While on-campus degree programs in real estate law are fairly common, distance learning programs in this specific field are rare. Some law schools, as well as graduate schools at universities, are more likely to have graduate degree options, such as a Master of Laws (LL.M.), in fields like real estate development or international real estate, which include coursework in real estate law. Additionally, some schools offer online Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Management programs that allow students to complete a concentration in real estate; these typically include coursework in legal issues.
Some institutions offer these programs fully online, but many require short-term residencies or some on-campus coursework. Programs are often geared toward part-time students and can be completed in two years, although some schools offer accelerated programs that could shorten this time frame.
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Program Information and Requirements
Coursework in graduate programs in real estate law and related areas is designed to mirror the requirements of campus-based programs. Depending on the degree, these programs are usually designed for new and experienced lawyers who want to specialize in real estate law or for real estate professionals needing expertise in managerial and legal issues related to the industry.
Students enrolled in an online real estate graduate program typically log in to their school's virtual classroom to see lectures and assignments in addition to interacting with instructors and classmates through message boards or class chat rooms. Schools make video recordings on campus-based lectures and upload them online for distance learners.
Some schools offering online programs in this field of study require that students commit to some level of on-campus attendance. This could be in the form of regular -- sometimes weekly -- class meetings. Other programs require students to come to campus for residencies of up to a couple of weeks each semester.
Master of Laws
A Master of Laws in Real Property Development distance education program typically explores all aspects of real estate law, including mortgages, taxes, zoning and the legal steps necessary to complete real estate transactions. Students interested in a distance learning LL.M. program in real estate must have a law degree -- typically a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.) -- from an approved law school.
Online classes in real property development might include:
- Land security and finance
- Environmental regulation of real property
- Real estate project development
- Commercial real estate leasing
- Financial analysis of real estate transactions
Master of Science
Distance learning students pursuing a master's degree in real estate management or international real estate gain the knowledge and skills necessary to take on leadership roles in a variety of settings including real estate development firms, insurance companies and investment banks.
General real estate concentrations delve into the present managerial theories and practices within the context of the real estate industry, focusing on both management and leadership, while international real estate programs add the additional dynamic of how these concepts translate globally. Some of the courses students may come across in these programs include:
- Real estate contracts
- Real estate finance
- Real estate law
- Real estate insurance
- Organizational ethics
- Real estate market analysis
- Strategic planning
Master of Business Administration
Online MBA programs include a core set of courses devoted to business principles and practices, such as management, accounting, finance, economics and organizational behavior. Students usually complete capstone courses that allow them to apply their knowledge to real-world issues in the industry.
Master's degree programs, such as those in business, require that applicants have a bachelor's degree prior to admission. These programs may also require prospective students to have professional work experience and/or submit resumes.
A real estate concentration might include the following courses:
- Real estate sustainability
- Real estate development
- Real estate investments
- Real estate valuation
- Property management
While online graduate degree programs in real estate law are hard to find, there are related programs, such as a Master of Laws or Master of Business Administration, which allow the student to specialize in real estate law. Examples of coursework typically involved include land security and finance, environmental regulation, real estate development and financial analysis.