Best Online Master's Degrees in Real Estate

May 02, 2021

What Is an Online Master's in Real Estate Degree?

Real estate master's degree programs seek to prepare students to be successful in the development, buying, selling, and management of commercial and residential properties. Students might learn about specifics of the industry including law and finance and could take on roles as real estate analysts, brokers, or developers after graduation. Students in online master's in real estate programs could graduate with a Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) or Master of Science (MS) in Real Estate degree.

Best Online Master's Degrees in Real Estate looked at data from the Department of Education to find these top schools for online master's degrees in real estate. We considered tuition, graduation rates and accessibility, among other statistics, and found the best online programs. These two schools offer students professional experiences and networking opportunities through national student organizations as well as progress toward earning industry certifications. Designed with current real estate and architecture professionals in mind, these flexible master's degree programs can prepare students to move into leadership roles and take on higher-stakes clients and projects.

1. University of Arizona

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,271 85% 65% 91% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The University of Arizona in Tucson offers an online, 18-month Master of Real Estate Development for students looking to advance their careers in urban planning, architecture and real estate. Students in the program focus on sustainable, socially responsible development while learning the procedural, legal and financial aspects of the field, concluding with a professional project to apply their new skills and knowledge. Optional internship courses and projects coordinated by the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture Design/Build program allow students to work with faculty and peers in multiple fields to complete projects for real-world clients. Online graduate students take on leadership roles and engage with professional networks by joining branches of national organizations, including the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society, the National Organization of Minority Architects, and the U.S. Green Building Council.

2. Florida International University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,106 58% 63% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Florida International University's School of Business embraces Miami, Florida's status as a hub of international business to provide students a Master of Science in International Real Estate program with fantastic opportunities for networking and career development. Students in the accelerated, 10- to 12-month online program can work toward key industry certifications and memberships, including ARGUS certification, Certified Commercial Investment Member, Appraisal Institute MAI Designation and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors membership. Faculty specializing in brokerage, finance, economics and consulting offer live stream classes in the evenings for students with full-time jobs as well as on-demand video instruction. Students focus on international real estate investment and may choose to earn a joint master's degree in Business Administration, Finance or Hospitality Management to pursue a specialized career path.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Online Master's Degrees in Real Estate vs. MBA in Real Estate

Students interested in a career in the real estate business may be confused about the differences between a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Real Estate and a master's in real estate. While the two programs both have a focus on real estate, there are several key differences that separate them.

MBA programs have a primary curriculum aimed at learning the nuances of the business world, including finance, management, and economics. Those that offer concentrations in real estate add additional courses that look at introductory real estate topics. A master's in real estate may touch on the business aspects of real estate but take a more in-depth look at certain areas of the field, such as commercial real estate and land development.

The cost of MBA programs tends to be higher than other master's degrees. If students are worried about acquiring student debt, master's in real estate programs may be the cheaper option. In terms of delivery, students can find 100% online degrees for both an MBA and a master's in real estate.

Why Should I Get an Online Real Estate Master's Degree?

Online master's in real estate programs are valuable for professionals currently working in the field who wish to improve their job prospects and gain salary increases or promotions. It is also appropriate for career changers looking to get started in real estate. Real estate is a diverse field with many career options. This may appeal to individuals who like to move around within a field. Online degrees are an attractive option for working adults, those with family responsibilities, or individuals who would like to attend a university in another state without relocating.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Master's in Real Estate?

An online master's degree in real estate can generally be completed in around 1 year full-time and about 2 years part-time. Accelerated options are not typical. Students will undertake required foundational classes as well as electives during their degree program. Some students may have the option to choose a concentration, although this will not add extra time to the degree. Online master's in real estate programs usually do not require an in-person component, although some universities may offer mandatory or optional residencies on campus.

Curriculum for Online Master's Degree Programs in Real Estate

Online master's degree programs in real estate offer curricula designed to teach the basic foundations of the field along with further study aimed at developing expertise in specialty areas. Students take a designated amount of mandatory courses in subjects like finance and development. Once the core classes are complete, students generally have some flexibility to study areas of interest. Some programs culminate in a final project or paper. Coursework is typically completed 100% online through an educational platform where students can find assignments and announcements and submit work.

Real Estate Foundational Courses

Online master's in real estate degree programs have distinctive curricula in terms of electives or concentration options. However, in general, students can expect to take similar foundational classes regardless of which university they attend. This is because these required courses teach all the background knowledge necessary to progress in and ultimately be successful in the field. These classes cover everything from accounting and money matters to management and legal issues surrounding real estate. Some of the course topics students can reasonably expect to see include:

  • Real estate law
  • Real estate finance
  • Market analysis
  • Introduction to real estate development

Many programs also require a final project or capstone experience to demonstrate proficiency in areas taught throughout the master's degree.

Real Estate Specialist and Elective Courses

Depending on the university, programs may offer the choice to pursue individual electives or follow a set concentration or specialization path pertaining to one area of real estate. If students have a clear idea of their future career aspirations, a concentration may be appealing. Students may encounter concentrations such as real estate finance or real estate development. For those who want more flexibility, they may prefer to take electives that align with their interests across a variety of topics such as sustainable development or project management and construction.

