Harvard GSD launches Master in Real Estate degree


Harvard GSD launches Master in Real Estate degree

Harvard University's Gund Hall (Peter Vanderwarker/Harvard Graduate School of Design)

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) has just announced a new degree offering: the Master in Real Estate (MRE).

Founded by Jerold S. Kayden, the Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the GSD, the MRE program is intended to be “transformational in its recognition that future success in real estate will depend not only on traditional financial and management skills but on a profound understanding of and responsiveness to the new dynamics of social and environmental conditions.”

The program will be offered within the GSD’s Department of Urban Planning and Design, but students will also have access to courses and programs from Harvard’s 11 other schools including schools of business, law, and public health, among others. Funding for research, public programs, and opportunities to engage with the private industry and public sectors will also be available to students through the Joint Center of Housing Studies, a program under the GSD and the Harvard Kennedy School (formally the John F. Kennedy School of Government), and the GSD’s Center for Green buildings and Cities. 

“In establishing the Master in Real Estate program as part of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, the GSD recognizes real estate as a critical domain in the production of the built environment spanning many concerns,” said Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design and John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization in a press release. “The program will educate new generations of real estate entrepreneurs who will imagine new possibilities for healthy synergies between property development, government regulation, and social imperatives, all while safeguarding the health of our planet.”

The program’s inaugural class of 25 students will enroll in the fall of 2023 and spend twelve months completing required and elective courses; in the last two months of the program, students will conclude their studies by pursuing socially and environmentally oriented projects in private or public real estate organizations, where they will develop the skills needed in the practice of real estate, such as project and construction management, urban economics, and real estate law. The objective is for students to graduate as capable practitioners ready to enter for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, or public entities, according to a press release from the GSD. 

“As our cities, their communities, and the environment face mounting crises, the world needs a new kind of developer, and with this degree the GSD aims to educate leaders in real estate who are prepared to face such complex and urgent ethical challenges,” adds Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture.

Harvard joins Cornell University as the only other Ivy with a master in real estate that’s nested in the architecture and planning departments.

Applications for the fall 2023 semester open this fall.