Master's degree programs in real estate development, sometimes called real property development, are often offered as distance learning programs by university law schools. These programs allow practicing lawyers to continue their careers while earning their degrees. Courses are offered online, but students may be required to visit campus for brief residencies as often as every semester. Some programs call for internships as well.
An online master's program in real estate development can take between 2 and 5 years to complete, depending on the student's course load. Courses cover many of the legal aspects of property development, including planning and zoning laws, environmental regulations, real estate taxes and leasing. Students can usually choose electives to suit their career goals.
Students must hold a law degree from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Regulations vary by state, but the ABA does allow graduates to list their specialties, such as real estate development law, if they meet their state's requirements for so doing.
Master of Law in Real Estate Development
Those who hold law (J.D.) degrees can enroll in an online master's program to specialize in real estate development. Concepts in property value, location, market analysis, construction and financing are reviewed. Students learn how to work with architects, city planners and inspectors in real estate development projects.
Information and Requirements
This program can be completed in 2-5 years depending on course load. Some time on campus might be necessary to fulfill internship requirements. Internships involve working with private and public agencies in real estate development transactions.
Class lectures are either available online for access at any time or presented during scheduled sessions using a remote webinar application. Students are required to have a computer equipped with a high-speed Internet connection, microphone and Web camera.
List of Common Real Estate Development Courses
Coursework includes a combination of real estate market and property development law topics. Attorneys or specialists with experience in real estate development law typically teach these classes.
Financial Transactions in Real Estate
Students are introduced to the negotiation skills used between developers and investors. Analysis of financial performance effects on real estate investments is reviewed.
Legal processes and topics relating to real estate development transactions are covered in this course. Topics include contract design and negotiation, zoning laws and commercial real estate laws.
Real Estate Finance
Students learn about current issues for borrowers and lenders in real estate financing. Topics include recourse and nonrecourse loans, due-on-sale loan assumptions and bankruptcy.
The state and local laws that regulate land use and development are discussed in this course. Issues of agriculture and wildlife impact, air quality and noise ordinances are covered.
Construction and Design Documents
This course exposes students to documents commonly used in construction projects. Architectural drafting designs, contracts, insurance and bonds are examples of documents to be reviewed.
Those with Master of Law (LL.M.) in Real Estate Development degrees are qualified to practice as real estate attorneys. The median annual wage of real estate attorneys was $147,693 in 2019 according to Salary.com.
Online master's degree programs in real estate development are available for practicing lawyers and may require residencies and internships. The online courses typically cover topics such as development law, real estate financing, and environmental regulations.