Answers to frequently asked questions about the Master’s degree program in real estate.


What is the length of the MSRED program?

The program is structured to be completed in 11 months of intensive study. Students are required to take six core courses, plus electives, and complete their thesis during the summer term. There is a two-week Orientation period before classes begin in the fall.

Since 2010, students have had the option to defer the thesis to the following fall and take the summer to pursue internships or other opportunities. Students who choose this option complete the degree in approximately 16 months.


What is the average age of a student in the MSRED program?

Although each class is quite diverse in many regards, students are typically in their late twenties or early thirties. The program regularly sees students in their 40s or, occasionally, 50s. There is no upper age limit to the program.

In 2017, The Center for Real Estate introduced the Young Leaders Program to the MSRED degree for those exceptional applicants with fewer than 3 years of professional experience.   


What does the Admissions Committee look for in an applicant?

The Admissions Committee is especially interested in candidates who are well rounded in terms of their real estate experience, academic ability, personality, character, and professional promise. It is important to note that the Committee will evaluate all admission requirements equally. For a detailed listing of admissions requirements, please see our Admissions Checklist, or Young Leaders Checklist for Young Leaders Program candidates.


Do I still have to take the GMAT/GRE if I already have an advanced degree and substantial work experience?

The GMAT or the GRE is required of all applicants, regardless of their previous educational or professional experience. The only exceptions are directly related to COVID-19, and further information may be found in the Application Instructions or Checklist documents.  


Do you have a minimum GMAT/GRE score requirement?

While it is important to perform well on the GMAT/GRE, we do not have a minimum score. Average GMAT scores in recent years have ranged between 680-720 and average GRE scores range between 155-160 in recent years. The GMAT or the GRE exam is required for admission to the MSRED program and, combined with prior academic performance, serves as a guide to the admissions committee in determining an applicant’s academic potential in coursework at MIT.

Applicants who take the GMAT/GRE multiple times will be interested to know that the most recent score is the score to report on the application. Although the Admissions Committee cannot recommend a preparatory course for the GMAT or the GRE, some applicants have found them useful. We do not accept the LSAT. Applicants must take the GMAT/GRE no later than December 31 in order for the Admissions Committee to receive an official score by January 15.  


I’m an international student, but I went to college in the US. Can I get a TOEFL / IELTS waiver?

Either IELTS or TOEFL is required of all non-native English speakers. Test scores must be from within the past two years. If you intend to request a waiver, please review the process as outlined in the Checklist document before submitting your waiver materials.  

Receiving a waiver is not guaranteed and, without a waiver or a TOEFL/IELTS score, an application will be considered incomplete, so applicants who are seeking a waiver should plan ahead to ensure they have time to take the IELTS or TOEFL exam if their waiver request should be denied.  Waiver requests should therefore be submitted no later than December 1.  

For admitted international students whose native language is not English, the CRE has an English Evaluation Test Policy


Is it possible to place out of a core course?

Students are not able to place out of core courses. Transfer credit is not accepted.


Can I take courses outside of MIT?

MIT has a cross-registration agreement with Harvard University. Many students have taken classes at the Kennedy School, the Graduate School of Design, or the Business School.


How many applications does the program receive each year and how many students do you accept into the MSRED program?

The MSRED Program receives between 130-150 applications each year. Typically the program accepts approximately 30 students. We also have a small number of dual degree students who apply to the program from other departments at MIT.


What advice would you give someone who is trying to decide between an MBA and the MSRED program?

One of the determining factors between whether to get an MBA or an MSRED degree is whether you have a general interest in business. If you are interested in getting general information about marketing, accounting, quantitative methods, or any of the other general business courses you would be required to take your first year, an MBA may be for you. However, if you are committed to a career in real estate and would like an intense, one-year, broad-based yet real estate focused experience, an MSRED might be more appropriate. The advantages of the MSRED program at MIT are:

      • A wealth of focused Real Estate courses;
      • Shorter duration (1 year vs. 2 years);
      • Global network of alums/partner companies;
      • See our chart, “MSRED or MBA?”.


What are some of the positions your graduates accept upon completion of the MSRED program?

The real estate industry is diverse and so are the positions assumed by MSRED graduates. Graduates go into project management, acquisitions, finance, asset management, development, construction & site management, investment management, etc. See a partial list of employers (Recent Employers) and a summary of jobs alumni hold and starting salaries (Careers and Compensation).


Is it possible to get a PhD in Real Estate Development?

The Center for Real Estate does not officially offer a PhD degree. Students who are interested in a PhD degree with a Real Estate focus must apply and enroll in the PhD program in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, with which the Center is affiliated. More information can be found here


What is the procedure for enrolling in a dual degree program?

In order to pursue a dual degree program at MIT you need to apply to each program separately. Once admitted, you must then satisfy the requirements of both programs in order to receive both degrees. Normally, students complete a dual degree program in two years plus one additional term. For more dual degree information, please click here.


Is it possible to pursue the MSRED online or on a part-time basis?

No. The MSRED is a full-time, on-campus program. 


When is the application deadline?

The deadline is January 15th every year for enrollment the following September.


Do the professional development courses count towards an MSRED?

No, the Professional Development Courses are part of our Certificate in Real Estate Finance and Development and you do not receive Masters-level credit for them. Much of the material covered in these courses derives from the core courses in the MSRED program, however, and offer a brief window into the MSRED rigor and experience.


Does the MSRED program offer deferrals?

No. If an applicant is admitted to the program but is unable to attend, they may re-apply the following year, or in a subsequent year.  Applicants who are waitlisted or rejected may also re-apply to the program again. The re-application process is explained in our instructions for applicants.


I have been out of school for a long time and am not able to obtain an academic recommendation. Will the admissions committee accept a professional recommendation instead?

Of the three required letters of recommendation, it is preferred that one be from a former professor. However, if this is not possible to obtain, we will accept a third professional recommendation. It is most important that recommendations come from contacts best able to speak to your character.

For our Young Leader Program applicants, 2 academic and 1 professional recommendation is preferred. If you do not have a professional recommendation, a third academic may be used. If you have more than 1 professional recommendation, you may submit 2 professional and 1 academic recommendation.


Does the program offer any financial assistance or fellowships?

Fellowships and fellow programs

Fellowships and fellow programs are at the discretion of the funding source and are not necessarily offered on an annual basis. The MSRED program makes every effort to pursue Fellowships, Fellow Programs, and Awards for which our students are eligible and is often called upon to make recommendations for such awards.

Fellow Programs include a tuition award and a stipend, for which recipients are required to work up to 10 hours per week in a research, liaison, or other capacity. The available Fellow Programs are updated on the Fellow Program and Fellowship Application Form each year shortly before the online application opens on September 1.   Fellow Programs available in the past include: the Director’s Fellow Program, the Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate Prologis Fellow Program, the William Wheaton Fellow Program, and Blakeley Fellow Program, and the Sustainable Real Estate Development Action Fellow Program.  

Fellowships are tuition awards only (no stipend), and are -generally- less substantial awards than Fellow Programs.  Available fellowships may vary year to year in kind and award amount.  As with Fellow Programs, available fellowships are updated on the Fellow Program and Fellowship Application Form each year shortly before the online application opens on September 1.  Fellowships available in the past include: the Yellow Ribbon award, the Blake Eagle Fellowship, the Thomas J. Geraghty Fellowship, the Theodore S. Bacon Jr. Fellowship, the Mark J. Waltch Fellowship, the MIT Center for Real Estate Diversity Fellowship, the Donohoe Fellowship, and the Center for Real Estate Graduate Student Fellowship.  

There are also a number of awards and opportunities throughout the year provided by the Center, or that the Center passes along on behalf of third parties. These include, but are not limited to the: MIT MSRED Exemplar Award, Director’s Award for Thesis Excellence, the New York Women Executives in Real Estate WX Scholarship, the Legatum Fellowship, and a number of other opportunities passed along via MIT’s Office of Graduate Education (OGE).


How will I know when all my application materials are received?

You will receive an automated email when you submit your application via GradApply. You will receive a second email within 24-48 hours from our Academic Administrator which will indicate what materials, if any, are missing from your application package. Once all your application materials have been received you will be sent another email letting you know that your application is complete.  Please be sure to check your Spam/Junk folder for messages from the Center for Real Estate.  

Do note: because of the large number of requests we receive, and the high volume of supplemental application materials we receive, we are unable to spot-check for receipt of materials until after you have submitted your application.