Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

  • Tailor your qualification and select bridging courses specifically outlined in FASEA’s education requirements including ethics and professionalism, financial advice regulatory and legal obligations, and behavioural finance: client and consumer behaviour.
  • Choose a qualification that best suits existing financial advisers seeking a bridging program; or those who are seeking a pathway into UniSA Online’s Graduate Diploma and UniSA’s Masters of Finance (Financial Planning) degree (offered through UniSA Business).
  • Study up to four advanced financial planning courses and choose electives in areas such as investment management, regulatory and legal obligations, estate planning, risk management and insurance, superannuation, and tax.
  • Study 100% online and complete your degree in six months full-time, or part-time equivalent.
  • Use your degree as a pathway into the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s (FPA) CFP® Certification Program.
  • UniSA Business is in the top one per cent worldwide* and has been awarded an overall five stars for excellence in the QS Stars Ratings 2019. 

(*UniSA Business is one of just ten institutions in the country and 189 globally to be accredited by EQUIS, from a total pool of over 16,500 Business Schools worldwide, EFMD, February 2020.)


This qualification can serve as a bridging program for existing financial advisers who already hold an approved or relevant qualification and are only required to study a selection of remaining courses to meet education requirements.

Our program embeds core bridging courses that have been specifically outlined in FASEA’s education standards. These include ethics and professionalism, financial advice regulatory and legal obligations, and behavioural finance: client and consumer behaviour. Depending on your requirements, you may need to undertake one, or all, of these courses.

While FASEA has not approved graduate certificates from any education provider, the Standards Authority will formally recognise students who have successfully completed accredited courses within UniSA Online’s Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning. It’s an ideal study option if you’re looking to top up your education in a few select areas, without having to put life on hold or take time off work.


  • New entrant: A financial adviser listed on the Financial Adviser Register after 31 December 2018.
  • Existing adviser: Any person who provided financial advice between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2019.
  • Relevant degree: 8 subjects at AQF 7,8 or 9 that contain at least 8 courses in one or more of the designated fields of study in any combination – financial planning, accounting, taxation law (as defined by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), finance law, finance, business law (as defined by the TPB), investment, estate law, banking, and economics.

What you'll learn

Our Graduate Certificate consists of four advanced financial planning courses which can be completed in six months full-time or part-time equivalent. The courses you’re required to complete will depend on the level of education you currently have.

Depending on your individual requirements, you’ll study either one FASEA-approved bridging course (ethics and professionalism), or all three of bridging courses outlined below, plus an additional elective (if this is required). Electives include topics such as investment management, regulatory and legal obligations, estate planning, risk management and insurance, superannuation, and tax.

Ethics and professionalism

Our ethics and professionalism course develops your understanding of the complexities and importance of ethical principles and corporate governance in a demanding global business environment. You’ll cover topics such as ethical factors influencing the performance of financial services, ethical decision-making models, as well as FASEA and the professional code of ethics.

Financial advice regulatory and legal obligations

The financial advice regulatory and legal obligations course equips you with the knowledge and practical skills required to comply with Australia’s financial services legal and regulatory regimes. You’ll analyse the law governing financial products and advice, financial licensing and the professional standards that apply to financial intermediaries.

Behavioural finance: client and consumer behaviour*

Understanding client behaviours and communication styles is critical for future financial advisers to build and maintain long-term relationships. You’ll learn to apply behavioural and psychological insights to better understand client needs and provide tailored advice for people with all levels of financial literacy.

*Students who intend to undertake the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning should not choose behavioural finance: client and consumer behaviour as an elective in this program.

Study hours

Studying 100% online means you can engage with course materials at your own pace, whenever it suits you – there is no need to be online at a particular time. It’s flexible around your life so you can control your study schedule week by week. As a general rule, we recommend 10 to 15 hours of study a week for each course.


All assessments, including exams (if required), are 100% online, meaning you’ll never need to travel to submit an assignment or find an exam venue.

Some of your assessments may include:

  • an industry-relevant project
  • an online presentation
  • essays and reports

Degree structure

First year

  • UO Ethics and Professionalism (BUSS 5447), Note(s): 1
  • UO Introduction to Financial Planning G (BANK 5048), Rule(s): 3 OR
  • Elective, Rule(s): 2
  • Elective, Rule(s): 2
  • Elective, Rule(s): 2

Why Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning

You’ll learn from expert academics who are current practising financial advisers themselves – including an award-winning academic who was named Financial Standard’s Power50 most influential financial advisers in Australia.* Your studies are enriched in so many ways as you’ll gain unique insights from professionals who know the ins and outs of the industry and understand the unique challenges and opportunities that financial advisers face today.

As one of the leading providers of accounting and finance education in Australia, your course content has been developed in conjunction with leading industry experts to ensure that what you learn is practical and relevant. Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to cutting-edge research associated with meeting client-specific needs in light of complex regulatory requirements.

Our Centre for Applied Finance and Economics provides multi-disciplinary research on the dynamics of domestic and global economies and financial systems, bringing together economists, accountants and finance specialists from a range of backgrounds.

Extend your network and career by connecting with a senior business professional as part of our Executive Partners Program. This is a unique opportunity for you to engage with a highly successful industry executive to enhance your studies and career. Our Executive Partners are active, semi-retired or recently retired professionals who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you achieve your career goals.

UniSA Business is the only business school in South Australia accredited by both AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and EFMD (EQUIS) – the world’s leading accreditation bodies recognising excellence in business education and research at a global level. These dual accreditations demonstrate the high standards we hold across all areas such as teaching, student learning and research, as well as our commitment to continually improving the quality of our programs.

*UniSA Online Financial Planning academic, Geoff Pacecca was awarded the Financial Standard’s Power50 most Influential Financial Advisers in Australia, 2018.

Your career

Under new national regulations, all financial planners currently working in the industry will need to complete a FASEA-approved program by 2024 in order to continue practising. People looking to start their career as a financial planner will need to study a FASEA-approved program from January 2019.

In addition to new education standards, FASEA has also outlined new professional requirements. This includes completing a professional year (for new advisers only), passing a national exam, undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and completing a code of ethics course.

If you’re an existing financial adviser, your qualification opens up many more opportunities in your business and career.

If you’re looking to make a career change, there are a range of roles you could pursue in diverse businesses. There are opportunities in financial institutions, investment banks, superannuation and insurance funds, financial advisory firms – or you choose to be self-employed and set up your own practice. Financial planners can also specialise in a number of areas, such as tax planning, risk management or retirement planning.

Careers to consider include:

  • Qualified financial planner or financial adviser: help clients to meet short-term and long-term financial goals; assist with legal and financial documents, financial laws and regulatory requirements; provide advice on personal investments and security planning, estate planning, tax planning, employee benefits planning and insurance planning; and deliver a high-quality customer experience.
  • Investment adviser or manager: develop financial plans and investment strategies for individuals and organisations; monitor investment performance and review investment plans based on needs and changes in the market; buy and sell stocks and bonds for clients; and provide advice on tax implications, securities, insurance cover, pension plans and real estate.
  • Insurance broker: research and review available finance and insurance products to meet client requirements; arrange insurance, home loan mortgages and other types of finance for clients through banks, lenders, financiers and insurance companies; help clients understand insurance policy conditions, risks, premium rates and benefits; prepare reports for underwriters and liaise with other insurance professionals.
  • Estate planner: provide clients with legal, financial and accounting advice to ensure long term financial protection of their estate during life and post-mortem; help ensure any assets are dispersed according to the wishes of the deceased in an effective way; and develop estate plans which may include preparing wills, life insurance, family trusts and manage tax implications for beneficiaries.
  • Superannuation consultant: provide compliant financial advice in areas such as personal and business superannuation, retirement income stream products, pensions rollovers and annuities; interpret new legislation changes and consider the impact of those changes on the portfolio of funds, help clients understand merits of Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF), and develop retirement plan strategies.  
  • Wealth manager: deliver holistic wealth management strategies and plans to help clients grow and sustain long-term financial goals; provide services across a range of areas including financial planning, investment management, and financial advice on pensions, trusts, inheritances, estate planning, retirement planning, and tax bands; and possess knowledge of software solutions and key platforms in the industry.
  • Client relationship manager: proactively engage clients by providing high value, holistic and strategic financial advice; identify opportunities to build new client relationships and strengthen existing ones; research the latest products and regulations; and focus on delivering high-quality customer experience.

Study On Demand

Our online career-focused degrees give you full control and ultimate flexibility over your study. It’s Study On Demand, on your schedule, on your terms.

