Frequently Asked Questions

Online MBA and Certificate in Financial Planning

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication?

Synchronous communication is a form of communication whereby people (students and instructors in this case) interact with each other at the same time (sometimes called real time). This can be done via various methods of communication such as chatrooms, video conferencing and audio conferencing.

Asynchronous communication is a form of communication that does not happen in real time. Examples of asynchronous communication in our program include email, message boards, web pages, PowerPoint presentations and pre-recorded lectures.

Is the program synchronous or asynchronous?

Our program uses both synchronous and asynchronous communication methods in order to best interact with our students. Synchronous communication is not mandatory, but is recommended.

Where and when can I take my courses?

As long as you have the correct computer requirements and internet connections (see Technical FAQ for requirements), you can take your courses anywhere. The coursework is meant to be completed at your own pace within a reasonable period of time. There are modules for each portion of the 8 week course. During each module, quizzes and assignments must be completed as indicated by the course instructor.

What are successful characteristics of distance learners?

Successful distance learners should be self disciplined and able to work independently. As such, successful distance learners should be goal-driven, have a high degree of initiative and be willing to take responsibility for learning on their own. It is important that distance learners be proficient in using a computer and the internet in order to successfully navigate and complete coursework.

Because the courses are online, much of the communication between classmates and instructors will be conducted via live chat or message boards. It is therefore important that distance learners feel comfortable communicating in these written forums.

Successful distance learners must also be able to devote a substantial amount of time to the online courses since our courses, due to the accelerated nature of the program, will be more rigorous than many traditional programs.

Are the MBA and Certificate accredited?

California Lutheran University’s MBA in Financial Planning program has been accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Our program has also been registered with the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. For more information about the CFP Board, including their requirements for becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, please go to

What are the benefits of this program for me?

All students who successfully complete our program are eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. Our program is geared exclusively towards financial services professionals. Therefore, all course material is geared towards situations that could arise in a financial planning practice.

Is Financial Aid available?

Graduate students typically qualify for Federal Stafford Loans. These loans are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. For more information, you may contact CLU’s Financial Aid office at .

Is there an online orientation?

Yes. There is an online orientation the Tuesday before the start of each term.

Who do I call when I need technical help?

For course-related issues such as login or other technical issues, help will be available to our students via the ISS Help Desk: (805) 493-3698.

Can I transfer credit?

Students may petition to transfer up to six semester credits of graduate coursework taken at other regionally accredited colleges or universities to the financial planning program at California Lutheran University. Students may also be eligible to transfer up to 9 credits for previously earned master’s degrees.

Is there a residency requirement?

There are no residency requirements.

What are the admissions requirements?

  • Submit an online application which includes a non-refundable $50.00 Application Fee and a personal statement
  • Submit official transcripts for your bachelor’s degree (required in order to be eligible for a master’s program)
  • Submit two letters of recommendation (2 for the Certificate program)
  • Submit test scores for the GMAT. (GMAT may be waived. Details are included in the Application Checklist.)
  • International students must submit TOEFL scores (details provided in the Application Checklist)

For more details, please see the Admissions section of our website.

How do I register?

Once you become a student, you will be able to complete your online registration through our student web portal.

How many hours per week will I spend on the computer?

You will spend a minimum of 3-5 hours per week per course listening to lectures on the computer, reviewing lessons, and taking quizzes. You will also be expected to spend a minimum of 3 hours on your own studying and completing assignments.

Are the courses available on CD-ROM as well as online?

No. At this time, all of our courses are strictly online.

Where should I buy my computer?

As long as your computer meets the technical specifications that we have indicated in our Technical FAQ, you may purchase your computer anywhere.

Is there a central location for all information regarding my online courses?

Once you become a student, you will be able to login to the California Lutheran University student portal. With access to the student portal, you will be able to register and pay for courses, check your e-mail, retrieve valuable CLU information and, most important of all, take your online classes!