While real estate is one of the most lucrative industries worldwide, its importance goes beyond its function as a vast store of wealth, since real estate is the key component of the built environment which is the locus of all other human social activities. Real estate that is developed responsibly, sustainably, and takes inclusivity into account, helps to form the basis of healthy societies.
Real estate development in particular is highly interdisciplinary and involves not only marketing, but also site acquisition and site planning, real estate valuation, project management, corporate real estate management, construction management, real estate valuation, architecture and design, business administration, real estate market analysis, asset management, and the intricacies of real estate law, among others.
It is generally considered that the bar for entry to a career in real estate is low; a lot of people start out from other careers as sales agents or as brokers. But like the real estate markets they operate in, the real estate career landscape is also highly competitive and dynamic.
Along with a good grasp of key financial concepts and a comprehensive view of real estate markets, it is crucial for real estate professionals to have a clear understanding of the physical aspects of the real estate development process, as well as mindfulness of the body of legal principles set in real estate law.
A master’s in real estate is the logical step to further your career goals in the field of real estate. In response to the needs of the real estate sector, many universities now offer real estate master’s programs that cater to professionals in the real estate arena.
While a real estate master’s program can be crucial to gaining a competitive edge, there is a worry that taking a new academic pursuit may be disruptive to a professional’s ongoing career goals, especially if it involves moving to a new city that hosts the accredited college that one wishes to enroll in.
Today, a number of universities offer online Master of Real Estate Development degree programs but certainly, not all of them are created equal! To help you make the choice, we put together a list of the country’s best programs with these features in mind.
- Convenient Master’s in Real Estate Development coursework delivered 100% online or in a blended format, enabling real estate professionals to earn the graduate degree while keeping their jobs,
- Rigorous graduate-level Real Estate Development coursework emphasizing the latest theories and principles in the discipline, as well as the tools and technologies in the practice to produce competent professionals,
- A Learning Management System that provides easy access to online coursework and study resources while promoting student engagement,
- Credit transfer options for master’s degree students, if any,
- Faculty members with experience and expertise in the field of Real Estate Development, many of whom are professionals,
- Student support services wherein instructors and mentors provide guidance to students
- Availability of financial aid and tuition discounts for eligible applicants,
- Accreditation from academic organizations that require adherence to the established standards for the delivery of Master’s in Real Estate Development coursework,
- Good reviews from current and former students, as well as expert resources.
Best Online Master’s in Real Estate Programs
Florida International University
With its two main campuses based in Miami-Dade County, Florida, along with several branch campuses in South Florida and other research facilities in Europe and Asia, the Florida International University (FIU) first started accepting students way back in 1972.
Now, in response to the need for competent real estate professionals in the real estate industry, the FIU offers two fully online Master’s Degrees: its Real Estate Development specialization track for its Masters in Hospitality Management degree, and the more comprehensive online Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE).
Students beginning in the Fall semester can complete the program in 10 months, but a more flexible option where students start in the Spring semester can reach completion in as little as 12 months.
FIU’s Alvah H. Chapman Jr. Graduate School of Business is recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, therefore, enrollees can expect the real estate online program to have a relevant challenging curriculum delivered to them by high-quality faculty, opening doors to more opportunities within the industry.
Standout Features of Florida International University’s Master of Science in International Real Estate Program:
Aside from Core Industry Fundamentals, the Master of Science in International Real Estate at Florida International University offers the following advantages:
- Real estate students are introduced to a variety of tools that help them get well-informed real estate investment decisions, particularly the ARGUS suite of professional real estate software, which is the industry standard. Students are prepared towards becoming ARGUS-Certified throughout the program.
- Through the MSIRE program, students are also able to earn credits toward a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation and are able to wave 3 of the CCIM’s 4 core courses.
- Likewise, students will also be able to satisfy a substantial portion of the coursework for the Member (MAI) designation of the Appraisal Institute.
- Students are also granted student membership to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and membership to the RICS or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and have a more streamlined track towards gaining RICS credentials.
- Eligible real estate students will likewise be able to access a variety of scholarship opportunities both from the FIU and from other industry partners like the CCIM, the Appraisal Institute, the Florida Realtors trade association, and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR).
Did You Know?
The FIU’s ARGUS-related program material is taught by one of only three professors within the entire state of Florida who are accredited to teach Argus-certified courses.
With roots that date back to its founding in 1884 in Philadelphia, Temple University now has six campuses spread across the state of Pennsylvania, as well as international campuses in Tokyo and Rome. It is one of the world’s largest professional education providers, and as a public research university, consistently ranks high in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education for Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity.
Temple University brings its long tradition of excellence to providing real estate industry professionals and practitioners with a competitive edge. Through its Fox School of Business, Temple University offers either a Real Estate concentration of its MBA or a more specialized Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE).
