The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards announced Thursday its first AACSB-accredited doctoral program for financial planners available through Louisiana State University E. J. Ourso College of Business.

The University’s finance department is offering a Ph.D. in business administration with a specialization in financial planning, the Board announced on its business update webcast.

Since Texas Tech launched its Ph.D. program in financial planning about 14 years ago, also with the backing of the CFP Board, other doctoral studies for financial advisors have sprung up. But the Louisiana State program is the first CFP Board-registered doctoral program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Ray Ferrara, chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors, said on the call that those CFPs interested can start registering now. “The program is going to be very rigorous because you’d get the Ph.D. in business with an emphasis on financial planning,” he said.

There are currently 225 colleges and universities offering CFP Board-registered programs with more than 120 of those offering financial planning baccalaureate programs.

The Board also announced two other new initiatives that it says are designed to bolster the academic underpinnings of financial planning as a profession, as well as provide new opportunities for research and teaching and to enhance the quality of financial advice to the public.

CFP Board is now exploring the creation of a center that would serve as a credible source of research that advances the financial planning professional in three areas: Influencing and supporting academic research dedicated to helping financial planners better serve the public; supporting diversity within the profession; and building capacity for the next generation of competent and ethical financial planners to meet public demand.

As of the end of February, there were 69,440 CFP certificants; 23% are female, and 70% are age 40 to 70. California has the largest number (7,890) of CFPs, with Florida coming in second at 4,725 and Texas third with 4,689.

CFP Board wants to boost the number of CFPs to 81,000 in the next five years, with a focus on ensuring that many of those new CFPs are female.

The third initiative is a collaboration between John Wiley & Sons and CFP Board on a peer-reviewed academic journal focused exclusively on financial planning. CFP Board says it will be creating “an academic home for those faculty who are teaching and conducting research in financial planning.” The journal will be available free to all CFP professionals.

“Along with our partners in the academic community, CFP Board is focused on providing rigorous research and publication opportunities, which will only elevate the certification, the profession and ultimately benefit the public,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller.