Earning a master's in real estate benefits experienced real estate professionals seeking to gain more business skills and an advanced understanding of real estate development and transactions. Explore this page to learn more about this graduate degree, available specializations, and admission and degree requirements. You can also find out what kinds of jobs degree-holders qualify for and explore some of the best available online programs.

What Are the Best Real Estate Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:

Rank School Location
1 Georgetown University Washington, DC
2 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
3 Florida International University Miami, FL
4 University of Denver Denver, CO
5 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ

Individuals who hold a high school diploma and a license can work as real estate brokers and sales agents; these workers earn a median annual salary of $50,300. However, master's graduates can qualify for higher-paying jobs as analysts, agency owners, property managers, developers, and urban planners. For example, urban planners earn a median annual salary of $73,050, while financial analysts make $85,660 and commercial real estate developers make about $85,000.

A master's degree prepares you to manage more complex real estate transactions than home sales.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Real Estate Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle

Georgetown University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown offers a 33-credit master's in real estate through its School of Continuing Studies. Experienced real estate professionals can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis and take classes on campus or online. The program features training in current real estate practices through case studies and hands-on activities.

Required courses covering construction, sustainability, and development provide an in-depth understanding of the real estate industry. Five required foundation courses offer advanced preparation in real estate fundamentals, law, finance, markets, and accounting. Core classes include a course in ethics and a capstone.

Electives enable students to specialize in an area of interest, such as real estate development or construction management. Enrolled students may participate in a mentorship program that pairs students with professionals in their focus area. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation. Georgetown holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Real estate development; global real estate; real estate finance; construction management
Tuition: $1,441/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2-5 years


Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous


Phone: (202) 687-8700
Email: scsadmissions@georgetown.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter


Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

FSU's business school, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, offers a master's in business administration with a real estate specialization. FSU designed this online, part-time program for working professionals and successful college graduates. By completing two courses at a time, students can finish their degree in seven semesters.

FSU's 39-credit real estate program consists of nine core courses and four real estate electives related to topics such as real estate valuation, finance, and investment. The program's core MBA courses include business courses in financial reporting, marketing strategy, and organizational behavior.

FSU does not require applicants to hold a business degree or show completion of specific prerequisites. However, the school does recommend prep work in accounting. The application requires two letters of recommendation. The program enrolls new students three times per year.

Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Business Administration With a Real Estate Specialization
School Status: Public
Tuition: $780/credit in-state; $810/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 7 semesters


Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE
Work Experience: Some experience required


Phone: (877) 587-5540
Email: gradprograms@business.fsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter


Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

FIU's business school, which holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, offers a 30-credit, fully online master of science in international real estate. Scheduling options include a 10-month fast-track cohort with fall enrollment and a 12-month flexible cohort starting in the spring. Students typically take two eight-week courses at a time.

Courses explore all aspects of real estate transactions, including valuation, analysis, financing, and closing. Core real estate courses include development, finance, market analysis, and law. Students may take finance courses, such as corporate financial management and global real estate capital markets, learning to identify ways country-specific characteristics can impact real estate investments.

This program includes preparation for ARGUS certification. Enrolled students may access FIU's career management services. Applicants must submit a current resume and statement of purpose.

Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in International Real Estate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $28,000/year in-state; $30,000/year out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year


Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum (in upper-division coursework)
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE


Phone: (855) 210-3942
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter


University of Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

DU's School of Real Estate and Construction Management offers an online master's in real estate and the built environment. The program reports that the average salary of its graduates six months after graduation is $96,000. Experienced professionals who enroll part time can complete DU's online executive master's program option in 18-24 months.

Core courses of this 48-quarter-credit program include income property finance and construction building systems. Students select eight elective classes from course offerings related to property development, real estate, construction management, and integrated project delivery.

Live, online classes offer real-time interaction with classmates and instructors. Students may enroll in the fall or spring quarter and pursue professional certification while completing their degree. The university's College of Business holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Overview

Program Name: Executive Master of Science in Real Estate and the Built Environment
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Property development; real estate; construction management; integrated project delivery; self-designed concentration
Tuition: $1,426/credit
Credit Requirements: 48 quarter credits
Program Length: 18-24 months


Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 5 years


Phone: (303) 223-7503
Email: daniels@du.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter


University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Arizona Online offers a master of real estate development that emphasizes sustainable development and green building. Well suited for architects, urban planners, and other real estate professionals, the program covers real estate law, finance, site planning, and construction management.

Coursework proceeds through real estate fundamentals, critical financial concepts, and the development process as a whole. Course offerings include place making and urban form, due diligence and entitlements, and construction and project management. Participants also complete a capstone course.

Learners usually enroll in one or two 7.5-week online courses at a time, and the program admits students six times per year. All online learners pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Real Estate Development
School Status: Public
Tuition: $850/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years


Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum (in upper-level coursework)


Phone: (520) 621-0898
Email: onlineadmissions@email.arizona.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

Online Master's in Real Estate Program Overview

While earning a master's degree in real estate, students take classes related to topics like real estate valuation, market analysis, finance, and law. In some cases, programs prepare students to work in international markets or to earn specific professional certifications. Most programs seek to prepare graduates for leadership positions in real estate as business owners, real estate developers, market analysts, or urban planners. Look for a program that matches with your particular career goals.