Licensure and Certification in Real Estate

In terms of licensure within real estate, those who wish to become real estate agents must become licensed in the state they plan to practice. This requires meeting certain state-specific prerequisites prior to sitting for the exam. As for certifications, there are many different opportunities within real estate to gain certifications. Certifications exist for a wide range of specialties, including commercial real estate, property management, and financial modeling and analysis. Some popular certifications that graduates of master's degree programs in real estate may want to pursue include:

  • Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)
  • Certified Property Manager (CPM)
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)
  • LEED Green Associate

Admissions Requirements for Online Real Estate Master's Programs

Students interested in applying for admission to an online real estate master's program need an undergraduate degree in any subject. Universities tend to prefer students with at least an overall 3.0 GPA. All students need to submit official transcripts detailing their undergraduate career. These can be sent in paper format or digitally, depending on the university's requirements. Some other items that may be required for the admissions process could include:

  • Application fee
  • Statement explaining personal goals and interest in the program
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic sources

What Can I Do with a Real Estate Master's Degree?

Earning an online master's in real estate can lead to several careers within planning, development, management, and analysis. Graduates may choose to pursue jobs in construction, commercial real estate, community and land development, or real estate data analytics. Jobs in the real estate field may be in the public or private sector, with some individuals taking on freelance consultant roles. Some titles graduates with a master's in real estate have gone on to take on include:

Job Outlook for a Master's in Real Estate

The job outlook for careers within the field of real estate is stable for the foreseeable future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over the period of ten years between 2019-2029, the following job titles will either remain unchanged with few jobs added or grow by more than two thousand jobs:

  • Property managers: 0% growth with 800 jobs added
  • Real estate brokers: 3% growth with 2,700 jobs added
  • Real estate appraisers: 3% with 2,200 jobs added

Job security depends on the housing and commercial real estate markets. As more houses and buildings are built and sold, there will be a continued need for real estate professionals.

How to Become a Real Estate Analyst

Real estate analysts monitor housing and commercial real estate market trends. They collect and analyze data to predict future trends and their impact on buyers, sellers, and lenders. While real estate analysts do work in residential real estate, they are primarily found in commercial real estate settings. Most jobs are office-based, although some analysts do make site visits or meet with clients off-site.

To become a real estate analyst, prospective professionals need a minimum of a bachelor's degree typically in real estate, accounting, or finance. A master's degree in real estate may improve job prospects, lead to careers in management, or increase an individual's earning potential. Students interested in pursuing a career as a real estate analyst may want to participate in internship programs in the field to gain relevant experience.

As of February 2021, estimates that real estate analysts make a median annual salary of $60,585.

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker

Commercial real estate brokers assist clients who are looking for business properties. They locate buildings for clients and guide them through the buying, selling, and renting processes. Commercial real estate brokers work both in and out of an office setting and often work long hours. Individuals interested in pursuing this career need to be driven, organized, and effective communicators.

Those wishing to become a commercial real estate broker need at least a high school diploma followed by coursework to pass a state real estate licensing exam. While there are no other educational requirements necessary for real estate brokers beyond high school, students may choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in a subject such as finance, business, or construction management. Some universities offer bachelor's degrees in real estate. After becoming licensed, individuals need to gain experience in real estate before taking the real estate broker licensing exam. A master's in real estate could lead to promotions or salary increases, and the specialized knowledge may make candidates more competitive in the job market.

According to, as of December 2020, commercial real estate brokers earn a median salary of $61,035 a year.

Common Undergraduate Degrees for Real Estate

Online master's degrees in real estate welcome students from all backgrounds with an interest in the field. Generally, there are no degree requirements, making this a good program for career changers. Undergraduate majors commonly seen by admissions boards may include finance, economics, geography, urban planning, construction management, or accounting. What is more important than the choice of undergraduate major is academic success during bachelor's study. Many universities look for an undergraduate overall GPA of 3.0.

Post-Graduate Options After Completing a Master's in Real Estate

Beyond a master's in real estate, graduates may choose to study at the doctoral level. Doctoral degrees in real estate are awarded as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). PhD programs in real estate consist of theoretical coursework followed by research that culminates in a dissertation. Doctoral candidates must defend their dissertation in order to successfully complete the degree. PhDs in real estate lead to careers in research and teaching at the college and university levels.

Financial Aid, Scholarships and Grants for Online Master's in Real Estate Programs

U.S. federal financial aid is a popular option for students studying at accredited colleges and universities. Both on-campus and online students may avail themselves of student loans. To apply, interested students will need to complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be done online and requires the entry of financial information.

Students experiencing financial hardship or those coming from a low-income background may be eligible for grants. Grants do not need to be repaid at any time and are awarded to students demonstrating substantial need.

Scholarships are a type of funding that students generally must apply for. Scholarships can be offered by universities, private, or public organizations. The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation offers academic scholarships of $1,000 to students pursuing university study focusing on real estate at any institution in Illinois. Students must be attending university full-time. Scholarship awards can be used for tuition, books, or other educational expenses.

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