Real Estate Development (RDEV)

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Part I of the application for the RDEV program must be submitted on line by March 15. Applicants have additional time -- typically 45 days -- to submit the rest of the materials required by the Supplemental Part II of the application. Applicants should submit their applications even if they have not yet scheduled or taken the GRE/GMAT exam. The program is quite flexible in considering applications from domestic applicants that are submitted after the deadlines if seats are available. Contact the Program Director for instructions how to apply after the deadline at


The Graduate Program leading to a Master's of Real Estate Development is based in the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, but it is not a design degree. It was the 6th program in the country to offer a comprehensive business based but multi-disciplinary approach to real estate development education. There are now more than 20 of these programs offered across the US. The 33-42 credit MRED program stresses a comprehensive and collaborative approach to real estate development, encompassing traditional real estate finance topics but going on to address the full range of development issues--from property acquisition, to planning and permitting, law and finance, design and construction, as well as marketing, commercial leasing, property, portfolio and asset management. The program aims to assure that graduates can effectively engage lenders, investors, architects, contractors, lawyers, accountants, and public officials as well as how to bring a project in on time with dynamic marketing and effective property management thereafter.

The program uses three key teaching/learning approaches: (1) traditional graduate reading and research mode, (2) the popular case study review and discussion method, and (3) the studio, or practice method, engaging the professional development community as partners in class and in the field to enliven the concepts presented in classroom lecture and discussion. Most all of the instructors for the program are active professionals in the real estate field. Graduates are prepared to enter the real estate industry with both important skills in business writing, presenting and negotiation as well as a keen awareness of the MRED Quadruple Bottom Line and ability to develop real estate properties that are: Economically Viable, Environmentally Respectful, Socially Responsible and Beautifully Designed.
All real estate (RDEV) courses are offered from 7:00 - 9:45 pm on one night a week, with courses scheduled Mondays through Thursdays in the Spring and Fall terms. Limited courses are offered evenings in Summer and Fall on more intensive schedules. Electives in other programs of the school may be scheduled late afternoon or on multiple days.

The MRED Program is enhanced by the research, publications and public outreach activities provided by the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development. The Institute is the home for the real estate journal, the Real Estate Review with the Institute's Director serving as Editor-in-Chief. Students may use one elective course to take a study abroad course offered by any of the programs in the School. Additional reduced fee courses in desirable skills are periodically offered through the Institute, such as Preparation for the LEED exams, ARGUS, Co-Star, W

While the program is quite flexible, there are some parameters to consider. Students who are working full time are not permitted to take more than two courses in any one semester. Course offerings in the Winter and Summer term are very limited, and students may not enroll in more than than one in Winter and two in Summer. Scholarship funds are not available for Winter, Summer and Study Abroad courses. Students desiring to follow the accelerated path (4 courses per term) need to request early advising and plan their course sequence carefully and may not be working even part time. Completion of the degree in 12 months is only guaranteed to be available for students starting in the Fall term and those who have a finance education or experience. Full time Students taking 3 courses per term should not plan to work more than 15 hours a week. Students have up to 5 years to complete all their course work, although the average time for part time students is 27 months, 18 months for full time students.

Application fees, matriculation fees, technology fees and etc. are fixed by the Graduate School and can be viewed on the web site for the University bursar. MRED tuition rates for students qualifying for Maryland residency are non-standard, and are not subsidized by the State. The rates for the upcoming academic year are posted on the MRED web site. Tuition rates for non-Maryland students are revised periodically and can also be viewed on the MRED web site. To view the current MRED in-state tuition rates, go to the admission page and click on Tuition and Fees at

Tuition rates for Summer Sessions (both I and II) are tied to the rates for the subsequent Fall term, rather than the Spring term they follow. Additional non-credit preparation and enhancement courses are offered by the Colvin Institute on a very reduced fee/subsidized basis for MRED students. Scholarship funds are relatively generous, and are awarded on a per course basis. No full scholarships are available. Some assistance is available to over 50% of the incoming students.

Admissions Information

Acceptance to the program is on a competitive basis. Applicants are required to have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited University. Applicants who demonstrate a strong interest and aptitude with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered based on recommendations or proven success in the field. Such applicants may be admitted provisionally or conditioned on additional course work.

Applicants for the MRED program are required to submit a GRE/GMAT/LSAT score, unless they are 5 years or more beyond the granting of their undergraduate degree. Students with a business/finance undergraduate degree may elect to complete their degree on an accelerated (12 month), full time (18-24 months), or part-time basis (27-60 months). Students with out business finance education or experience should add an additional 3 - 6 months to complete the degree. Students working full time may not take more than 2 courses per term; Students working 15 hours a week may take a full 3-course load, and students pursuing the expedited path are not permitted to work. Students may adjust their schedule and number of courses at the beginning of any term.

