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A master’s degree in real estate provides students with an advanced understanding of real estate principles, regulations, and practices. It equips them to work in managerial, directorial, and executive-level roles in the industry’s acquisition, finance, development, and advising sectors. Graduates go on to become real estate appraisers, development managers, valuation managers, and real estate managers.

Real estate managers are part of a growing industry with an expected job growth rate of 5 percent over the next year. The national median annual salary for the position is $60,670. However, wages will vary depending on the location, position, and company. The lowest 10 percent of real estate managers earn less than $35,210 annually, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $129,900.

Most master’s degrees in real estate consist of between 31 and 61 credits, requiring two years of full-time study to complete. The national average cost for tuition and fees is $19,749, but it will vary by program and institution. Students who plan to live on-campus will incur higher annual costs for housing and living expenses.

How to Choose a Master’s in Real Estate Program

Choose your area of study

Consider your career goals before choosing your programs and path. The types of degrees available include:

  • Master of Science (MS) in international real estate
  • Master of Real Estate Development (MRED)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in real estate

An MS degree focuses on the industry’s technical, analytical, and practical skills. It includes courses related to science and math and uses learning methods such as labs, research, and analysis.

An MRED degree is best for students who plan to become property investors or developers. It covers real estate principles, urban economics, land development, and property investment.

An MBA in real estate will provide an advanced understanding of business management related to the real estate industry. The program will focus on the industry’s operations, marketing, strategy, and business verticals.

Students may also choose a specialization or formal concentration during their master’s program, such as entrepreneurship, global real estate, affordable housing, portfolio management, and project feasibility.

Research schools and programs

When researching schools, look only for those that have received accreditation. Accredited schools meet a set quality standard and have proven to prepare students for their future careers. Common accreditors to look for include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). You can use the Department of Education accredited schools and programs database to filter schools and programs.

Students can learn more about potential schools and programs by exploring their websites, visiting the school in person, attending open houses, or scrolling through social media. You can also schedule a call with an admissions counselor to learn more about the school and its culture.

Prepare for tests and applications

The requirements for a master’s degree in real estate program will vary depending on the school. You will likely be required to submit some or all of the following:

  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • A resume
  • A personal essay
  • Letters of recommendation

Most schools will consider applicants with any undergraduate degree. However, the most common are those with an undergraduate background in finance, business, economics, urban planning, or construction. Speak with an admissions counselor before applying to ensure you understand the requirements and submit the correct materials.

Select your program

When making your final decision, find the program that best aligns with your educational and lifestyle requirements. Consider if the program is in-person or online, full-time or part-time, or has flexible scheduling. Think about the program’s cost, length, location, and curriculum. Choose the program that will best prepare you for your future career and meet your logistical needs.

If you need help with your decision, contact an academic advisor. They’ll review your options and help determine the best choice for you.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Create a budget to determine whether you can pay for the program independently or need financial assistance. Include the following in your calculations:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Supplies
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Living expenses

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine the amount of financial aid you’re eligible to receive, including scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study funds. Some employers also offer tuition assistance for employees entering programs related to their current industry.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Real Estate Degree Programs

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New York University

Cornell University

Georgetown University

Mays Business School Texas A&M University

University of San Diego

University of Wisconsin-Madison

CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College

Johns Hopkins University

University of Denver

Florida International University

Roosevelt University

University of Florida

Portland State University

Clemson University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University of California, Berkeley

University of Utah

University of Missouri - Kansas City

Georgia Institute of Technology

George Mason University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Pepperdine University

Columbia University in the City of New York

Nova Southeastern University

University of Arizona

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Washington

Arizona State University

University of Central Florida

DePaul University

American University

Harvard University

University of Texas at Arlington

Georgia State University

Fordham University

University of Miami

Auburn University

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How we rank schools

This list covers master’s in real estate programs that offer coursework in asset management, ethical issues, financial modeling for real estate, and property analysis. Degree types offered include Master of Science in international real estate, Master of Real Estate Development, Master of Professional Studies in real estate, Master of Business Administration in real estate, and Master of Science in architecture and real estate development. Students can choose on-campus, online, or hybrid learning formats.

All of the schools featured in this guide are regionally accredited institutions. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation from organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Real Estate Program?

A master’s degree in real estate gives students a complex understanding of the real estate industry, focusing on areas including business, law, engineering, economics, and architecture. Students leave the program with the problem-solving, negotiation, and decision-making skills that will help them succeed in their future careers. While the curriculum varies by program, most programs will include coursework in real estate investment, development, finance modeling, and property analysis.

Various learning methods, including lectures, exams, case studies, site visits, and simulations, help students gain a thorough understanding of the material. Many programs conclude with a capstone project or practicum that develops students’ understanding of real-world operations.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in real estate program

  • Principles of Real Estate Development. Students will learn about the fundamentals of real estate markets, property law, finance valuation, building construction, and design.
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis. This course covers investment analysis processes related to the real estate industry. Topics include cash flow analysis, discount and capitalization rates, and risk analysis.
  • Contract Negotiations. Contract negotiations teach students the basic skills and effective methods of negotiation and communication, including planning, preparation, and execution of effective negotiations.
  • Real Estate Capital Markets. Students will learn about the structure and operations of public and private debt and equity in real estate development. The course will focus on deal structure, deal sourcing, and risk analysis for real estate in the capital markets.

Master’s in Real Estate Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in real estate degree program?

To apply for a master’s in real estate degree, visit the program website, where you will find the application requirements. Requirements will likely include your undergraduate transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation, an essay, and GRE or GMAT scores. Speak with an admissions advisor before submitting your application to ensure you have all the required materials.

How much does a master's in real estate degree cost?

The annual average cost for a master’s degree is $19,749. The total cost will vary depending on the school, program, and living requirements. Students who live on-campus will likely see a higher total amount, and those in an online or part-time program may see a lower annual price.

How long does it take to earn a master's in real estate degree?

Most master’s degrees in real estate will require two years of full-time study, as students must complete between 31 and 61 credits to graduate. Some programs also offer online, part-time, or asynchronous study options where students can complete the program at their own pace.

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