While the MBA with a Real Estate concentration aims to develop a wider breadth of general leadership skills and covers aspects from other industries, the Master of Science in Real Estate provides a more specific focus on issues related to the real estate industry and is guided by Temple University’s Industry Advisory Board.
Standout Features of Temple University’s Master of Science in Real Estate Program:
Aside from core professional competencies (Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Market Analysis, Real Estate Property Valuation, Investment Management, Construction, and Design, to name a few), Temple’s Master of Science in Real Estate stands out for its special emphasis on social equity and on the goal of having real estate practices that generate positive social impact on various communities. Its course material takes a look at real estate utilization and asset management optimization, affordable housing strategies and finance, inclusive development, sustainability, and real estate innovation strategies.
The Master of Science in Real Estate can be completed in two years, following a part-time schedule that consists of online conferencing classes on weekday evenings.
Did You Know?
One of the real estate industry’s most under-appreciated subject areas is the revitalization and reimagining of underutilized real estate assets and neighborhoods.
As real estate is regarded as “the currency for economic development,” an innovative approach to real estate development that includes meaningful input from various stakeholders opens the door for a more inclusive economic development and job creation in communities.
Georgia State University
Established in 1913 and located at the heart of the City of Atlanta, Georgia State University is one of four research universities within the state’s University System. Georgia State University is comprised of 11 colleges, including the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, which offers a Master of Science in Commercial Real Estate (MSCRE).
In terms of enrollment, it is the largest Higher Education Institution in the State of Georgia. It is also among the ten largest universities in the United States.
Standout Features of Georgia State University’s Master of Science in Commercial Real Estate Program:
- It consists of 30 hours of coursework. Following the full-time format timetable, the real estate degree can be earned in 12 months, although it has a time limit of 5 years.
- The MSCRE program features an experiential learning-based curriculum delivered by executives from the real estate sector.
- The MSCRE program features an experiential learning-based curriculum delivered by executives from the real estate sector.
- Students of the MSCRE program can expect to earn ARGUS Enterprise certification, which is a highly sought-after qualification by major players in the real estate industry.
- While the MSCRE program is primarily a traditional on-campus format, the option exists for full completion online, with classes being simultaneously held in person and via online platforms like Zoom and WebEx.
Did You Know?
Along with its part-time MBA program, three other specialty programs of the Robinson College of Business made the ranks of the nation’s best programs in the 2023 Best Graduate Schools of the US News & World Report. The MSCRE program ranks 16th nationally, and ninth among public university programs.
University of Arizona
Occupying 380 acres in the heart of Tucson, the University of Arizona is a public land-grant research university established back in 1885 and has since grown to encompass a total of 19 colleges.
The Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) of the University of Arizona is offered by its College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture. As such, the University of Arizona MRED program highlights its focus on real estate practices that result in property development projects that are healthy, livable, and sustainable components of the built environment.
The program covers Responsible Real Estate Development, Real Estate Market Analysis, Place Making, Construction, Project Management, and Professional Practice Ethics, to name a few.
Standout Features of the University of Arizona’s Master of Real Estate Development Program:
The University of Arizona’s MRED Program is accessible both through in-person classes on its Tucson campus or as an online program via the Arizona Online and Arizona Global campuses.
The MRED Program has a minimum credit requirement of 30 units. While they are not required, a number of highly useful and interesting Electives are also on offer, which includes courses on GIS for Planning, Transportation, Heritage Conservation, Environmental Land Use Planning, and Sustainable Urban Development, among others.
The University of Arizona also offers its MRED Program as an Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP), allowing promising and exceptional undergraduate students to earn both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in as few as 5 years.
Did You Know?
The University of Arizona Global campus is the new identity of the formerly for-profit Ashford University, which the University of Arizona acquired in 2021.
Comprising ten undergraduate and graduate schools in Washington, DC, along with a campus in Qatar, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic Higher Education Institution in the United States, having been established back in 1789.
Not only is it located in the country’s capital and seat of power, but it has also produced thousands of alumni that have gone on to have a global influence, including two US Presidents, two Chief Justices, and 14 other foreign leaders and heads of state.
This is what Georgetown University brings into its Master’s in Real Estate program, which is offered by the School of Continuing Studies: A global perspective reflected in its curriculum along with a global network of alumni and professionals that the student can have access to.
Standout Features of Georgetown University’s Online Master’s in Real Estate Program:
- Georgetown University’s Master’s in Real Estate is a two-year program that consists of 33 credit hours. The online program can be taken full time, or part-time students have up to five years to complete the course within the academic time limit.
- Classes typically have small class sizes of 18-20 students in order for them to have more one-to-one time with their instructors. Likewise, online office hours are available for students to reach out.
- Georgetown University places emphasis on ethics and has a strong commitment to ethical real estate industry practice, and as such, has placed industry ethics as a separate course, along with its courses on Affordable Housing and Sustainable Development and Construction.
