Top 7 Real Estate Master’s Degree Programs

May 8, 2013

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Because of the evolving nature of real estate, selecting the appropriate degree program is of paramount importance. A singular degree focus is rarely enough to provide students with all of the skills and knowledge needed for a successful future. Rather, a broader approach is much more desirable and will better serve the student in the long-term. As such, interdisciplinary study is highly encouraged. Interdisciplinary programs—as offered by George Mason University—allow students to pursue a degree program that offers courses from multiple departments that complement one another, offering a more robust, versatile skill set. By pursuing an interdisciplinary degree program, your field of knowledge becomes even more targeted towards the specialization of real estate development that interests you.

Below you’ll find concise comparisons of George Mason University and other higher education bodies. While each of these universities are within the greater Washington, D.C. area, each school is unique and offers their own specialized approach to providing students with the necessary skills to advance within their sought-after career in real estate development.


George Mason University

George Mason University offers a master’s degree in real estate development. Their academic program prepares students to develop professional and relevant networking connections to help them achieve success in the real estate industry. Located in Fairfax, Virginia, its master’s program in real estate development offers classes taught by expert faculty in the School of Management, School of Public Policy, and School of Engineering. The program spans disciplines in management, development, civil engineering, and public policy, allowing students to create current and future alliances in endeavors that will challenge them to pursue innovative and creative ways to address the needs of the community. The total cost of a master’s program for in-state students is $28,244 while out-of-state students pay $32,004. Students are not expected to complete courses in tandem with other students, so a combined approach of individual coursework and team collaboration takes place throughout the program. Students are required to complete 18 core units and 18 elective units to graduate.

George Washington University

George Washington University, located in Washington D. C., offers a concentration within the Global MBA program in Real Estate and Urban Development. The theories provided in the classroom are applied practically in professional settings. Although a cohort structure is required the first year in core subjects, students take electives in analytical strategies and entrepreneurship the second year with an emphasis on customization so that students can take courses that appeal to their overall goals. The full time program requires completion of 24 core credits and 33 elective credits and is offered for $53,500 per year total and $1,114 per credit.

Carey Business School

Carey Business School is a private institute at John Hopkins University in the Baltimore-Washington D. C. area and offers a cohort-structured master’s degree in real estate. The one-year, all-inclusive program is taught by faculty and executives of local firms offering students an internship for practical experience and allowing them to shadow a professional. A 40-credit program is offered for working professionals who are already mavens in real estate. As of 2013, the cost of the one-year program for full time students is $56,200 and part time students pay $1,170 per unit.

University of Maryland

The real estate development master’s program at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland is in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. It addresses all aspects of the real estate industry, including teaching students the importance of finances as they relate to design, social and environmental responsibility. A cohort structure is in place, so students work in tandem with others in their class and develop relationships with local trade associations for personal and professional enrichment. The cost of the full program, which consists of 24 core subjects and 9 electives, for in-state students is $77,000 and $106,600 for out-of-state students. The program employs a paradigm shift to the Quadruple Bottom Line Concept in which social, cultural, environmental and economic factors are considered for future generations to sustain what has been built. Both master’s degrees and certificates of professional studies are available.

American University

American University in Washington, D. C. offers a master’s degree in real estate through the Kogod School of Business and prepares its students for successful careers in commercial real estate. The full or part time program ranges from 30-37.5 units. Any elective can be used to complement what you have already done or to specialize in a specific area. The cost per unit is $1260 with a total for the program at $37,800. There is no cohort structure, so students are free to set their own individualized time to complete full time study in one year or part time in three years.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University, in Washington, D. C., has no cohort structure and requires 30 units to complete a Master of Professional Studies in real estate in the School of Continuing Studies. One of the few programs to offer study in corporate and international real estate, it addresses every aspect of the industry and emphasizes environmental and green issues. The cost is $905 per unit totaling $27,150.


While real estate is often thought of as simply listing and selling properties to earn a commission, in actuality it is so much more. Whether your desired work is in development, engineering, management, or real estate entrepreneurial pursuits, you need a thorough knowledge of your specific area with a diverse set of interdisciplinary, supportive skills. Some of the required skills are inherent, but others are realized by diligently learning the craft, with success resting upon your knowledge, skill, dedication, and mindset.

Acquiring a master’s degree in real estate can be the beginning of an extremely rewarding career, both professionally and personally. It not only affords you essential skills, but it also conveys a feeling of confidence in your ability to develop, manage, buy, or sell properties. Therefore it is absolutely vital that you select the right degree program for you. We hope the above information proves to be an informative comparison of master’s degree real estate programs, and that it will serve as a solid starting point as you begin researching the university perfectly suited to your needs.

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About Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Management. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

View all posts by Jackie Buchy

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