Graduates of these programs are qualified for a variety of real estate careers. While real estate agents must possess a license, they do not need a college degree to sell real estate. Many agents do graduate from college, and a master's can give any real estate professional a competitive edge, especially when pursuing higher-paying positions that call for business expertise.

Common Master's in Real Estate Degree Courses

Real Estate Fundamentals

This course introduces essential tools needed for decision-making in real estate transactions and development. Students explore property valuation, cash flow analysis, financing options, return on investment (ROI), site selection, and negotiation strategies.

Real Estate Finance

This course prepares students to apply financial management and analysis tools to real estate transactions, such as cash flow analysis. Topics may include real estate valuation and investment principles, rent and lease types, financing options, operating expenses, capital expenditures, and approval ratings. Students gain the skills needed to prepare ROI analyses in real estate.

Real Estate Law

Students in this class learn about relevant legal issues impacting real estate development, acquisition, and financing from the perspectives of developers, lenders, and investors. Learners explore legal principles, issues, and risks in real estate.

Real Estate Markets

Coursework in this class introduces the guiding principles and analytical tools of real estate markets. Students learn to use financial tools to analyze real estate markets and assess trends. Topics may include global markets, emerging markets, government policies, and portfolio theory.

Real Estate Accounting

This course introduces real estate accounting tools, rules, principles, and practices. Specific topics may include financial statements, financial analysis, tax credits, internal controls, real estate valuation, and partnership agreements. Students learn to analyze financial statements and identify potential issues.

Related Master's in Real Estate Degree Concentrations

Real Estate Development

This concentration is suitable for those seeking an advanced understanding of real estate development processes. Real estate developers can benefit by learning new techniques and strategies to analyze markets; identify risks; assess potential projects; and negotiate deals with lenders, contractors, and others.

International Real Estate

This concentration targets real estate professionals interested in gaining expertise in global real estate markets. Students explore the potential impact of a country's laws, customs, and real estate practices on real estate transactions and learn to conduct business internationally. Course topics include international finance, marketing, and economics.

Real Estate Finance

This specialization prepares graduates to become experts in financial analysis and investment strategies in real estate. Students learn about financial management strategies, ways to structure financial products, real estate valuation, and portfolio management. Additional course topics may include capital markets, taxation, and corporate real estate.

Construction Management

Real estate professionals seeking to manage construction and development projects can benefit from pursuing this specialization. Students learn project planning strategies, scheduling techniques, and cost control methods. Additional course topics may include construction accounting, sustainable development, and job site management.

A Self-designed Concentration

Some schools enable students to create a concentration that matches their particular interests, experience, and career goals. Potential options could relate to senior housing development, hospitality, sustainable urban development, and healthcare office development or management.

Online Master's in Real Estate Admission Requirements

  • Official Transcripts

    Applicants must submit transcripts from previously attended schools. Transcripts should show successful completion of a bachelor's degree. Some programs prefer a particular major — such as business — or list specific prerequisite course requirements. Most schools also have minimum GPA requirements, such as a 3.0 or higher.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Many programs require 1-3 letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with an applicant's professional or academic work. In some cases, references submit their letters online. In other cases, letters must be mailed to the school.

  • Work Experience/Resume

    Some real estate programs require a certain number of years of work experience in real estate or a related field, such as insurance, finance, construction, or banking. Even programs that do not have specific experience requirements may ask applicants to submit a 1-2-page resume.

  • Test Scores

    Some programs require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores taken within the last five years. Other programs may waive this requirement for those with significant work experience or those meeting other qualifications. Some schools use these scores as part of a holistic assessment, while others require specific minimum scores.

  • Essay

    Real estate master's programs typically require one or more essays or a statement of purpose of approximately 500 words. Check the school's admission criteria to make sure your essay meets its expectations.

Online Master's in Real Estate Career Paths

After earning an online master's in real estate, graduates can pursue careers as real estate brokers, property managers, urban planners, real estate developers, and industry analysts. They may build their own real estate companies, work for national or international corporations or banks, or enter a career in government.

Again, selling real estate does not require a postsecondary degree, but it does require a license. However, a master's degree can give graduates an advantage when seeking higher-paying jobs or leadership positions in the real estate industry, such as analysts, portfolio managers, and developers.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a master's in real estate?

With a master's degree in real estate, you can qualify for a leadership position, run your own business, or land a high-paying corporate job. This degree can teach you the business skills and advanced real estate knowledge needed to advance your career.

What is the difference between an MBA in real estate and an MSRE degree?

A business degree provides training in business skills, such as accounting, finance, and marketing. These MBA skills can prove highly beneficial to real estate professionals — especially those interested in working in finance or for large real estate companies. Alternatively, a master's in real estate typically offers more focus on construction, planning, and development. MSRE programs are well suited for individuals interested in selling, building, and/or managing properties.

What should I major in for real estate development?

While most real estate master's programs do not require a specific major, some undergraduate degrees may prove more beneficial to a real estate professional than others. Consider majoring in business, finance, economics, accounting, or a related field (e.g., architecture, marketing, or communication). If you plan to work in global development, you can also consider majoring or minoring in a foreign language.

What does a real estate developer do?

Developers manage real estate construction projects from beginning to end. They locate and purchase building sites, design and finance projects, and hire construction companies and other workers needed to complete a building project.

Do real estate developers make a lot of money?

Salaries for developers can vary significantly by location, employer, and projects. According to PayScale, commercial real estate developers earn average salaries of around $85,000.

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