Graduate real estate education
The study of real estate and real estate development at the graduate school level has taken many forms, giving rise to various educational models in the United States and abroad. The decision for individuals pursing higher education in this field often comes down to choosing between a traditional degree with a specialization in real estate or an interdisciplinary degree focused wholly on real estate studies.
Historically, real estate studies were limited to major or minor in business, such as an MBA, or training in architecture and urban planning schools. Business school programs usually emphasize the business side of real estate; financing, marketing or company management and students lack adequate understanding of real estate principles and processes. Architecture and urban planning degrees typically lack adequate training in finance. As education needs have changed, business schools such as the University of Wisconsin, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California, Berkeley continue to cater to students interested in the flexibility of an MBA. Wharton's real estate program, for example, takes advantage of being housed in one of the top business schools in the United States and having some of the top real estate professionals in the world as advisers.
In the mid-1980s real estate academic programs flourished as the industry matured to one with great complexity and an increasingly institutional ownership structure. The increased complexity of the industry created a demand for practitioners who possessed a comprehensive real estate education. One and two-year graduate level real estate degree programs originated with the founding of the MIT Center for Real Estate in 1983. Columbia University (1985), Texas A&M University (1985) and University of Southern California (1986) soon offered graduate level educations. When these real estate programs were starting around the United States, it was clear that professionals must learn real estate finance and development in the classroom.
During the mid-1990s strong academic interest in real estate development "was never greater, whether it's for repositioning products, redeveloping inner cities, or developing more affordable housing. Students seemed to be acting on the notion that it's a temporary downturn and graduate school is a good place for the moment." During this period, one out of two real estate programs were adding new courses as a result of increased enrollment.
In the early 2000s, prior to the Great Recession, the industry again acknowledged increasing need for graduates with superior qualifications — providing the research-based expertise necessary to solve complex problems in contemporary real estate development. Programs such as the University of Maryland (2006) and Johns Hopkins University were benefactors of developer donations that raised the bar for real estate education nationally.
The late 2000s saw significant expansion of real estate programs to second and third tier universities, as well as additional coursework added by MBA programs that commonly did not have an emphasis on real estate. To deal with the complexity of the field and its far-reaching effects, today's industry professionals require advanced training to prepare them to operate in increasingly technical and interrelated areas.
Today it is a general acceptance that a good education in real estate is needed to succeed in the industry. Real estate programs continue in the future to provide an excellent training ground for professionals. Graduate education is commonly a prerequisite to advancing in many aspects of real estate. Real estate programs have reflected a commitment to creating a conceptual framework for dealing with real estate development issues in a professional forum.
All students considering a career in real estate and development are advised to talk with developers, real estate lawyers, architects, asset managers, corporate real estate directors and city planners to gain a full picture of the career options open to them and all of the educational requirements for those careers. Typically, real estate professionals in the fields of appraisal, residential or commercial sales, property management or leasing do not require graduate education. Real estate is an increasingly complex, highly competitive, fast-paced industry, and its practitioners are often finding that they need to further their knowledge and skills to advance. A graduate degree can open doors to greater job and career opportunities and command a higher salary in the marketplace.
Graduate-level education rankings in the US
Rankings for graduate level education are not specifically formal as other professional disciplines. MBA programs with concentrations in real estate may be ranked according to organizations such as U.S. News & World Report or Business Week, but are not relative to the depth of the real estate industry studied in a MBA concentration compared with a specialized master's degree in real estate development. Real estate education has increased in recent years to fill the demand for well-educated practitioners in the industry. However, there has been a great deal of debate on what elements should be an essential part of a graduate program in order to help students succeed in the industry. Rankings have been conducted by editorial board representation of faculty members at university real estate departments, however, these results prove to be ineffective in judging the program as a whole. Many graduate programs utilize adjunct professors or guest speakers from the industry, which do not sit on editorial boards of scholarly real estate journals.
Currently there are no rankings of masters degree programs in real estate. The best method to evaluate the various degree programs is through due diligence by individual applicants, including a review of each program's curriculum and how it applies to the students academic and career goals. While there are no formal rankings for graduate real estate education, and programs are subject to greater locational impact factors than are MBA programs (due to regional and local policy influence).
A separate metric to evaluate the success of graduate real estate programs is the review of past winner's in the Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Competition. Each year graduate-level students form their own multidisciplinary teams (from real estate, urban planning and business schools) and have two weeks to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submissions will consist of boards that include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data. 
