Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning

Course Information

View entry requirements, career options and what’s available to you, through our extensive student support network below.

Entry requirements

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in a similar discipline; OR
  • Completion of an Australian Graduate Certificate (or equivalent) in a similar discipline; OR
  • Applicants with a minimum five (5) years approved work experience will be considered for admission to this course.

FASEA education requirements

This information outlines the educational requirements for existing financial advisers in order to become FASEA accredited. It also outlines the requirements for new financial advisers wishing to enter the field.

New entrant

  • New entrant Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units)

Existing adviser with approved degree

  • Existing adviser with approved degree Bridging Course (1 unit) - Professionalism and Ethics

Existing adviser with relevant degree

  • Existing adviser with relevant degree Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning (4 units)

Existing adviser with non-relevant degree

  • Existing adviser with non-relevant degree Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units)

Existing adviser with no degree

  • Existing adviser with no degree Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units)

*Approved degrees can vary depending on the university. Visit FASEA’s website to check their list of approved courses.

Career options

VU Online’s Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning is suitable for both currently practicing financial planners and those who wish to enter the field.

After completing the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning, you will have the skills and knowledge to succeed in a variety of specialised roles within the industry. This can include roles such as:


Typical job titles

  • Financial adviser
  • Financial planner
  • Insurance adviser
  • Superannuation consultant
  • Risk adviser
  • Business development manager
  • Client service officer

You may also choose to continue your studies and complete your Master of Financial Planning, helping you stand out as an expert financial planner.

Student support

VU Online provides you with the support you need, when you need it, during your course. Our support network has a single focus on ensuring you are entirely supported to succeed in your studies.

Our highly experienced academics are responsive and accessible and understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience. You will also be introduced to your very own Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and one-on-one personalised assistance with non-academic matters throughout your course.

You’ll experience the support of your community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Remember, your support network is only a phone call and email away.

Fees and FEE-Help

A Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning from VU Online costs $3,250 per unit*, taking the total for 8 units to $26,000*.

This depends on the number of units you study and whether you are eligible for Advanced Standing, which is assessed after you submit your application.

Note that you may be eligible for the Australian Government’s loan scheme, FEE-HELP. The loans are available to assist eligible full-fee paying students with the cost of a university program. It can be used for all or part of the tuition. To determine your eligibility, visit the FEE-HELP website.

If you are a member of FPA, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on some or all of your units. To find out more, speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors.

*2022 student fees are shown and are subject to change.

For more information on fees and student support, download a brochure.

FPA Members Discount

As part of the FPA Member Rewards program, you can receive a discount of 15% on the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning. This means your fees will be discounted to $2,762.50 per unit.

To find out more, speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors.

How online study works

Studying with VU Online means that you can undertake postgraduate study without having to attend on-campus classes. This makes it easy to fit study around existing commitments including work and family. You will be able to access your coursework, resources, assignment details and individual feedback from facilitators, all from your online learning environment, VU Collaborate.

Chat with fellow students, compare research notes and collaborate on group tasks – it’s all possible with our seamless, community-focused platform.

With VU Online, you will study just one unit at a time under our award-winning Block Model. Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model with this YouTube video.

With VU Online, you can rest assured you will find support from our responsive academics and facilitators, as well as your dedicated Student Success Advisor throughout your study.

How to apply

VU Online has simplified the application process, involving just three key steps.

  1. Speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors, who will help you determine your eligibility for the program and whether it suits your career goals. Our advisor will keep you informed of all the application requirements and what to expect during the process. They can also suggest flexible study plans for your circumstances.
  2. Begin your online application and submit the required documentation. This may include a copy of your CV and academic transcript.
  3. Upon completing your application, you will receive a confirmation email or an email letting you know if you need to provide any additional information.

Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model and how it can empower you to create your own success story.

