Best Master’s in Real Estate Degrees

Best Master’s in Real Estate Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

What kind of Master’s in Real Estate Degree should you get?

Master's in real estate programs prepare learners for careers as real estate developers, lease administrators, and community developers. Degree-seekers take classes like foundations of real estate accounting and real estate finance. Many top real estate master's programs require a final-semester capstone project.

Applicants need a bachelor's from an accredited college. Many real estate master's programs require undergraduate transcripts. Applicants may also need to submit a statement of purpose, recommendation letters, and standardized test scores.

This page lists the best master's in real estate programs. Read on to learn about costs, common classes, and how to become a real estate agent.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

What can you do with a master's in real estate?

Graduates may work as real estate investment bankers, portfolio managers, or developers. These and other well-paying careers may require additional education and training.

How long does a master's in real estate take?

Some accelerated programs take only 10-12 months for full-time enrollees. Part-time students may need 2-3 years to graduate.

How much does a real estate degree cost?

Tuition varies by school. Students attending in-state, public universities usually pay the most affordable tuition These schools may waive out-of-state tuition for online learners.

Featured Online Real Estate Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Real Estate?

Earning a real estate master's degree can help graduates advance their careers. A master's degree shows dedication to the field and mastery of many skills. Degree-seekers can often specialize in residential, commercial, or international real estate. Pursuing a master's in real estate also lets students network with like-minded professionals. These connections may lead to new job opportunities.

Many schools offer master's in real estate programs online. An online format helps students continue their careers while earning their degree. Online students can also enroll in a top out-of-state program without relocating. Online degree-seekers receive the same student services and career-planning resources as on-campus students.

How Much Does a Real Estate Degree Cost?

Master's degrees cost an average of $66,340, according to EducationData.org. However, cost varies by school, learners' residency status, and program length. Students who complete a degree sooner can avoid rising tuition costs.

Prospective learners should budget for extra expenses in addition to tuition. For example, many schools charge online learners technology and graduation fees. Students may also need to buy textbooks or a new laptop.

Learners can lower their education expenses by applying to school with institutional scholarships and grants. These awards may eliminate the need for student loans. Degree-seekers should also submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal grants.

How Much Do Real Estate Majors Make?

Graduates with a master's in real estate may work as real estate brokers or sales agents. These professionals earn a median $51,220 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The highest-earning real estate agents make $174,000 annually. Many factors influence salary, including employer and geographic location.

Earning a master's degree can help professionals qualify for high-paying jobs. For example, real estate graduates from the University of California, Los Angeles make a median $120,000 annual salary. This figure nearly triples the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

Courses in Real Estate

Master's in real estate programs help prepare learners for licensure and professional certifications. Core classes may cover the real estate process, negotiations, and real estate market analysis. Some programs offer electives or specialization options. Degree-seekers may take a final-semester capstone.

See below for three common classes in real estate programs. Keep in mind that programs vary by school. Students should check with their prospective schools for information on specific offerings.

  • The Real Estate Process

    This first-semester class covers residential and commercial real estate. Degree-seekers examine real estate professionals' roles and responsibilities. Programs using a cohort learning model require team-building exercises and networking sessions.
  • Negotiations

    Real estate professionals spend much of their time negotiating deals. This class teaches negotiation best practices in different settings, such as dispositions, lease agreements, and operations and management. Students develop their skills through simulations with peers. Coursework may require students to consider ethical dilemmas workers face on the job.
  • Real Estate Market Analysis

    This advanced class requires students to analyze how supply and demand affect the real estate market. Learners consider many factors, such as rising rents, land economics, and surrounding infrastructure. Degree-seekers explore the latest regulations real estate professionals must follow. Top master's in real estate programs invite experts to speak on these issues.

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Aspiring real estate agents need at least a high school diploma. However, employers may prefer candidates with a degree. Earning a degree helps professionals develop business, interpersonal, and organizational skills. Master's degree-holders may open an independent sales office.

Most brokers and agents work for themselves. Others work with real estate companies. These professionals help clients sell or buy properties. They also analyze contracts and maintain paperwork. Other common tasks include creating ads and leading open houses.

Licensure for Real Estate Agents

Prospective real estate agents do not need a master's in real estate to apply to entry-level positions. In California, candidates 18 and older must pass three undergraduate classes. They include real estate principles and real estate practice. Candidates select the third class from a list of electives. Students can complete these classes at an approved community or junior college.

