Why choose the MRE degree?

The MRE degree covers the traditional skills and knowledge required of every real estate professional while also exploring how well-designed real estate can creatively advance beneficial spatial, social, and environmental outcomes. Through a multifaceted pedagogy of required and elective courses concluding with a two-month off-campus practicum in a private or public real estate organization working on a project that produces socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes, students learn about finance, institutions, design, planning, law, politics, management, entrepreneurship, negotiation, construction, technology, culture, leadership, and other elements essential to the practice of tomorrow’s real estate.

What is the length of the MRE degree?

The MRE is a 12-month degree that includes a Fall term, January course, Spring term, May modules and Summer term that concludes with a several-day return to the GSD.

How many course units are students required to take to receive the MRE degree?

Students are required to take 60 units of courses to graduate. Fall term is 20 units, Spring term is 24 units, and Summer term is 16 units. A typical course in the MRE program counts for four units.

What are the required courses for the MRE degree?

The following courses constitute the approved MRE degree curriculum. Curriculum requirements are subject to change based on ongoing assessments by the faculty.

  • Real Estate Finance, Development, and Management (4 units)
  • Urban Economics and Market Analysis (4 units)
  • Design for Real Estate (4 units)
  • Real Estate, Society, Environment (4 units)
  • Project Management, Construction Management, New Technologies (4 units)
  • Advanced Real Estate Finance, Development, and Management (4 units)
  • Public and Private Development (4 units)
  • The Development Project (4 units)
  • Real Estate Law (4 units)
  • Negotiation (2 units)
  • Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Ethics (2 units)
  • Practicum (12 units) including Practicum Prep seminar in fall and spring terms

What is the summer Practicum?

The two-month off-campus summer Practicum places students in a private or public real estate organization to participate in an ongoing project that produces socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes. A practicum tuition discount covering travel and living expenses is provided.

Is it possible to place out of a required course?

Yes. Students who enter the MRE program with advanced knowledge and skills in specific subject areas are able to take an exemption examination and, if successful, may substitute a specially created MRE elective.

May MRE students take courses outside of the GSD?

Yes. Students may cross-register in eligible courses at other Harvard schools, including 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 courses offered by MIT and Tufts Fletcher School.

May the MRE degree be part of a joint or concurrent degree program?

No. However, MRE students may pursue other Harvard degrees before or after completing the MRE degree as long as they are accepted at other Harvard schools.

Is the MRE program offered online?

No. The MRE program does not offer an online option.

Will MRE students have an assigned faculty advisor?

Yes. All MRE students have a faculty advisor to guide them on curricular and extracurricular matters.

What extracurricular opportunities exist for MRE students?

The MRE program arranges visits of distinguished real estate practitioners to speak and meet with students. The GSD has a real estate development club that sponsors conferences and other public events. Students may also attend public events hosted by the Joint Center for Housing, the Center for Green Buildings and Cities, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability (which houses the Center for the Environment), and a host of other centers and institutes focused on different parts of the world.

Will the MRE program provide students with career services support during their time at the GSD?

Yes. 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 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.

What type of jobs can students expect after graduating?

MRE graduates will be prepared to assume meaningful positions worldwide in private for-profit real estate companies doing projects that advance beneficial spatial, 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.

Is the MRE a STEM-designated program?

Yes. The Master in Real Estate degree has been designated a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degree. Thus, international students holding F-1 visas may be eligible for a 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension on top of their initial OPT of 12 months, for a total of 36 months, following graduation. For further information, go to the Harvard International Office’s information page.

How many students are enrolled in the MRE program?

The MRE program expects to have about 35 students annually.

Are there any prerequisites for admission?

Yes. 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.

What is the admissions schedule for the MRE program?

Applications to the MRE program may be submitted through the Admissions portal which normally opens in mid-September. Decisions are usually communicated to applicants in March. For additional information on admissions, please visit the Admissions webpage.

Are there “Open Houses” for the MRE program?

Yes. The MRE program hosts a virtual “Open House” with faculty participation during the Fall term. Please visit the Connect to the GSD page to register for an MRE Open House event.

What is the tuition for the MRE program?

MRE Program tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year is $85,800, representing $28,600 per term times the equivalent of three GSD terms (Fall term, Spring term, Summer term). For additional information on GSD tuition and fees, please visit the GSD Tuition webpage.

Does the MRE program provide financial aid?

Yes. Admission to the MRE program is “need-blind,” meaning that an applicant’s ability to pay tuition will not be considered in the admissions process. If admitted, students may apply for need-based financial aid from the GSD. For additional information, please visit the Financial Aid webpage.

Is the GRE or other standardized test required as part of the application?

No. GRE and other standardized test scores are not required, with the exception of TOEFL scores, which are required for international students from countries where English is not the native language. If submitted, GRE test scores will not be considered when applications are reviewed.

Is a portfolio required or expected as part of the application?

No. A portfolio is not required or expected to be submitted as part of an application to the MRE program.

If an applicant is having difficulty obtaining a recommendation from a faculty member, may professional recommendations suffice?

Yes. Applicants who have been out of school for several years may request letters from employers or other persons in a position to evaluate their professional abilities and academic potential.

Can an admitted applicant request a deferral to another year?

No. If an applicant is admitted to the program but is unable to attend, they will need to reapply the following year.

Is this the first time the GSD has offered real estate education?

No. The GSD has held courses in real estate for decades. Until 2020, the school offered an area of concentration within its Master in Design Studies degree program entitled “Real Estate and the Built Environment.” Alumni who received the Master in Design Studies degree after concentrating in real estate are valued members of the GSD’s real estate alumni cohort.