The curriculum for the Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) is designed to instill a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of real estate. Courses typically combine lectures with case analyses and assignments that simulate situations encountered in the workplace. Courses may be taught jointly by faculty members and professionals active in the field; guest speakers from the industry provide additional perspective. Students also have opportunities to study “living” projects and real estate companies as part of the courses’ optional field work components. Academic theory and concepts are continually tested against practical realities.

Core Courses

Concepts and techniques for analyzing financial decisions in property development and investment. Topics: leasing and property income streams, pro forma analysis, equity valuation, tax analysis, options, risk, and the financial structuring of real property ownership.

VIDEO: Meet Prof. David Geltner and hear about his course

Focuses on developing an understanding of the economic factors that shape and influence the markets for real property. Includes an analysis of housing as well as commercial real estate, and covers demographic analysis, regional growth, construction cycles, urban land markets and location theory. Exercises and modeling techniques for measuring and predicting property demand, supply, vacancy and prices.

VIDEO: Meet Prof. Wheaton and hear about his course

This course examines the fundamentals of real estate development products, including residential, hotel, office, r&d/lab, and retail uses.  Faculty lectures will be combined with guest presentations and field trips to local case study projects.  The class is designed to prepare MSRED students for the spring Real Estate Development Studio, though participation by students studying in related fields is welcome, depending on space availability.

This seminar provides students with a concise overview of the range of building systems that are encountered in professional commercial real estate development practice in the USA. The course focuses on the relationship between real estate product types, building systems, and the factors that real estate development professionals must consider when evaluating these products and systems for a specific development project. The course surveys commercial building technology including Foundation, Structural, MEP/FP, Envelope, and Interiors systems and analyzes the factors that lead development professionals to select specific systems for specific product types. One or more field trips to active construction sites may be scheduled during non-class hours based on student availability.

Focuses on the process of synthesizing projects for the real estate development industry, including the integration of finance and marketing with physical programming and design. Interdisciplinary student teams analyze how to maximize value in large scale, mixed use projects and then prepare professional development proposals. To provide a foundation for the work, the subject reviews contemporary practice in residential and commercial development as well as innovative new real estate products. Projects are interspersed with lectures, field trips, and short sketch exercises. This is a capstone subject integrating skills and knowledge in the MSRED program, also open to other students interested in real estate development.  International/domestic travel may required as part of this course; students are responsible for their own travel expenses.

Video: meet Prof. Frenchman & hear about his course

This half-semester course introduces and surveys the major public capital market real estate vehicles financing commercial real estate investments: REITs and CMBS. Some basic background is also included on macro-level real estate investment issues such as portfolio theory, equilibrium asset pricing, and indexing real estate prices and returns (including a brief intro to RE index derivatives). This course is primarily designed to provide MSRED students with a basic introduction to the public capital market sources of financial capital for real estate, and how those markets value such capital investments.

This half term class offers students the opportunity to explore and identify a final thesis topic through a series of assignments and presentations.  Attendance is required for all MSRED students.

Elective Courses

Explains role of the entrepreneur in the construction industry using case studies to outline different steps in developing construction enterprises. Emphasis on strategic marketing component in the development of these businesses. Lectures address program, development, and construction management services. Guest lectures from entrepreneurs in their field. There is also a team project identifying an opportunity and developing a strategic marketing/business plan for a company in the design/construct or related industries.

Video: meet John Kennedy & hear about his course

The objective of this course is for students to understand the most important business provisions within six of the principal documents a for-profit (or non-profit) real estate developer will negotiate in connection with the site control, entitlement, capitalization, and construction phases of a real estate development venture.  More specifically, (i) the site control phase will focus on negotiating right-of-entry and purchase and sale agreements with a landowner, (ii) the entitlement phase will focus on negotiating a development agreement with a municipality, (iii) the capitalization phase will focus on negotiating equity joint-venture and a construction loan agreements, and (iv) the construction phase will focus on negotiating a construction contract with a general contractor.

Video: meet Tod McGrath & hear about his course

The course provides theories, concepts and tools to craft, articulate and refine a “leadership point of view”. Students converse with leaders in the real estate industry to understand the leaders’ experiences and development. Students complete multiple self-assessments to better understand their strengths and opportunities for growth. At the conclusion of the course, students have a deeper understanding of leadership; a better understanding of themselves and their authentic leadership style; an increased ability to “connect” with others, and a plan for the on-going development of their leadership capabilities.  Enrollment is limited.