- The program makes heavy use of case studies throughout its courses, in order to give the program a solid, well-informed, real-world basis and applicability.
- Like the other online real estate degrees mentioned, financial aid options are also available, especially for US citizens.
Did You Know?
Georgetown’s colors are blue and gray, first used in its rowing team and subsequently adopted by the school as its official colors. This was chosen by Georgetown students in 1876 to mark the end of the American Civil War and to symbolize the unity among the students, as blue was the color used in Union soldiers’ uniforms, while Confederate soldiers wore gray uniforms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect in Real Estate Development Master’s programs?
As these real estate graduate programs have a tendency to be interdisciplinary in nature, students enrolling in a Master’s in Real Estate Development can expect to be introduced to the full range of industries that are involved in the real estate industry, as well as their respective best practices and standards.
Specific universities will have their strengths, or the educational topics they excel and specialize in, and these will become apparent to a certain degree in the specifics of their course design, but as a whole, the entire breadth of topics involved in the real estate industry will be covered.
These interrelated industries cover a wide range of topics, from financial, data, and investment analysis that can inform investment decisions, to business management and real estate finance strategies, to more specific disciplines such as urban planning, marketing, and financial advice, to the specific skills required in the development phase of real estate projects, particularly construction and project management.
Students can expect to be introduced to relevant real estate laws and policies that underpin the movements and decisions within the industry, and with the all-important topic of professional ethics. Most real estate graduate programs grant student-specific memberships to industry organizations as well as some relevant eligibilities for accrediting bodies, which will give the student added value to their skillset.
Overall, online students enrolled in a Master’s in Real Estate can expect to complete the course with real estate knowledge for various specialized industries and fields, a ready network of peers and partners that they can tap into, and have more doors of opportunity opened for their career to further develop.
Is a master’s in Real Estate Development worth it?
While an individual can conceivably continue a career within the real estate sector without having a master’s in Real Estate, a number of advantages are immediately clear when we see that the real estate industry is not only highly competitive but highly dynamic as well. New developments are always around the corner, and potential employers always prefer hires that have new and updated skillsets to bring to their workforce.
A master’s in real estate degree brings a particular individual skill together with other relevant industry-related competencies into a well-organized suite of courses that are tailored to be able to give a more comprehensive education to the prospective master’s in real estate student. Instead of focusing on only one skill, students get introduced to a variety of skills they may not have realized are also essential to their careers.
How much does an Online Real Estate Development program cost?
Some variation exists between Universities and whether a student is from a University’s state or out of state, but online master’s in Real Estate programs typically have tuition costs that range from $28,000 – $44,000.
Going on a case-by-case basis, some online students would be eligible for access to a number of financial aid and scholarships that particular universities may offer, on top of other financial arrangements that may be available.
What career paths can graduates of Real Estate and/or Real Estate Development programs take?
A Master’s in Real Estate Development equips the student with the necessary suite of skills for a variety of specific industry careers, either as employees or entrepreneurs, and whether they are just starting out or are already industry professionals with a number of years under their belt.
Here are just a few of the potential career paths that real estate development graduates can pursue:
- Real Estate Developers
- Real Estate Entrepreneurs
- Real Estate Brokers & Sales Agents
- Appraiser & Assessors
- Financial Analysts
- Loan Officers
- Investment Fund Managers
- Commercial Real Estate Lenders
- Corporate Real Estate Managers
- Property Association Managers
- Site Acquisition Managers
- Construction Project Managers
- Lease Administrators
- Property management Directors
- Real Estate Industry Consultants
- Community Developers
Will a Master’s Degree be disruptive to my ongoing career?
Certain factors have to be considered, but a traditional graduate degree that involves mainly in-person and on-campus classes can become disruptive if a person has already started a career in the industry; for example, if prospective students get accepted to a university in another state, and would have to move.
However, online Master’s Degrees are typically designed with working real estate professionals in mind who would find in-person classes potentially, so they have better options to balance coursework and their respective real estate careers with minimal disruption, such as class schedules away from typical work hours, and flexible options to take a program’s coursework at a pace that wouldn’t overburden one’s career.
There are two main advantages to pursuing a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development program.
- Firstly, whether someone is just starting out or already has a few years in the industry, they get introduced to the various associated skills, competencies, processes, tools, and practices that are part of the wider real estate industry. This translates to having a competitive edge in the dynamic and competitive real estate industry.
- Second, a Master’s Degree opens many doors and introduces students to their peers in the industry, as well as experts, veterans, and key resource persons that will form part of their network of partners. Likewise, a variety of financial aid options can also be accessed, mitigating any potential difficulties with regard to funding one’s graduate degree.
- There is an increasing number of reputable universities that are developing fully online programs that have the same level of quality and reputability that we come to expect from their traditional on-campus education.