  • Designed specifically for your online learning
    Designed by a team of academic and online experts, our course materials are delivered in an interactive way using innovative digital technology and state-of-the-art teaching and learning resources.
  • Study when it suits you
    Our online degrees support students who lead busy lifestyles. With four start dates a year in January, March, July and September there is no need to interrupt your life.
  • Take control of your study schedule
    With all content available from day one of your course, you have the power to plan your study schedule in advance. 
  • Finish each course in 10 weeks
    Our courses are delivered within 10-week terms to keep you motivated throughout your degree. Study two courses a term or just one.
  • 100% online study
    You won’t need to come onto campus for coursework, assessments or exams. Complete all study for your degree where it suits you.
  • Get the help you need
    Whether you need help with course content or assessments, we offer the academic support and services you need to be successful in your studies.
  • Adjust your study to your life
    There’s no need to interrupt work and family life or spend money on travel and student accommodation. Organise study around your life.
  • Learn from world-renowned academics
    Get a degree that’s designed and taught by leading academics and industry professionals.
  • 100% online interactive learning environment
    Our interactive online learning environment supports all your study needs. Log in anytime, on any device, wherever it suits you.
  • Access a library of over 700,000 digital resources
    Access a library of more than 700,000 digital resources including e-books, videos and journal articles. Our Ask the Library virtual service can help you locate, access, evaluate, use and reference a range of information resources.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS total [6.5]
  • IELTS reading [6.0]
  • IELTS writing [6.0]
  • IELTS speaking [6.0]
  • IELTS listening [6.0]

IT Requirements

As a general rule of thumb, any desktop or laptop computer purchased in the past three years should be capable of meeting your online learning needs. While mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones will be able to access most of your online course content, there are likely to be elements of most courses where we recommend you use a desktop or laptop computer. Your computer should be able to:

  • run a modern browser (Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 24, Safari 5, or Chrome 32 or later versions)
  • run Java and in some cases Flash (devices running on Apple's iOS operating system, such as iPads, iPhones, do not run Flash)
  • run programs to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • use a web camera and headset (or ear pods with microphone)
  • Some UniSA Online degrees require an online exam. The online exam software – Remote Proctor Now – has specific capability requirements. Please refer to the system requirements prior to conducting your exam to ensure your computer is compatible.

Access free IT software and resources

As a UniSA Online student, you'll:

  • Get free access to the full Office 365 ProPlus suite, which includes full versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access and Lync software. Install the full suite on up to five different devices (PC and Mac compatible). 
  • Get 1Tb of personal storage that syncs with your PC or mobile device through OneDrive - it's like an extra hard drive that allows you to open any of your files from any of your devices, whenever you need them. 
  • Get free access to LinkedIn Learning - Access more than 5000 video courses on a broad range of topics such as the Microsoft Office suite, time management and study skills, health and wellbeing, communication and presentation skills, photography, film making and designing your own games or mobile apps.
  • Be able to connect with others using Skype for Business, Yammer and the Outlook Web App.
  • There are some degrees that have specialised software requirements. We've made this software available to students to access for free - you'll be able to download and install any of the required programs on your own device anywhere and anytime.

Check your device

Our computer system test will determine if your device has the base system resources and software required to study online. It'll also check the speed of your internet connection.

How to apply

The application process is easy – just follow these simple steps:

1. Submit an online enquiry

If you're ready to apply, the first step is to fill out and submit our online enquiry form. Here you'll be asked a series of questions to see if you're eligible. Following your online enquiry, one of our Degree Advisers will contact you at your preferred time to discuss the application process.

2. Speak to a Degree Adviser and start your application

If you're eligible, you'll receive an email outlining the entry requirements and the relevant documentation you need in order to be considered.

In order to verify your academic qualifications, you'll need to upload relevant documents like your official parchment, certificates or transcripts. If you have work experience, you will need to upload your CV as well as any other documents like work references, professional recognition or accreditation or your training certification.

Your email will contain information on the specific documents you need to provide as well as a link to begin your application. You'll be asked to create an account and set your own password.

3. Complete your application and send through your documents

In order to proceed with your conditional offer, you’ll need to complete your application and provide the required evidence of your previous study or work experience.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

The University of South Australia’s 100% online degrees give you full control and flexibility over your study choices. With more than 25 years of experience providing online and distance education, yo ... Read More

The University of South Australia’s 100% online degrees give you full control and flexibility over your study choices. With more than 25 years of experience providing online and distance education, you can be confident you’re gaining a high-quality university qualification from a globally-recognised institution. Read less