Applications are also accepted from students completing the Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Real Estate Development with up to four courses applied to the MRED degree. Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to application cannot be transferred to the Program. Students with advanced work in any area where there is a required course in the curriculum can substitute a more advanced course or an additional elective of their choice. The total number of credits to receive the MRED degree can not be reduced by prior coursework at other institutions. Appropriate graduate level course work, up to 6 credits, taken as part of another program at the University of Maryland College Park, may, in exceptional circumstances, be approved for inclusion in the credits for the MRED degree.

There are no requirements for an applicants' previous field of study or experience, and diverse applicants, from all academic backgrounds, genders, nationality, race and age, are very welcome. Students with no economics, finance or accounting background will be admitted conditioned on taking 1 to 4 additional leveling courses (1 - 9 credits) as part of the degree, in which case the credits to obtain the MRED degree may be 34 - 42 credits. All incoming students are required to attend a 2 day Orientation and Assessment session the Friday and Saturday before the start the program. Coaching for excel, business writing and oral presentation skills may be required for students based on the assessment (or subsequent professor recommendation). These sessions typically occur on weekends and late afternoons (5:00 - 7:00 pm). Attendance and passing these coaching/additional sessions is a requirement for continuing on in the program and obtaining the MRED degree.

Verification of minimum financial, writing and presentation skills is required for graduation. Check with the Program Director on the current method for obtaining Certification in financial, writing and presentation skills.

Application Deadlines
Type of Applicant Fall Spring

Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Deadline: July 15
Preferred: March 15
Deadline: November 30
Preferred: October 15

International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.

Deadline: February 1
Deadline: July 1

Application Requirements

  1. Complete application form (On-line version).
  2. Complete supplemental form upon receipt of email from Admissions
  3. Submit Academic credentials (official paper transcripts directly from institution or if sealed from the applicant.)
  4. Submit unofficial transcript directly to the program;s mail address or electronically at
  5. Submit Standardized test scores: GRE, GMAT or LSAT required unless undergraduate degree awarded more than 5 years ago.
  6. Provide Three Letters of Recommendation (professors preferred for at least two Letters of Recommendation, supervisors and employers are accepted for 1; for applicants more than 5 years out of undergraduate, 3 recommendations may be work related supervisors or employers.
  7. Prepare a Statement of Goals and Experience: 1000-2000 word statement of the source(s) of your interest in real estate development, any related or relevant work experience (not required), graduate school goals, any special practice focus, and post-graduate professional aspirations.
  8. Submit a business style Resume identifying all work experience (real estate and otherwise).
  9. Include in your Statement a Self-Assessment of Skill Level indicating level of capability with financial calculator(s) and excel spreadsheet functions. Classify your skill as one of the following: non-existent, minimal, moderate/workable, or superior/excellent.
  10. In person or Telephone Interview for Domestic Applicants is available (email International Applicants may be required to participate in a telephone interview.

Degree Requirements

Master of Real Estate Development (MRED)
MRED is a 33-42 credit hour professional masters degree in real estate development. The curriculum has 7 core requirements, 3 electives and a required capstone course integrating knowledge from all parts of the curriculum. The 7 core areas are Development Law, Planning and Entitlements, Finance and Investments, Principles of Design, Construction Management, Asset/Property Management, and Negotiations.

Electives may be selected in focus areas of: Advanced Finance, Sustainability, Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse, Planning and Entitlements.

Applicants without limited or education or work experience in real estate, particularly real estate finance, accounting and valuation are admitted subject to adding 1 to  9 credits of additional RDEV course work in the first or second term of their MRED degree program. Students with no background can expect to be subject to the full 9 credits; most applicants have 1 - 4 additional credits to complete.

Admitted Students are required to attend a 2-day Assessment and Orientation session prior to their first semester of taking RDEV courses.

Students may be required, based on the introductory Assessment sessions or subsequent classwork, to take additional evening or weekend coaching courses/sessions in Excel skills, business writing or oral presentation. Successful completion of all coaching sessions is required for graduation.

Graduates must achieve a 3.0 GPA for all coursework, a final capstone project or research thesis and publicly present their capstone work to a jury in order to be awarded the MRED degree.

Students must meet minimum professional writing and presentation standards, and complete successfully all excel, business writing, and oral presentation and skills non-credit courses or coaching as are offered and required during the period of enrollment. These courses may incur an additional charge paid to the Colvin Institute.

International Students also must test out or successfully complete within two semesters the University English writing courses as determined by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

The MRED program is highly flexible which allows for tailoring the core courses to a students background and interest, so that a student with a strong background in architecture, law, planning, public policy or finance, could substitute out of the core course in their area of expertise and add a more advanced course or an unrelated RDEV elective with the advice and approval of the Director. The course work for the core courses is very intense, and off site visits are required in most courses anywhere from 1 to 3 times per semester some of which are scheduled for weekend hours, and some during working hours in limited instances.