Learners meeting the education requirement take an exam. California offers a three-hour salesperson exam and a four-hour broker exam. Candidates need a 70-75% minimum score to pass, depending on the exam. Those who do not pass on their first try may retake the exam for an additional fee.

Brokers can renew their license every four years by completing 45 continuing education hours from approved providers. As of Feb. 2022, California charges a $245-$300 licensure renewal fee. Professionals with an expired license pay higher fees.

Best Master's in Real Estate Degrees

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $21576

    Overview

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hits the top of our list for the best Master’s in Real Estate. Though MIT is best known for its school of engineering, which accounts for over 60 percent of its student body, it also houses four other schools in science, humanities, management, and architecture. MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Program Features

    MIT’s Master of Science in Real Estate has it all—classes taught by professionals in the field, a balance of theory and application, internship opportunities, and more. The program can be completed in as little as 11 months, though most students take 16 months. Some stand-out coursework for this program includes:

    • Real Estate Capital Markets
    • Mixed-Income Housing Development
    • Innovative Project Delivery in the Public & Private Sectors
    • Mortgage Securitization and Other Assets

    Notables

    If you’re worried about making this work financially, check out the numerous Fellow Programs and Fellowships that MIT has to offer. The Fellow Programs tend to cover 30-50 percent of tuition while the Fellowships cover around 5-20 percent. Every little bit counts!

  2. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $22944

    Overview

    The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League research institution that was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. It is considered one of the oldest universities in the United States. If you’re looking for a real estate degree, this is a fantastic school for you. U.S. News and World Report ranks the Wharton School of Business at the #1 spot in the nation!

    Program Features

    This real estate degree is offered as a major within the larger MBA program. As noted above, Wharton MBA graduates have a reputation that precedes them—97 percent of graduates last year found full-time employment immediately after graduating. You’ll take two required core classes and then choose three real estate electives out of a range of options like:

    • Urban Fiscal Policy
    • Housing Markets
    • International Real Estate Comparisons
    • Real Estate Law

    Notables

    The Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Real Estate Center is a fantastic facility that you’ll have right at your doorstep. Founded in 1983, it was designed to give real estate students access to lectures, conferences, and special guests to campus.

  3. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $17160

    Overview

    There’s almost too much to be said about the University of California Berkeley. Other than being the #4 public university in the world (according to U.S. News & World Report), it is a leader in research across disciplines. UC Berkeley is also the flagship university of the University of California system.

    Program Features

    The Haas School of Business is Berkeley’s renowned business program. You’ll earn a 51-credit-hour MBA with a focus in Real Estate. In addition to rigorous coursework, you’ll spend time at the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics. The real estate coursework covers a number of different areas:

    • Development
    • Investment Strategy
    • Finance and Securitization
    • Financial Analysis

    Notables

    UC Berkeley’s program has a notable global focus to its real estate program. You’ll have opportunities to travel abroad and apply your learnings. Students have gone to the London Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and more.

  4. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $14236

    Overview

    Located in the Westwood district, the University of California, Los Angeles (known as UCLA) is a strong public research institution known for its degrees in fine arts, psychology, and medicine. Just this year, U.S. News & World Report listed UCLA as the #1 public university in the country (tied with UC Berkeley).

    Program Features

    The MBA program at UCLA offers a specialization in Real Estate and Global Management. Your classes will cover everything from finance to investments to strategic planning and analysis. You’ll also take on Applied Management Research projects. Some of your electives will look like this:

    • Real Estate Law and Taxation
    • Urban Real Estate Finance and Investment
    • Affordable Housing Development
    • Fixed Income Markets

    Notables

    The program at UCLA gets you involved in a variety of engaging extracurriculars. For example, the Anderson Real Estate Association Club is a great way to network. They also host “Dinners for Eight” with area industry leaders in real estate. Even more, you’ll find resources and research opportunities at the Ziman Center for Real Estate.

  5. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $30014

    Overview

    Located in Ithaca, New York, and a respected Ivy League school, Cornell University is a landmark institution for academic excellence. The Johnson School of Management was recently named the #10 business school in the nation by Forbes.

    Program Features

    Cornell University offers a joint MBA/MPA (Masters in Professional Studies) in Real Estate. This means you’ll master all areas of the field—both the development and business sides of real estate. Most students complete it in three full years (6 semesters and 2 summer internships). You’ll take courses like:

    • Real Estate Development Process
    • Real Estate Finance and Investments
    • International Cases and Contracts
    • Statistical Analysis of Real Estate Data

    Notables

    The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise is a unique facility at Cornell University. It focuses on clean technology, innovative financial options, and sustainable markets. These goals are increasingly viable and profitable in our changing society. You’ll be able to access research and resources opportunities here.

