Postgraduate Diploma in
Financial Planning

Applications close 30 November

From 2020, PGDip Financial Planning will be live-streamed, enabling you to attend lectures from anywhere in the world.

  • Blended Learning
Course Overview
Course starts January 2020
Application closes Applications open in June

The Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning can be completed in one year. The programme content is covered in four modules. The modules are presented consecutively. From 2020, PGDip Financial Planning will be live-streamed, enabling you to attend lectures from anywhere in the world.

Application closes

South African students: 30 November 2019
ARPL candidates: Applications closed

Note: Students are accepted on a rolling-basis. You will be notified of the success of your application within 10 working days.

13 January 2020
1 Year Programme
14 January – 3 December 2020
Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp

Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp is a senior lecturer who specialises in taxation, financial planning and climate change, as well as a Master Tax Practitioner (SA) and a member of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT). She holds a PhD in Law from the University of Cape Town.

  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements

  • These are the 2020 provisional tuition fees.
Programme tuition fees for 2020 Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R52 885 Request Quote
Students from Southern African Development Community
(SADC) countries
R57 155 Request Quote
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R61 925 Request Quote
Students from the rest of the world R114 205 Request Quote
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission for 2020
Students from South Africa R11 000
Students from Southern African Development Community
(SADC) countries
R28 578
International students from the rest of Africa
(non-SADC countries)
R30 963
International students from the rest of the world R57 103
Application fee for 2020
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students) R 800



This Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning is a sought-after qualification which culminates in the internationally recognised CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) designation. This qualification is presented at NQF Level 8, the same level as an Honours degree. This is the highest designation for financial planners in South Africa and it is also internationally recognised. On completion of USB’s Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, students will be eligible to apply to the FPI to write its entrance exam, known as the Professional Competency Examination.

Core Modules

This course is made up of four core modules:

  • Financial Planning Environment
  • Corporate Financial Planning
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Case Study

USB’s high success rate can be attributed to two factors: We use highly qualified and experienced lecturers (both from academia and practice) and we attract the best students. From 2020, USB offers even greater flexibility to students. All the sessions will be live-streamed. This means you can attend the lectures from anywhere in the country – indeed, from anywhere in the world! As long as you have an internet-linked device, you can participate in the lectures.

This programme is presented in a Blended Learning format, allowing you to study while you work. Classes are presented at the USB campus twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 18:15 to 21:15. Online sessions are available via the ‘glocal’ classroom where students are able to attend class via an internet-linked device in real time from anywhere in the world.

  • Regular applicants:  Relevant Bachelor’s degree at NQF level 6 (old) or 7 (new) or equivalent
  • ARPL candidates: An Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning at NQF level 6 from an FPI-accredited education provider, with at least 5 years’ work experience
  • International students require a SAQA evaluation certificate to evaluate your degree according to South African standards. In this regard please contact SAQA at

Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under ARPL. In order to be admitted to USB’s Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, candidates should be in possession of an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning at NQF 6 plus at least ten years of relevant work experience. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the ARPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective students applying for a Postgraduate Diploma at USB have to adhere to the following:

  • Have at least an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning at NQF 6.
  • Have at least 5 years of working experience after obtaining a school leaving certificate.
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating detailed areas of responsibility as well as information of activities outside the work environment.
  • Provide USB with at least two references (typically current or former line heads) who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities. These references will be required to give a detailed personal reference about the candidate on forms provided by USB.
  • Next, USB’s Admissions Committee (head of the programme and another academic) will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate.
  • If the Committee is of the opinion that the candidate has the abilities to cope with the demands of the Postgraduate Diploma, he/she may be admitted.
  • A recommendation of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification.
  • Note that ARPL candidates need to apply early each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.

Class Profile 2018

Under 25 years
25-30 years
31-36 years
37 years and older
Black African
Arts & Humanities
Information Technology
Natural & Physical Science

Those who want to do the preparation to obtain CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional accreditation. It is therefore aimed at professionals already employed in the financial services industry but who would like to further their career paths.