Limited Courses are offered during Summer and Winter terms. Students may take no more than two courses over the Summer terms and one course in Winter term. The maximum number of credits toward the MRED degree that may be taken in Summer/Winter terms is FOUR. Once course (3 credits) may be credited toward the program for program approved Study Abroad courses. See the Program Director for details before applying for any Study Abroad course.

Facilities and Special Resources

The University of Maryland is an exceptional location for the pursuit of graduate studies in the field of real estate development, and graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities. The University is eight miles from the incomparable library and research facilities of Washington, D.C. In the nation's capital, MRED graduate students have access to the Library of Congress, as well as the specialized collections of professional associations and international organizations, such as the National Association of Home Builders, the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the National Building Museum. Access to agencies at all levels of government--municipal, county and state which regulate various aspects of real estate are all available and engaged with the program.

Close by the University are key historically important and interesting places in the development of U.S. communities, including the 4th settlement in America at Historic St. Mary's City in Southern Maryland, which was the first planned city in America. Just 10 minutes from campus is the 1930s new town of of Greenbelt, Maryland, and within 45 minutes are the 1960's new towns of Columbia, Maryland, St. Charles, Maryland and Reston, Virginia. One of the best examples of new urbanism is the Kentlands development less than 30 minutes away. And not to be missed are the major redevelopment and urban living revivals in the Port City of Baltimore and the historic neighborhoods of Anacostia and Columbia Heights in the District of Columbia.

The program is also the home of the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development, endowed by John and Karen Colvin, a key supporter of the MRED program. Also associated with the School is the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, which involves faculty and graduate students from several campus units in multi-disciplinary research on the fiscal, environmental and social impacts of alternative development patterns; evaluation of growth management strategies, national and international research as well as technical assistance to state agencies and local jurisdictions.

The program's location in College Park, Maryland, with direct Metro access to downtown Washington, D.C. and easy access up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Baltimore City, makes field work, site visits and interaction with ongoing real estate developments and developers one of the signature features of the MRED program.

The MRED Council of Advisors, as well as adjunct faculty who are active professionals in all aspects of real estate development, are eager to engage with students in the program which offers formal and informal occasions for advice about the current trends in the industry as well as the possibility of full- or part- time employment or internships. A professional mentoring program is offered each fall to students arriving to the program in that calendar year.

There is a very active MRED alumni group in the area who meet quarterly and are very effective in helping each other find positions as well as work with each other now they are out in the field. Announcements about full time and intern positions are posted to the MRED list serve frequently. Adjunct faculty and guest speakers are generally very willing to help students network and connect with employment resources once they have completed their core courses.

Financial Assistance

The Colvin Institute provides scholarship funds to a number of highly qualified students, both part time and full time, each term. Scholarship determinations are made at the time of application and admission. Scholarships are generally awarded on a per course basis and commitments are made at the time of admission and apply to the entire program, subject to academic performance.

The MRED Program offers a limited number of administrative graduate assistantships to full time MRED students. Contact the Program Director to apply.

Periodically there are named scholarships provided by various real estate organizations or development companies.

In addition, there are work opportunities both on, and off campus, and they are relatively plentiful. Students in the past have been successful in finding part time internships and full time work with local real estate companies. The MRED student listserv posts openings periodically as they are brought to the attention of the Program by alumni, friends, faculty and sponsors.

Applicants should inquire as to the availability of funding for the term they are starting. Scholarships are typically for a portion of tuition only, and are paid on a per course basis as students progress through the program. Scholarships are available to part time, full time, and accelerated students.

If tuition costs are a major factor in your choice of real estate program, please contact us about financing possibilities. The total cost of the MRED degree is very competitive with comparable programs in the region, with significant University and Colvin Institute resources available for student enrichment activities such as support for competitions, site visits, and attendance at local, regional and national real estate events.

Contact Information

To arrange a visit, phone interview, or for more information please contact the Program Director, Margaret McFarland, at Additional information on Case competitions, samples of student work, as well as syllabi and adjunct faculty can be found at the MRED Program's Web site ( You will also find the Colvin Institute providing outreach and information at the ICSC in Las Vegas each May, at the ULI National Conference each October, and at many local events of Bisnow, ICSC, ULI, CREW, WIRRE and HAND.

Margaret McFarland, JD, Director, Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development
University of Maryland, Architecture 1243, College Park
MD  20742
Telephone: 301-405-6790 or 240.472.8304


Related Programs and Campus Units

Business and Management
Historic Preservation
Landscape Architecture
Urban and Regional Planning and Design
Urban Studies and Planning

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