Year Winner First Runner-up Second Runner-up 2011 University of Michigan University of Oklahoma University of Maryland 2010 University of North Carolina Harvard University University of Maryland 2009 MIT Columbia University Kansas State University
Graduate real estate programs
The study of real estate can be categorized by programs offering an interdisciplinary approach, the Master of Real Estate Development programs or universities that offer a traditional degree Master of Science in Real Estate. Programs may award a Master of Science, Master, or Master of Arts, however, the key indicator is to review each degree curriculum requirements.
Master of Real Estate Development
The Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) programs generally focus on the three main elements of real estate development: design, finance, and policy. Students are generally exposed to the full range of development functions - design, construction management, market analysis, finance, site planning, and project management and operations, in addition to all real estate product types - residential, retail, office, hospitality, and industrial. Whether in the context of urban redevelopment, historic preservation, or suburban growth, MRED students learn from the developer's perspective the importance of relevant issues in law, economics, finance, market analysis, negotiation, architecture, urban history, planning, and construction project management.
The programs are a full-immersion focusing on the entire real estate and development process-from dirt-to-deal, finance to façade-and include industry topics presented by leading local and national developers. The typical MRED student is a highly motivated individual who seeks to radically alter or enhance their career paths and join the real estate development industry. Students who graduate from the programs are committed to a career in real estate development with skills to also enter asset management, institutional investment or property management. They enter the real estate development industry with a keen awareness of developing projects that are financially viable, economically desirable, politically acceptable, environmentally respectful, socially responsible, and contextually and artfully designed.
The curriculum of a Master of Real Estate Development program varies slightly between universities, but is generally consistent. Many programs utilize actual case studies and complex projects to heighten the student's knowledge and strategic decision-making skills. Credit hours are typically between 30 and 40 hours. Programs that have more than 33 hours typically include additional study in business or finance. A core curriculum of 5 to 7 classes is typical at Arizona State University:
- Real estate development principles
- Market Segmentation and Analysis
- Real Estate Finance and Analysis
- Real Estate Development Project Management
- Advanced Real Estate Finance
- Real Estate Site Analysis and Design
- Public Entitlement Process
In addition to the core curriculum, Master of Real Estate Development programs typically offer electives in the following areas, such as those offered at University of Southern California and University of Maryland:
- Affordable housing
- Multi-family development
- Public-private partnerships
- Sustainable development
- Urban infill
In the final semester a candidate may have to pass a final comprehensive examination, complete a thesis for publication, or a prepare development project. A final project is most common at programs like Auburn University, and emphasizes the analysis and solution of a real-world development case. Based upon information provided about a particular development site, students prepare a market analysis, a financial feasibility study, and a site plan. The student submits a written development proposal which is graded by his or her peers, the faculty, and more often industry professionals.
List of United States graduate real estate development programs
University Degree granted Since Credits Location Arizona State University Master of Real Estate Development 2006 33 Tempe, AZ Auburn University Executive Master of Real Estate Development 2009 40 Auburn, AL Clemson University Master of Real Estate Development 2004 54 Clemson, SC Columbia University Master of Science in Real Estate Development 1985 45 New York City, NY George Mason University Master of Science in Real Estate Development 2010 36 Fairfax, VA Massachusetts Institute of Technology Master of Science in Real Estate Development 1983 27 Cambridge, MA New York University Master of Science in Real Estate Development 2010 42 New York City, NY Nova Southeastern University Master of Science in Real Estate Development 40 Fort Lauderdale, FL Portland State University Master of Real Estate Development 2011 Portland, OR Texas A&M University Master of Science in Land Development  1985 45 College Station, TX University of Maryland Master of Real Estate Development  2006 33 College Park, MD University of Miami Master of Real Estate Development and Urbanism  2009 36 Coral Gables, FL University of Southern California Master of Real Estate Development  1986 44 Los Angeles, CA University of Utah Master of Real Estate Development  2010 39 Salt Lake City, UT
Master of Science in Real Estate
Graduate programs that award a degree of a Master of Real Estate or Master of Science in Real Estate is typically the expansion of real estate courses in a MBA program or Business school into a separate degree. Master of Science in Real Estate programs focus on topics of real estate finance, development and planning, management, investment, economics, and accounting. Some universities offer a variation on this degree, with special focus in finance, valuation or analysis.