  6. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanston, IL

    Tuition

    $29326

    Overview

    Located just north of Chicago—in Evanston, Illinois—Northwestern University is a bright spot on the cityscape. The Kellogg School of Management has been ranked as one of the top business schools in the world. Its full-time MBA program can be completed in either one or two years.

    Program Features

    The Kellogg MBA program offers a focus track in Real Estate. Your courses will be divided into two groups: Foundation and Depth. Your foundational classes will focus on finance and investments. Then, you’ll branch into engaging electives such as:

    • International Real Estate
    • Public Economics for Business Leaders: State and Local Policy
    • Legal Issues in Real Estate
    • Urban Economic Development and Real Estate Market Analysis

    Notables

    You’ll have numerous opportunities to dig deeper into your learning through global experiences and experiential learning on-campus. The International Growth Lab matches you up with international students in Barcelona and Hong Kong. Private Equity and Venture Labs are 3-month internship opportunities that pair you up with venture capital firms.

  7. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $35147

    Overview

    Located in the hub of the “Big Apple,” New York University (NYU) is a force. Between its numerous locations—throughout New York and across the globe—NYU enrolls around 50,500 students annually. Its business program is ranked 12th in the nation.

    Program Features

    The M.S. in Real Estate is a 42-credit-hour program offered through the Schack Institute of Real Estate at NYU. You’ll decide between one of two concentrations: Finance and Investment or Real Estate Asset Management. Before specializing, you can look forward to some shared classes in areas like:

    • Corporate Finance
    • Real Estate Valuation & Feasibility Analysis
    • Real Estate Capital Markets
    • Legal Principles & Practices

    Notables

    NYU has one of the more spendier programs on our list. But fear not! It also offers generous scholarships specific to the M.S. in Real Estate program. You can choose from some of the following: New York Women Executives in Real Estate Scholarship, Cushman and Wakefield Scholarship, and more.

  8. University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $15945

    Overview

    The University of Virginia (UVA) has a rich history that is deeply embedded with our nation’s history. Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, it is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Darden School of Business is ranked 2nd among other public universities.

    Program Features

    You’ll focus your studies at the University of Virginia by getting an MBA with specialized courses in Real Estate. During the first three quarters, you’ll cover the core curriculum. This covers everything from global economics to operations management. The bulk of your classes will be in management, but the specialized real estate coursework includes:

    • Real Estate Finance and Development
    • Development Dynamics
    • Financial Management and Policies

    Notables

    The bread and butter of your real estate connections at UVA will come in the form of student clubs and events. The Darden Real Estate Club was established to help students cultivate relationships with professionals in the industry. You’ll find internship opportunities, ARGUS training, LEED certification tips, and more.

  9. Rice University
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $22061

    Overview

    Located near Houston’s Museum District, Rice University is a respected private research institution. With an undergraduate acceptance rate of about 16 percent, it is considered Texas’ most selective university. The Jones Graduate School of Business was recently ranked in the top 25 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    Rice University offers a full-time MBA that features a Real Estate concentration. This program covers topics like the application of the discounted cash flow model or real estate management decisions. You’ll also have the chance to add another concentration to your degree. You can choose from some of the following:

    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Operations Management

    Notables

    Rice University has an incredible international program established specifically for MBA students. You can choose from international seminars in Mexico City, Global Intersession trips to China or Colombia, student exchange programs in Costa Rica, India, and much more.

  10. Georgia Institute of Technology
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $13340

    Overview

    A standout feature of Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology (more commonly known as Georgia Tech) is a public research institution with a history that reaches back to 1885. True to its original academic focus, Georgia Tech’s MBA has a reputation for incorporating technical elements to its curriculum.

    Program Features

    At Georgia Tech, you’ll complete an MBA through the Scheller College of Business. Within the 54-credit-hour MBA, you can specialize in Real Estate. You’ll take nine credit hours in real estate specific coursework. Some of your options include:

    • Financial Aspects of Commercial Real Estate
    • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Real Estate Development
    • Real Estate Practicum

    Notables

    Georgia Tech’s MBA features a summer internship that falls between your first and second year in the program. This is a paid internship, and the average monthly salary for students is around $7,120. Students have been placed in businesses like SEI Investments, Cox Enterprises, and more.

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