New M.S. in Real Estate Development Will Address 21st-Century Built Environment

real estate photo Philadelphia University is starting a new M.S. in Real Estate Development Program focused on preparing students to address economic, social and ecological issues when developing commercial, industrial, institutional and residential real estate projects in the 21st century. The graduate program will launch in fall 2017.

“Students will combine environmental and economic sustainability, social consciousness, design excellence and financial feasibility in new development, rehabilitation and redevelopment projects to invigorate communities and shape healthy places to live, work and play,” said Suzanne Singletary, interim associate dean of new academic initiatives in PhilaU’s College of Architecture and the Built Environment. “They will learn to approach projects ranging from single buildings to entire districts, using the city of Philadelphia as a living laboratory.”

Faculty members who are industry experts will provide real-world insights to sustainable practices, legal aspects of land-use, city and regional planning, construction science and management. Collaborative projects, case-study analysis, on-site visits and real-world projects will provide experience in the development process, from market analysis and valuation, while enabling students to build a network of professional contacts.

“The new graduate program in real estate development builds on the College’s strength as one of the leading educational providers of professional and specialization degrees in architecture and built environment fields,” said Barbara Klinkhammer, executive dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment.

The College’s focus on interdisciplinary collaboration “is  invaluable in preparing real estate developers for such diverse responsibilities as working with bankers, investors, architects and engineers; performing financial analysis for new acquisitions and market analysis for product development; and coordinating sales efforts with brokers,” said Chris Horrigan, principal of Horrigan Development LLC in New York and an advisor to the program.  

“PhilaU has an opportunity to help guide and educate the next generation of real estate developers and investors as to appropriate, smart, well-planned and responsible development,” Horrigan said.

Students in the Real Estate Development Program will:

  • Learn to creatively invigorate urban communities—architecturally, environmentally and fiscally.
  • Track the demographic, sociological, technological and economic trends that impact the supply and demand for particular projects within specific markets and areas.
  • Apply green planning principles, as outlined by the Urban Land Institute and the Environmental Protection Agency, to development projects.
  • Assess fundamental legal principles and ethical practices applicable to real estate development.
  • Apply financial and investment tools in a wide array of property types and development scenarios.
  • Examine the opportunities and challenges of public-private partnerships, the techniques employed to encourage growth, and the market and fiscal feasibility of cross-sector collaborations.
  • Focus upon projects of various scales—from single building and neighborhood revitalization, to commercial, institutional and healthcare development.
  • Analyze demographic, technological and economic trends using current GIS technologies.
  • Measure the efficacy of sustainable interventions, such as Smart Growth, New Urbanism, Brownfield Redevelopment and Adaptive Reuse, as a springboard to urban revitalization.
  • Complete a comprehensive capstone project with a faculty mentor in the real estate industry.

The program covers a 37-credit, 12-course curriculum that can be completed on a full- or part-time basis in as little as eighteen months, depending on the course load taken. Courses will be offered in two 15-week semesters per year, with two online courses offered during a 12-week summer semester. Students can start the program during any of the three semesters.

For more information about the program, click here or contact graduation admissions at or 215.951.2943.

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