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A master’s degree is not necessary to sell real estate, but earning one can help realtors learn more about the marketing, communications, and salesmanship required to sell homes successfully.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for graduate school is $20,513 per year. Programs typically require 30 to 34 credit hours; full-time students can complete most programs in two years. After graduation, students can begin or advance a career in real estate brokering and sales, which has an average salary of $52,030.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Real Estate Program

Choose your area of study

This degree is available in several different formats, including Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Master of Real Estate Development (MRED). MS programs typically touch on a wide range of subjects, MBA programs cover business-related topics, and MRED programs focus the most on real estate.

Depending on the online master’s in real estate program, students may be able to select from different concentrations. For example, students may be able to choose from concentrations in real estate asset management or real estate finance and investment.

Students should know their future career goals before sending applications. This clarity will help them find the program that will provide the best opportunities to learn about topics they are passionate about and to master the skills necessary to achieve success in the real estate field.

Research schools and programs

You should only consider institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in real estate program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for business education.

Cost is another major factor. Students should find programs that they can afford and will not require them to take on significant debt. And since this degree is so specialized, it’s advisable to research which professors will be teaching the classes and whether they are knowledgeable and respected thought leaders in real estate. In addition to providing students with a solid education, such leaders can also help them grow their professional network.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Most online master’s in real estate programs do not require students to complete the GRE before applying, but it’s best to verify if any prospective programs still have that test as a requirement. Remember that the GRE can take up to three months to study for, and students may not get test results for 15 days, so take this into account when considering the deadlines for different applications.

Otherwise, preparing for the application primarily involves verifying what additional paperwork it will require, including undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, application essays, and personal statements. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

After narrowing things down using the criteria above, it’s essential to use a few additional criteria before deciding which program is best.

For example, students should choose a program that meets their specific budget to mitigate or potentially prevent taking on significant debt. To help bring costs down, students may want to select a program that has specific scholarships or other special financial aid programs (such as graduate assistantships) available. And since online programs can sometimes feel very insular, it’s crucial to find a school with solid teacher communication, tutoring options, and online student communities, all of which can help students succeed.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Those who cannot pay for their degree out of pocket should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. Doing so will help them qualify for certain federal loans. Additionally, students may discover that other graduate financial aid (including grants, loans, and scholarships) requires them to complete the FAFSA. Students should also contact the financial aid office for any of the schools they are interested in to ask if they may have information about assistance available through the school or the state. And those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Real Estate Programs

Best Online Master's in Real Estate Degree Programs

Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Daniels College of Business at University of Denver

Florida International University

University of Arizona

Auburn University Harbert College of Business

NYU School of Professional Studies

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

For this list, we concentrated on graduate-level real estate programs. Students can obtain several different types of graduate degrees in real estate, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Real Estate Development (MRED).

We also looked primarily for programs that can be completed online to ensure accessibility for all students. Some programs are offered in hybrid formats.

Each program we reviewed is offered by a regionally accredited institution, which is an added assurance that programs meet high standards of quality for postsecondary education. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

We evaluated each program based on reputation, outcomes, flexibility, faculty, course offerings, and cost. Then, we assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Real Estate Program?

Because the real estate market is constantly evolving, online master’s in real estate programs focus on helping students learn about the different factors affecting real estate sales and how to take advantage of them. That means learning more about the impact of e-commerce, the effects of economic recession, and the versatility of technology in sales and marketing.

Ultimately, being a successful real estate agent or broker means developing the insight and analytical understanding necessary to deal with unexpected opportunities and challenges, which is why the coursework for this program is so diverse.

Most of these online graduate programs are designed to be completed within two years by full-time students. However, there are accelerated programs that allow completion in as little as one year, and most programs are flexible enough that students can take longer than two years if needed.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in real estate degree program

  • Real Estate Principles. This course builds on existing knowledge of economics and finance while providing a more expansive look at the specific principles underlying the field. Students learn about real estate terminology and how to use cutting-edge technology.
  • Real Estate Law. Real estate law is very complex, and this course helps students learn more about the legal aspects involved in buying, selling, transferring, and developing various properties. Students will also master skills such as performing due diligence, completing real estate contracts, handling commercial leases, understanding real estate taxes, and more.
  • Real Estate Economics. This course focuses on helping students understand the complex relationship between the economy and real estate, including how economic forces shape where people live, the kinds of homes they buy, and when they are most likely to make a purchase.
  • Real Estate Finance. In this course, students learn about the basics of financing both commercial and residential real estate as well as the complexities of syndication, mortgage origination, and other industry-specific financing activities that every real estate professional must eventually master.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Real Estate?

Career outlook

Embarking on an educational journey to earn a master’s degree in real estate sets individuals on a path toward in-depth industry knowledge and advanced skills, and the real estate sector offers diverse career opportunities for those with specialized expertise.

Here’s a glimpse into the myriad job options possible for graduates with a master’s in real estate:

  • Real estate agent or broker — Helps clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate business, while agents must work with a broker.
    • Median annual salary: $52,030
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3%
    • New job openings projected: 51,600 annually
  • Construction or building inspector — Ensure compliance with building codes, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.
    • Median annual salary: $64,480
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): -2%
    • New job openings projected: 15,700 annually
  • Property appraiser or assessor — Estimate the value of land and buildings to help facilitate sales, mortgages, tax assessments, and insurance coverage.
    • Median annual salary: $61,560
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 6,900 annually

Online Master’s in Real Estate Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in real estate degree program?

To apply for an online master’s in real estate program, begin by accessing the online application at your schools of choice. The application should specify the exact admissions requirements, which may include transcripts verifying a minimum undergrad GPA. Depending on the school and program, the application may also require students to submit GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, and application essays.

Because no two applications are exactly alike, it’s always advisable for students to contact the school’s admissions counselor to verify the application requirements and to obtain answers to any other questions.

How much does an online master’s in real estate degree cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that graduate degrees like this cost an average of $20,513, but the exact amount will depend on various factors.

For example, the average cost of public schools ($12,596) is much cheaper than that of private schools ($28,017). Additionally, how many credits the program lasts and how long students take to complete the coursework will affect the price.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in real estate degree?

Most online master’s in real estate programs are designed to be completed within two years by full-time students.

In some cases, they may find accelerated programs that can be completed in one year. In all cases, the exact number of credit hours in the program will dictate exactly how long it takes to complete everything. No matter which program students select, the most important thing is to find one that is suitable to their schedule and allows them to complete everything promptly without sacrificing time the student may wish to spend with their family or on their career.

Is an online master's in real estate worth it?

Earning an online master’s in real estate is a worthwhile investment for individuals seeking to advance their careers in the real estate industry. The program provides in-depth knowledge, practical skills, and networking opportunities, positioning graduates for success in various real estate-related roles.

Professionals with an online master’s in real estate have competitive earning potential. Salaries can range from $60,000 to $200,000 or more annually, depending on factors such as specialization, experience, and the specific career path chosen. The real estate industry offers lucrative opportunities for skilled and knowledgeable professionals.

One of the key advantages of earning an online master’s in real estate is the potential for career advancement. Graduates are equipped with the expertise to take on leadership roles, make informed strategic decisions, and contribute to the success of real estate projects and organizations.

An online master’s in real estate enhances professionals’ knowledge and provides the tools to navigate the complexities of the real estate market. Graduates are prepared to shape the future of real estate through development, investment, and strategic decision-making, contributing significantly to the growth and sustainability of the industry.