New program aims to prepare real estate development professionals
Beginning this fall, Portland State now offers one of only two real estate development master’s degree programs in the Pacific Northwest—the other being the University of Washington.
A joint effort by the Center for Real Estate Development, the School of Business Administration and the School of Urban Studies and Planning is responsible for the new program.
“We have been talking about [this program] for several years,” director of PSU’s Center for Real Estate Gerard Mildner said. The degree is composed of 68 credits and is multi-disciplinary. Students learn about real estate finance, real estate development planning, market analysis, real estate law, project design and urban planning. The program is designed to be completed in two years for full time students and three years for part time students. There are 14 required courses in the program and six electives that students can choose from.
“Most of these classes are taught in the late afternoon or evening, 4:40 p.m. and later,” Mildner said. “We think this makes the program very attractive for people who are working full or part time and for those who want to take evening classes.”
Students in the program at PSU are at a particular advantage because many real estate firms have their headquarters in downtown Portland.
“We think we’re in the right location, and we think we’ve got the right timing for our classes,” Mildner concluded.
The program will feature a mix of instructors, about half tenure-track faculty and half part-time adjunct faculty. The purpose of this mix is to incorporate real-life professionals into the new program.
The program is based around studying real-world real estate situations and cases, rather than theory. Students are required to do an analysis or case study of a project that has been completed in downtown Portland. Students will interview real people, assess whether the project was a success or failure and learn from the case studies.
Additionally, students in the program will draft mock development proposals using actual sites in the Portland Metropolitan Area.
“I think we have some advantages at PSU for teaching real estate development as compared to universities like Oregon State or the University of Oregon, where they exist in small towns where there is not a lot of real estate development happening,” Mildner commented.
The plan was to open the program for 20 students in the first two years, increasing to 35 in the third year. However, because of delays Mildner estimated that the program would probably have a smaller enrollment in its first year.
Mildner said that six students are currently enrolled in the program, and that he hopes for further interest and enrollment in the program in the coming winter term.
“I applied to the program to hone my real estate investment skills as well as increase my marketability,” said George McCleary, a real estate agent and graduate student.
“So far it’s great. Classes are similar to the certificate programs, but beefed up,” McCleary said. “I love the real world application.”
While continuing his career in the real estate industry, McCleary plans to take on modest development projects.
“I would absolutely recommend this program to anybody that wants a career in the field. The degree is very versatile. Real estate might not be doing great now, but it won’t be like that forever—people always need a place to live.”
To apply for the master’s program, students must submit a current resume, an essay, at least two letters of recommendation, transcripts and a score report from the standardized GMAT or GRE exams. For a complete list of the requirements for applications, students should visit the School of Business Administration’s graduate business programs website at gradbusiness.pdx.edu.