2. full admission, on a waiting list
  3. no admission
  4. conditional admission, subject to resolving deficiencies

A minimum grade point average for undergraduate work is 3.0. If the student's GPA is below a 3.0 (from 2.75 to 3.00), then the student may be given provisional admission. This means that the student may attend MSU (or another institution) and take nine credits of upper level and/or graduate level work with a B or better in each course. Students may use up to six credits of course work toward the graduate degree. Students whose undergraduate GPA is below 2.75 will be denied admittance in general. However, if the student graduated more than 10 years ago and can show experience in the professional arena in the area to be studied, the student may take nine credits of non-degree, upper level and/or graduate level work with a B or better in each course and then ask to be reconsidered for admission.

Can I get credit for courses previously taken?

This is a question that must be answered individually. The GP-IDEA consortium discourages including previous courses because it puts students at a disadvantage when taking the CFP® exam. The exam covers the most current theoretical and factual information, including law and marketplace offerings. Therefore, students must be up to date on each topic in the CFP® series. Given that, however, many students are currently working in one or more of the areas of the CFP® areas of expertise, so an advisor at the student’s home institution can make course substitutions based on the student’s background, work experience and needs. If previous courses were taken from an accredited institution and at a graduate level, then courses will likely be approved for inclusion in the Family Financial Planning Master. If the student has not taken courses at the graduate level and/or from an accredited institution, the student is allowed to challenge up to six credits of the program. The challenge consists of a written test that covers the material in the course to be challenged. Challenge exams must be written individually by the course instructor to cover current material. In order to pass a challenge exam, the exam score must be at 70% or above.

Who should write letters of recommendation?

The letters of recommendation should be from employers, former professors, or perhaps a leader in a professional or service organization. They should speak to your initiative, your tenacity to stick to a difficult goal, your ability to do master's level work, your ability to work with others, and your aptitude in financial planning. (Not all letters have to address all these questions--these are just ideas.) Please don't have relatives or personal friends write the letters.

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