What you'll study

Risk Management and Estate Planning

This unit applies risk management knowledge and methodologies to the protection and distribution of wealth with effective personal insurances and estate planning. Analysis and exploration of the insurance policies and risk management products is undertaken and matched to the spectrum of client situations in the process of constructing insurance planning advice. The concept of protecting wealth is expanded to include a strong awareness of the role of estate planning. Applications of related law and compliance are built into practical client situations and a Statement of Advice, with insurance and estate planning advice recommendations will be undertaken. Professional skills including negotiating insurance analysis outcomes against costs, succession planning challenges and interpersonal skills related to difficult estate planning conversations, are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussions and metacognitive interactions.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Superannuation and Retirement Wealth Planning

In this unit students will critically review superannuation and retirement planning trends, compare superannuation and self-managed superannuation funds with non-superannuation options, and role play the presentation of retirement planning advice to a mock client. Technical knowledge of superannuation, related tax legislation, building retirement capital, income stream options and social security will be applied to client scenarios and modelled using financial planning software and tools. Client communication skills will be applied to negotiating retirement planning preparation and problems. Professional skills including business awareness and interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Principles of Financial and Investment Planning

The unit combines the higher-order responsibilities and legislative framework governing the provision of financial planning advice with the principles and functions of investing in financial markets. Matters, such as compliance and the relational role of the financial advisor are placed in the context of assessing client investment risk and defending a best-interest, multi-asset portfolio as part of a client’s financial plan. Lessons from economic events and the impact of financial advice failures provide a backdrop to a range of activities including managed fund research, aligning client risk profiles and preferences with investment choices and borrowing strategies for investing. Professional skills including interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction to develop the narratives associated with informing clients of risk, returns, costs and benefits of investing. The design and content of this unit meets the requirements of a FASEA approved degree and is suited for existing advisers, new entrants and career changers entering the professional of financial planning.

Taxation Law of Australia (Bridging)

In this unit, students will acquire technical and working knowledge of the key provisions of Australian Tax Law and apply to a range of problems to determine taxation consequences. Comparisons of tax implications relating to business, individuals and trusts will be undertaken along with research and analysis to develop strategic tax planning solutions. Case scenarios will be employed to develop the students’ understanding of tax avoidance legislation and awareness of the consequences of tax avoidance and their ability to construct tax recommendations and explicate the consequences of unresolved tax problems. Professional skills including business awareness, obligations of the TPB and interpersonal skills related to presenting tax advice are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] approved degree and successful completion of this unit may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement for the financial advisers and planners, to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

This unit aligns to the knowledge requirements of the Tax Practitioners Board.

Professionalism and Ethics (Bridging)

This unit will explore the ethical and professional capacities required of financial planning advisers. The FASEA Code of Ethics and the origins of ethics are investigated along with reflective practice exercises aimed at betterment of the client-adviser relationship and related compliance. Professional skills including leadership, and interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] education pathway for new entrants, career changers and existing financial advisers in the financial planning profession. VU will allow students to enrol in unit as a standalone unit provided their enrolment meets what is stated in VU’s Admissions Policy, Admissions Procedure and English Language Admission Requirements Procedure. The unit contains a mandatory pass component. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual CPD requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Financial Advice Corporation and Commercial Law (Bridging)

This unit will examine the Australian legal system, contract and commercial law and significant elements of Corporations Law related to the licensing requirements of a financial planner and the provision of financial planning advice. The unit has a strong focus on practical applications and uses relevant case law to contextualise the law for financial planning professionals. Professional skills including negotiating on commercial law matters are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] education pathway for new entrants, career changers and existing financial advisers in the financial planning profession. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Behavioural Finance for Financial Advisers

This unit will contextualise behavioural finance theory to the practise of professional financial planning. Established and contemporary research will be explored to build deeper understanding of the motivations, fears, preferences, decision-making biases of clients and advisers. Behavioural finance theories will be used to learn communication techniques, negotiate client uncertainties, manage the ongoing client-adviser relationship and client literacy and financial literacy. Extending this, is an examination of efficient market theory to develop understanding of the irrationalities of investor behaviour and how it applies to client investment planning. The psychology of client engagement will be combined with behavioural finance to build interpersonal skills that empower client engagement and better negotiation of conflict. The content is supported by podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] bridging course and extend the meaning of a client’s wealth to include their behavioural bias for investment. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Financial Plan Construction and Client Management