List of United States graduate real estate programs
University Degree granted Since Credits Location American University Master of Science in Real Estate  Washington, D.C. Baruch College Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate  New York City, NY Cornell University Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate  Ithaca, NY DePaul University Master of Science in Real Estate  Chicago, IL Florida International University Master of Science in International Real Estate  Miami, FL Georgetown University Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate  2010 30 Washington, D.C. Georgia State University Master of Science in Real Estate  Atlanta, GA Harvard University Master of Design Studies in Real Estate  Cambridge, MA Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Real Estate  36 Baltimore, MD New York University Master of Science in Real Estate  42 New York City, NY Roosevelt University Master of Science in Real Estate  2002 Chicago, IL Texas A&M University Master of Real Estate  College Station, TX Tulane University Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development  2010 43 New Orleans, LA University of Central Florida Master of Science in Real Estate  2011 Orlando, FL University of Denver Master of Real Estate and Construction Management  1938 Denver, CO University of Florida Master of Science in Real Estate  Gainesville, FL University of Illinois at Chicago Master of Arts in Real Estate  Chicago, IL UNC Charlotte Master of Science in Real Estate 2012 Charlotte, NC University of North Texas Master of Science in Real Estate Analysis  Denton, TX University of Saint Thomas Master of Science in Real Estate  St. Paul, MO University of San Diego Master of Science in Real Estate  San Diego, CA University of South Florida Master of Science in Real Estate  2010 Tampa, FL University of Texas at Arlington Master of Science in Real Estate  Arlington, TX University of Washington Master of Science in Real Estate  2010 Seattle, WA University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Real Estate Masters  2010 Madison, WI Virginia Commonwealth University Master of Science in Real Estate Valuation 0 0 Richmond, VA
Nationally recognized research centers
Name University The Richard H. Pennell Center for Real Estate Clemson University MIT Center for Real Estate  MIT The Graaskamp Center for Real Estate University of Wisconsin-Madison Lusk Center for Real Estate  University of Southern California Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development  University of Maryland Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies  University of Florida
MBA with Real Estate Concentration
Business degrees with real estate concentrations generally provide students with the opportunity to pursue a general management degree, but to specialize in real estate development or some segment of the real estate industry through a sequence or group of electives. For a long time, those wishing to study real estate had to content themselves with primarily pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, perhaps with the option of concentration in real estate, and usually with a focus in finance. These MBA programs typically only include one or two courses focused in real estate.
University Degree granted Location George Washington University MBA with Real Estate Concentration Valuation Washington, D.C. Hofstra University MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Hempstead, NY Pacific States University MBA with Concentration in Real Estate Management  Los Angeles, CA Roosevelt University MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Chicago, IL University of Georgia MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Athens, GA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Chapel Hill, NC University of Pennsylvania MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Philadelphia, PA University of Wisconsin MBA with Real Estate Concentration  Madison, WI
Related graduate program offerings
Professionals in real estate often hold degrees in related fields such as city planning, construction management, accounting, property management, architecture or law. One of the most common programs continues to be a Master of City Planning, regional planning, or urban planning degree with a real estate emphasis. Planning programs tend to emphasize land use planning, transportation or infrastructure development, land use law and policy and other planning topics; students who take a concentration in real estate development will learn how it relates to planning. Those students in city planning degrees generally lack the understanding of basic finance methods, rather focusing on public policy, design and urban form.
The Certificate in Property Repositioning and Turnaround Strategies  is a unique program offered by the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture, with participation by the university's College of Business. It features strategic solution techniques and best practices for resolving issues in the current troubled property environment. Participants in this graduate-level certification course learn how to reposition distressed properties and participate in workout teams in four months of concentrated sessions and is structured to require minimal time away from the office. The program features thirteen credit hours offered in intensive one-and-a-half day weekly sessions.
The Certificate in Real Estate Design & Development  is a certificate offered by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, with participation by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development  is a certificate offered by the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.
Undergraduate real estate education
As with many MBA programs, undergraduate real estate education is commonly offered as a concentration, or focused area of study. Very few universities with varying academic reputation offer a bachelor degree with a concentration in real estate (typically two courses during the senior year).
A sample of careers include large public real estate companies; small private entrepreneurial organizations; regional investors; companies that specialize in a single product (e.g. office/retail/multi-family); non-profits involved in areas such as affordable housing; corporations that own real estate; companies that finance real estate; and companies that provide services such as design and architecture firms, brokerage companies, investment banks, REITs, and various consultancies. Careers in the public sector at the city, county, state, federal or military level offer interesting and rewarding career opportunities related to real estate.
Graduate Real Estate Programs outside the US
- ^ Urban Land, October 1991, pg. 38
- ^ Urban Land, Teaching Real Estate Today, April 1992, pg. 32.
- ^ http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/print.cfm?articleID=1589
- ^ USC's Entrepreneurial Real Estate Degree. Urban Land.
