The curriculum is designed so that students in the Master of Science in Real Estate Development degree program can achieve a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of real estate. Typically, courses combine lectures with case analysis and assignments which simulate situations encountered in the workplace. They 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 field work component. Academic theory and concepts are tested continually against practical reality.
Designed to be completed in 11 months of intensive full-time study (fall, spring and summer terms), the curriculum is demanding and rapidly paced. Following an orientation period in late August, classes begin in September. Theses are due the following July. Degrees are awarded in the fall.
Students must successfully complete a minimum of eight courses and a thesis. The Center's core courses must be taken unless advanced standing is granted.
Once real estate students apply for and receive advanced standing in core subjects on the basis of prior academic work or a record of field experience, they are encouraged to pursue electives. Advanced standing students can take courses throughout MIT or at Harvard through the MIT/Harvard cross-registration program. They have added flexibility to select courses within a chosen specialization or discipline such as finance, housing policy, or land use regulation.
The required thesis provides students with an opportunity to integrate and apply the areas of knowledge acquired in course work in a substantial written report, equivalent in weight to one full course. Students may choose to take part in Center research projects, to identify a topic of their own, or to select a research proposal (pdf 32k) offered by a member firm.
A thesis seminar is offered during the spring term. It describes faculty research interests and explains quantitative and qualitative methodologies to help students explore possible thesis topics. Thesis topics and work plans are finalized by the end of the spring. Thesis research, which may include interviews, statistical analysis and project evaluations as well as literature reviews, and the writing of the thesis is accomplished over the summer term. See some examples of thesis abstracts.
A student who wants additional study to complement the real estate degree may submit an application to pursue a joint degree from other departments at MIT such as the Department of Architecture, Urban Studies and Planning, or the Sloan School of Management. If you want more information, request it when you ask for a program brochure.
The Center also supports Ph.D. students in Management, Engineering, Economics and Urban Studies and Planning who are specializing in real estate. You can download additional information about the Ph.D. program (pdf 12k).