This capstone unit applies prior knowledge to all elements of the financial planning process including conducting an initial client interview, planning and constructing a full statement of advice and presenting a financial plan to a client. There is a higher-order focus on written and presentation communication aimed at building and managing the client relationship, as well as meet industry standards and expectations of professional financial planning advice. Professional skills including leadership and interpersonal skills, are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in a similar discipline OR
  • Completion of an Australian Graduate Certificate (or equivalent) in a similar discipline OR
  • Applicants with a minimum five (5) years approved work experience will be considered for admission to this course.
Education requirements

FASEA Education Requirements

This table outlines the educational requirements for existing financial advisers in order to become FASEA accredited. It also outlines the requirements for new financial advisers wishing to enter the field.

New entrant Existing adviser with approved degree Existing adviser with relevant degree Existing adviser with non-relevant degree Existing adviser with no degree
New entrant Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units) Existing adviser with approved degree Bridging Course (1 unit) - Professionalism and Ethics Existing adviser with relevant degree Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning (4 units) Existing adviser with non-relevant degree Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units) Existing adviser with no degree Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning (8 units)
 

*Approved degrees can vary depending on the university. Visit FASEA’s website to check their list of approved courses.

Units of study

Units of study

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Risk Management and Estate Planning

This unit applies risk management knowledge and methodologies to the protection and distribution of wealth with effective personal insurances and estate planning. Analysis and exploration of the insurance policies and risk management products is undertaken and matched to the spectrum of client situations in the process of constructing insurance planning advice. The concept of protecting wealth is expanded to include a strong awareness of the role of estate planning. Applications of related law and compliance are built into practical client situations and a Statement of Advice, with insurance and estate planning advice recommendations will be undertaken. Professional skills including negotiating insurance analysis outcomes against costs, succession planning challenges and interpersonal skills related to difficult estate planning conversations, are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussions and metacognitive interactions.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Superannuation and Retirement Wealth Planning

In this unit students will critically review superannuation and retirement planning trends, compare superannuation and self-managed superannuation funds with non-superannuation options, and role play the presentation of retirement planning advice to a mock client. Technical knowledge of superannuation, related tax legislation, building retirement capital, income stream options and social security will be applied to client scenarios and modelled using financial planning software and tools. Client communication skills will be applied to negotiating retirement planning preparation and problems. Professional skills including business awareness and interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Principles of Financial and Investment Planning

The unit combines the higher-order responsibilities and legislative framework governing the provision of financial planning advice with the principles and functions of investing in financial markets. Matters, such as compliance and the relational role of the financial advisor are placed in the context of assessing client investment risk and defending a best-interest, multi-asset portfolio as part of a client’s financial plan. Lessons from economic events and the impact of financial advice failures provide a backdrop to a range of activities including managed fund research, aligning client risk profiles and preferences with investment choices and borrowing strategies for investing. Professional skills including interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction to develop the narratives associated with informing clients of risk, returns, costs and benefits of investing. The design and content of this unit meets the requirements of a FASEA approved degree and is suited for existing advisers, new entrants and career changers entering the professional of financial planning.

Taxation Law of Australia (Bridging)

In this unit, students will acquire technical and working knowledge of the key provisions of Australian Tax Law and apply to a range of problems to determine taxation consequences. Comparisons of tax implications relating to business, individuals and trusts will be undertaken along with research and analysis to develop strategic tax planning solutions. Case scenarios will be employed to develop the students’ understanding of tax avoidance legislation and awareness of the consequences of tax avoidance and their ability to construct tax recommendations and explicate the consequences of unresolved tax problems. Professional skills including business awareness, obligations of the TPB and interpersonal skills related to presenting tax advice are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] approved degree and successful completion of this unit may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement for the financial advisers and planners, to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

This unit aligns to the knowledge requirements of the Tax Practitioners Board.

Professionalism and Ethics (Bridging)

This unit will explore the ethical and professional capacities required of financial planning advisers. The FASEA Code of Ethics and the origins of ethics are investigated along with reflective practice exercises aimed at betterment of the client-adviser relationship and related compliance. Professional skills including leadership, and interpersonal skills are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] education pathway for new entrants, career changers and existing financial advisers in the financial planning profession. VU will allow students to enrol in unit as a standalone unit provided their enrolment meets what is stated in VU’s Admissions Policy, Admissions Procedure and English Language Admission Requirements Procedure. The unit contains a mandatory pass component. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual CPD requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Financial Advice Corporation and Commercial Law (Bridging)

This unit will examine the Australian legal system, contract and commercial law and significant elements of Corporations Law related to the licensing requirements of a financial planner and the provision of financial planning advice. The unit has a strong focus on practical applications and uses relevant case law to contextualise the law for financial planning professionals. Professional skills including negotiating on commercial law matters are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] education pathway for new entrants, career changers and existing financial advisers in the financial planning profession. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Behavioural Finance for Financial Advisers

This unit will contextualise behavioural finance theory to the practise of professional financial planning. Established and contemporary research will be explored to build deeper understanding of the motivations, fears, preferences, decision-making biases of clients and advisers. Behavioural finance theories will be used to learn communication techniques, negotiate client uncertainties, manage the ongoing client-adviser relationship and client literacy and financial literacy. Extending this, is an examination of efficient market theory to develop understanding of the irrationalities of investor behaviour and how it applies to client investment planning. The psychology of client engagement will be combined with behavioural finance to build interpersonal skills that empower client engagement and better negotiation of conflict. The content is supported by podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the requirements of a Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA] bridging course and extend the meaning of a client’s wealth to include their behavioural bias for investment. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of a bridging unit within an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

Financial Plan Construction and Client Management

This capstone unit applies prior knowledge to all elements of the financial planning process including conducting an initial client interview, planning and constructing a full statement of advice and presenting a financial plan to a client. There is a higher-order focus on written and presentation communication aimed at building and managing the client relationship, as well as meet industry standards and expectations of professional financial planning advice. Professional skills including leadership and interpersonal skills, are given attention via podcast interviews with practitioners, structured discussion and metacognitive interaction.

This unit is designed to meet the approved degree requirements of Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority [FASEA]. Successful completion of this unit has the added advantage of satisfying the relevant FASEA education requirements of an approved degree and may count towards the annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to a maximum of 30 CPD hours per year.

 

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Career options

Career options

VU Online’s Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning is suitable for both currently practicing financial planners and those who wish to enter the field. 

After completing the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning, you will have the skills and knowledge to succeed in a variety of specialised roles within the industry. This can include roles such as:

  • Financial adviser 
  • Financial planner
  • Insurance adviser  
  • Superannuation consultant
  • Risk adviser
  • Business development manager
  • Client service officer

You may also choose to continue your studies and complete your Master of Financial Planning, helping you stand out as an expert financial planner.

Student support

VU Online provides you with the academic support you need, when you need it, throughout the course. With four layers of student support, our goal is to ensure you succeed in your studies.

Our highly experienced academics understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience and are responsive and accessible.

You will also have access to a dedicated Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and one-on-one personalised assistance with non-academic matters for the duration of the course. You will experience the support of a community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Your support network is only a phone call or email away.

Frequently asked questions

Can I become a financial planner with a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning?

In order to fulfil the FASEA requirements for financial planners, you are required to have a graduate diploma or master’s degree in financial planning. A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning will not allow you to fulfill the FASEA requirements.

Is this degree approved by FASEA?

Victoria University’s Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning is FASEA approved. The Graduate Certificate and Master of Financial Planning is not FASEA approved.

Do I need to sit exams in this degree?

The units 'Taxation Law (Bridging)' and 'Financial Advice Corporation and Commercial Law (Bridging)' include one invigilated exam each. The remaining ten units do not include exams, but do include other assessments. Please note, from January 1 2022, financial advisers who are 'existing providers' or new financial advisers must pass an exam administered by ASIC (previously FASEA).

Do I need to access specific software in this degree?

Students will need to use XPlan/Iress while studying this degree. Free access to this software will be provided by VU Online.

How much does this degree cost?

Units in our Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning cost $3,250 each. Our Master of Financial Planning includes an additional four units that cost $3,500 each.

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