  • Obtain CFP® professional accreditation: USB’s Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning will enable you to write the Professional Competency Examination of the FPI so that you can obtain professional accreditation as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®). This designation will communicate your expertise and credibility internationally.
  • Earn the trust of your clients: The CFP® professional accreditation, which builds on this Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, allows you to provide financial advice that complies with an increasing number of regulations in an environment in which clients are receiving increasing legal protection and are also becoming more aware of their rights.
  • Invest in your career by establishing yourself as an expert: This postgraduate programme is an investment in your career path as it allows you to establish yourself as an expert in the financial services industry – locally and internationally.

Testimonials from our alumni

Dilshaad Samsodien, PGDip in Financial Planning 2018 (cum laude),

‘What set aside the USB for me was the fact that it wasn’t a distance learning programme. The programme is offered in biweekly classes that are interactive. It is presented by brilliant lecturers who went out of their way to assist you to get through the programme. Now my goal is to write the CFP® Professional Competency Examination (PCE) and then to apply to become a professional member of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI).’

Tamsyn Gradwell, PGDip in Financial Planning 2017 (cum laude),

‘I’ve worked in the financial industry as a financial advisor for almost five years during which I learnt about USB’s PGDip in Financial Planning from colleagues and legal advisors who spoke of its merits and advantages. My motivation for enrolling was to gain credibility in the industry. In my work I am starting to identify more opportunities for financial advisors to engage with clients on a higher level. I am starting to ask clients the right questions. I am able to think like a professional after completing the PGDip in Financial Planning.’


Yes. Please consult the program brochure for our Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) criteria. You must have an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning (NQF6) and relevant work experience. We don’t prescribe a minimum number of years of work – each case is considered on individual merit.

Yes, we offer blended learning, so you can do the programme from any internet-linked device. Each of the four modules has one examination, which you have to write in the university’s exam venues in Sandton or Cape Town.

Essentially, you need a good support structure and the ‘buy-in’ of your employer. We share the whole year’s lecturing schedule and assessment dates on Orientation Day (13 January 2020), so you can negotiate study leave with your employer well in advance.

The lectures are recorded and uploaded to our online platform within a couple of days. So students can catch up over the weekend. Also, the lecturing notes are uploaded at least a day prior to each lecture, so you can prepare in advance. We recommend that students form smaller study groups and help each other stay up to date. We also have two class representatives whom you can contact for additional help.

Do not fall behind – we cover a large volume of work in a relatively short space of time. Use week-ends to revise the previous week’s lectures. Work through all the tutorials and read the corresponding textbook chapter thoroughly. A selection of the previous year’s tests and exams are uploaded to our online platform. The lecturers conduct a special Review session prior to the first test of each module. Thereafter, the suggested solutions to the past papers are also uploaded. Practice, practice, practice.

Our student body comes from diverse backgrounds, both academically and professionally. Some have been in the financial services for many decades, others are fresh graduates. Although the majority of students have a B.Comm background, many are Law or BA graduates with the relevant work experience. Law students typically find the trust and estate planning sections easier (where court cases are discussed), but struggle with the investment planning section. We do provide a list of additional reading material, some of which are housed in the USB Library. We also recommend students to do extra prep work and, in some cases, do the program over two years. Ultimately, though, we have excellent internal pass rates, so our students adapt very well.

Yes. Please consult the program brochure for our Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) criteria. You must have an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning at NQF level 6 from an FPI-accredited education provider, with at least 5 years’ work experience.

For RPL (see Q7) candidates: Yes. For other candidates, no. But we do find that those with some work experience in financial planning perform better.

USB is an accredited education provider of the FPI. Our graduates are therefore automatically eligible to write the FPI exam. After the December graduation, you have to attend the FPI’s workshops in preparation for the FPI exam in February (or if you prefer, August). USB also offers an additional Saturday workshop exclusively for our own graduates at no extra charge. During the workshop, our experienced lecturers will take you through a past Case Study exam of the FPI.
Note: our PGDip Financial Planning also allows you to apply for our MBA, should you wish to further your studies.
For any other question, please visit our website or e-mail us.

Once you are registered as a student at USB, you automatically have access to our Alumni and Careers Services. Our graduates are also in high demand with leading financial services companies, who recruit from us. We regularly post job abs on our electronic platform.