Video: meet Dr. Gloria Schuck & hear about her course

This course is intended to provide an overview of affordable and mixed-income housing development for students interested in the field who wish to understand the fundamental issues and requirements of affordable housing, the process one undertakes to plan and develop such housing, and some practical experience assembling an affordable or mixed-income housing development proposal.

Video: meet Peter Roth & hear about his course

This course introduces the fundamentals of modern financial analysis that are essential to valuation, risk analysis, and investment decisions. Special emphasis is placed on applications to real estate markets. Topics include discounting and present values, the valuation of stocks and bonds, risk and return, the construction of optimal portfolios, asset pricing models as well as derivative securities.

Examines the compatibility of various project delivery methods, consisting of organizations, contracts, and award methods, with certain types of projects and owners. Six methods examined: traditional general contracting; construction management; multiple primes; design-build; turnkey; and build-operate-transfer. Consists of lectures, case studies, guest speakers, and a team project to analyze a case example. Key goal is a strong strategic understanding of how best to deliver various types of projects in the built environment.

Video: meet Chris Gordon & hear about his course

Designed as a continuation of Documenting the Development Process I (11.351), the objective of this course is for students to understand the most important business provisions within six of the principal documents of a for-profit (or non-profit) real estate developer will negotiate in connection with the value creation, permanent financing, and asset management phases of a real estate development venture.  More specifically, (i) the value creation phase will focus on negotiating an office lease with a major law firm and a retail lease with a national retailer, (ii) the permanent financing phase will focus on negotiating a permanent loan, a mezzanine loan, and an inter-creditor agreement, and (iii) the asset management phase will address the important business, financial, legal and federal income tax issues associated with the venture falling into financial distress and the need to negotiate standstill and loan modification agreements.

This course investigates the economics of securitization. The course will apply the tools of economics and finance to provide a detailed understanding of the markets for asset-backed securities. The basic mechanics of structuring deals for various asset-backed securities will be explored.  It will also consider the risk management techniques used in both the pooling and slicing (tranching) phases of securitization. The course will then consider the numerous problems that arise in pricing pooled assets using Monte Carlo and option pricing techniques and an analysis of the trading strategies that are used in these markets. The course concludes with issues pertaining to the use of asset-backed securities to finance projects and other business activities.

Video: meet Dr. Walter Torous & hear about his course

Course provides an introduction to selected analytical tools as applied to support design and decision-making regarding real estate and infrastructure development.  Particular focus on identifying and valuing soruces of flexibility, including “real options” and Monte-Carlo simulation techniques.  Selected other techniques from the field of engineering systems may also be covered in a given offering of the course.  Course seeks to integrate economic and engineering perspectives, and is suitable for students with a range of backgrounds.

In this course, students will develop a theory of comparative differences in international housing markets, focusing on basic outcomes, valuation, finance, and economics. They will learn about institutional differences in the ways housing expenditures are financed, and about the economic determinants of housing outcomes, such as construction costs, land values, housing quality, and ownership rates. Students will also study the flow of funds to and from the different national housing finance sectors, trying to understand the greater financial and macroeconomic implications of the mortgage credit sector, and how policies affect the ways in which housing asset fluctuations impact national economies. This will lead students to develop a model of housing price fundamentals and fluctuations that is based on recent research.  Students will also consider the perspective of investors in international real estate markets and the risks and rewards involved. While drawing lessons from an international comparative approach, students will try to make them applicable to housing economic and finance policies and investments at the local, state/provincial, and federal levels within the student’s country of choice.

VIDEO: Meet Prof. Albert Saiz and hear about his course

  • 11.962: Field Work: Real Estate

Students will participate in an internship opportunity, as well as submit a written summary of their work experience and present the results of their work (an aspect of the research they did, insight on a deal they helped close, etc., as appropriate and allowed by their employer) to their classmates in a ten minute presentation.


Special Seminars

Real estate is an ever-evolving field and, as such, new and exciting innovations are a constant. In order to allow a more in-depth study of some topics covered by other courses, as well as provide insight into many of these innovations, the MSRED Program hosts a revolving list of half-semester seminars each fall and spring. Past and current seminars include: