CFA Program Curriculum

The curriculum for each of the three levels is organized into 18 study sessions. Each study session contains

  • Assigned readings
  • Learning outcome statements (LOS)
  • Problem sets (to demonstrate practical application of your knowledge)

Each exam question is based explicitly on the curriculum, so you should emphasize mastery of the most current curriculum content in your study plan.

Accessing the Curriculum eBook

The CFA Program curriculum in eBook format is included in your registration fee. When you receive your registration confirmation email, it will include the eBook code and instructions for accessing your eBook on the VitalSource website.

The eBook is available online and can be downloaded to up to two personal computers and up to two mobile devices, including many smartphones and tablets.

Check the VitalSource (our eBook vendor) website for the most current list of supported devices.

Note: The VitalSource eBook curriculum does not sync with the Level I Study App curriculum (e.g.: notes, highlights, etc. don’t carry over).

Accessing and downloading the eBook to your personal computer

With a compatible browser, you can access the curriculum eBook through the internet (online.vitalsource.com) or directly from a file you download to your personal computer. To download the eBook file for use on your personal computer, your computer must meet certain system requirements. (Important note to Microsoft Windows XP users.)

The eBook code you receive in your registration confirmation email will let you download and activate your eBook. During the installation process you will be prompted to create a username and password. With this UN/PW you will also be able to access the web-based version of the eBook from any PC.

Note: The installation process can take from 2 to 40 minutes, depending on your computer's configuration and whether or not you need to have .NET installed.

Accessing the eBook on your mobile device

The mobile device apps have limited functionality in comparison to the personal computer version:

  • Limited notes capability. You can view notes and highlights from the mobile app, but you cannot make new notes.
  • Small text. The text is very small on your mobile device. Zooming on the page will affect your capability to navigate easily.
  • Download times vary. You can download your curriculum using Wi-Fi access. Individual curriculum volumes may take several minutes to download because of large file sizes.

Printing your eBook

Curriculum eBooks can be printed, up to a chapter at a time, from the VitalSource Bookshelf Online or Bookshelf Downloadable desktop app. Specific instructions and video tutorials for both platforms are available from the support.vitalsource.com website. Candidates reading the eBooks on their phone or tablet will need to use their Mac or PC to log in to the online or desktop app in order to print chapters.

Note: The "page" numbers as they appear in the eBook are actually section number and do not equate to the page numbers for the purpose of printing.

More information about the VitalSource eBook app

Access the eBook After Your Exam

Your eBook provides digital access to the current year curriculum for the June and December exams. For example, if you have access to the Level I eBook for the June 2015 exam and you do not pass the June 2015 exam, you can use the same Level I eBook for the December 2015 exam.

Access to an eBook will remain active for five calendar years. For example, clients who purchased the 2015 eBook will have access until December 2020. 

eBooks are made available with a perpetual license so they remain available to you for future reference; however, because each exam question is based explicitly on the curriculum, you should emphasize mastery of the most current curriculum content in your study plan.


Important note to Microsoft Windows XP users

You may need to download and install Microsoft’s .NET framework in order for the eBook to run properly on your computer. The installation program will automatically determine whether your computer needs .NET and prompt you through the download and installation of .NET prior to installing the VitalSource eBook. Downloading and installing .NET may take 10-40 minutes depending on your computer’s configuration and your internet connection speed.

If you prefer not to download Microsoft’s .NET framework, you can still access the CFA curriculum using the online version of the eBook. (While the downloadable version can be accessed anytime, the online version is only accessible when you have an active internet connection.)