The Master in Real Estate (MRE) is a 12-month degree program for individuals seeking to acquire or sharpen traditional real estate skills while learning how well-designed real estate can advance beneficial spatial, social, and environmental outcomes in cities and metropolitan areas worldwide.
The application portal for the 2024-25 academic year is now open. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s or equivalent degree. Two or more years of professional experience in real estate or related fields (urban planning, urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, etc.) are preferred. Scholarships will be available based on need. The program aims to have about 35 students.
Why has Harvard opted to offer the MRE degree?
Fast evolving social, environmental, and economic conditions in cities and metropolitan areas are precipitating the need for new skills and knowledge. On top of the customary pressures of making real estate succeed are the impacts of climate change, demands for equitable development, changing home-work arrangements, on-line consumerism, and global flows of capital. Many real estate investors and developers are applying sustainability, social impact, or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as new metrics for performance. Regulatory agencies are moving to require that developers and owners demonstrate that their projects account for environmental factors. The provision of socially desirable public benefits such as affordable housing is becoming a common requirement of local development approval.
Whether originated by private for-profit, private not-for-profit, or public actors, real estate occupies a pivotal role in determining the extent to which the physical places where people live, work, and play are productive, equitable, sustainable, and attractive. How can real estate as a field of practice deploy its actors, resources, and processes to meet growing societal aspirations for equitable and environmentally sustainable cities and metropolitan areas? What knowledge, techniques, and theories must practitioners learn to meet this broader array of opportunities and challenges? How should academic degree programs in real estate pedagogically address the new realities?
Through a curriculum of required and elective courses, along with a two-month off-campus practicum within a private for-profit, private not-for-profit, or public real estate organization, the MRE program teaches students about finance, project and construction management, government regulation, urban economics, design, public-private partnerships, politics, technology, real estate law, ethics, entrepreneurship, negotiation, leadership, and other subjects essential to the practice of present and future real estate.
The placement of the MRE degree within the Department of Urban Planning and Design reflects the Department’s longstanding strengths in real estate and closely related fields. The Department hosts Harvard University’s only endowed chair in real estate, the Michael D. Spear Chair, along with the Plimpton Chair in planning and urban economics. Leading scholars and practitioners not only offer real estate courses, but also cover such subjects as land use and environmental law, urban design and planning, housing policy, transportation, international development, healthy and sustainable buildings and cities, new towns, and urban history.
MRE students also benefit from being part of one of the largest design schools in the world, with close to 200 faculty members and 900 graduate students. Beyond the GSD are Harvard’s 12 graduate and professional schools, along with the College, that together weave a rich tapestry of relevant courses and resources. Like all Harvard students, MRE students enjoy cross-registration privileges that enable them to take eligible courses at the Harvard Business School, the Kennedy School, the Law School, the T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the College. Students may also cross-register in eligible classes at MIT and Tufts Fletcher School.
Curricular offerings are supplemented by research and public programs offered by several GSD centers. The Joint Center for Housing Studies issues the renowned annual “State of the Nation’s Housing” report and enjoys long-standing relationships with some of the world’s largest housing providers. Working from its specially designed and constructed HouseZero building, the Center for Green Buildings and Cities produces cutting edge research on how existing buildings can dramatically reduce their energy footprints. Other Harvard centers and initiatives such as The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, the Center for the Environment (part of the Salata Institute), the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative sponsor many public programs with relevance to real estate study and practice.
An important measure of a professional degree program’s success is the ability of its graduates to secure significant and enhanced employment following graduation. The MRE degree program enjoys the advantages of Harvard’s provision of career services and its vast network of alumni engaged in real estate practice worldwide. The GSD’s Office of Career Services provides career counseling, the Connect GSD (mentorship platform), and access to the CREATE platform for post-graduation employment opportunities, programs, and events geared toward career success. The Harvard Real Estate Alumni Organization and the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board are active in connecting students with alumni.
MRE graduates will be prepared to assume meaningful positions worldwide in private for-profit real estate companies doing projects that are financially viable and advance beneficial social and environmental outcomes; private not-for-profit real estate entities such as community development corporations and affordable housing developers; public and quasi-public agencies that partner with private developers; real estate advisory and consulting organizations; public and private investors seeking projects that advance socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes; and anchor institutions such as universities and medical institutions (“eds and meds”) that play increasingly significant roles in urban development. Some MRE graduates may choose to set off on their own entrepreneurial path. Others may decide to return to the organization where they worked prior to matriculation, but with opportunities for promotion and new directions based on their MRE degree.
Interested in the MRE program?
For general inquiries about the Master in Real Estate program, please email [email protected] or call 617-495-6120, Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00 PM ET. If you would like to be entered in our database and receive future mailings, please fill out the Contact Form.