- ^ Urban Land Institute. Directory of Real Estate Development and Related Education Programs. Washington, D.C.: ULI, 2008. http://commerce.uli.org/AM/Ecommerce/ProductDisplay.cfm?Productid=1733
- ^ http://business.fullerton.edu/finance/jrepe/pdf/2004Vol7N2/05.53_64.pdf
- ^ http://www.udcompetition.org/about/about-the-competition/
- ^ Urban Land Magazine School for Developers, Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute, March 2008
- ^ http://wpcarey.asu.edu/master-real-estate/academics/index.cfm
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- ^ http://www.arch.umd.edu/real_estate_development/academics/courses.cfm?p=41
- ^ http://mred.wpcarey.asu.edu/
- ^ http://mred.auburn.edu/
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- ^ http://realestate.gmu.edu/
- ^ http://web.mit.edu/cre/education/masters-degree.html
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- ^ http://www.huizenga.nova.edu/FutureStudents/masters/RealEstateDevelopment.cfm#/
- ^ http://archone.tamu.edu/laup/Programs/MSLD_index.html
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- ^ http://www.business.utah.edu/display.php?&pageId=4043
- ^ http://www.american.edu/kogod/graduate/MS-RLES.cfm
- ^ http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/programs/graduate/ms/degrees/real-estate/?searchterm=REAL%20ESTATE
- ^ http://realestate.cornell.edu/index.php/academics/curriculum
- ^ http://www.realestate.depaul.edu/AcademicPrograms/MSRE/index.asp
- ^ http://business.fiu.edu/chapman/master_of_science_in_intl_real_estate.cfm
- ^ http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/13/master-of-professional-studies-in-real-estate
- ^ http://www.gsu.edu/real_estate.html
- ^ http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/academic/mdes/real_estate.htm
- ^ http://www.jhu.edu/realestate/
- ^ http://www.scps.nyu.edu/areas-of-study/real-estate/graduate-programs/ms-real-estate/index.html
- ^ http://www.roosevelt.edu/RealEstate/CCRED/MSRE.aspx
- ^ http://mays.tamu.edu/grad/masters/realestate/programOverview.htm
- ^ http://architecture.tulane.edu/programs/master-of-sustainable-real-estate-development
- ^ http://web.bus.ucf.edu/apps/news.aspx?e=618
- ^ http://www.daniels.du.edu/RECM.aspx
- ^ http://www.cba.ufl.edu/fire/programs/msre/
- ^ http://www.uic.edu/gcat/BAREST.shtml
- ^ http://www.coba.unt.edu/programs/masters/ms-realestate.php
- ^ http://www.stthomas.edu/business/degrees/specializedmasters/msrealestate/default.html
- ^ http://www.sandiego.edu/business/centers/real_estate/education/masters_program/index.php
- ^ http://www.grad.usf.edu/programs/programinfo.asp?pcode=RSTBA-M.S.R.E.
- ^ http://www2.uta.edu/real_estate/
- ^ http://www.reuw.washington.edu/
- ^ http://www.bus.wisc.edu/grem//
- ^ http://www.realestate.bus.vcu.edu/grad_mbs_reld#
- ^ http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/cred/
- ^ http://web.mit.edu/cre/
- ^ http://www.bus.wisc.edu/realestate/about/graaskampcenter.asp
- ^ http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/lusk/
- ^ http://www.arch.umd.edu/real_estate_development/colvin_institute/index.cfm
- ^ http://warrington.ufl.edu/fire/realestate/cres/halloffame.asp
- ^ http://business.gwu.edu/creua/
- ^ http://bulletin.hofstra.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=55&poid=5298
- ^ http://www.psuca.edu/node/71
- ^ http://www.roosevelt.edu/Business/Programs/MBA/MBAConcentrations.aspx#RealEstate
- ^ http://mba.terry.uga.edu/fulltime/real_estate.html
- ^ http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/Programs/MBA/Academics/real-estate.cfm
- ^ http://real-estate.wharton.upenn.edu/programs/mba_program.cfm
- ^ http://www.bus.wisc.edu/realestate/degrees/mba/
- ^ http://www.uta.edu/architecture/academic-programs/graduate/cert-property-repos-turnaround.php
- ^ http://www.design.upenn.edu/about/real-estate-design-and-development-certificate
- ^ http://architecture.cua.edu/academicprograms/realestate.cfm
- ^ http://www.tcaup.umich.edu/planning/programs/graduate_certificates/real_estate_development/
- ^ http://professional.bu.edu/programs/real-estate-studies/
- ^ Ross, Stan. The Inside Track to Careers in Real Estate. Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C. 2006.
- The Urban Land Institute - A professional association for real estate developers and related professions
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