The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated. Programs continue to evolve and improve so static reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. I recommend you reach out to current students and alums to get the latest insights into the program. I also recommend that you check out my post on the true value of a graduate real estate program.

Here is an archive of the past reviews that I completed on the site prior to shifting the focus of the content:

Derek Meyers is a 2008 graduate of the University of Maryland’s Master of Real Estate Development Program.  He is a member of the program’s first graduating class.

What was your background in real estate prior to the program?

While completing my undergraduate studies, I realized the significant risk that developer’s faced in obtaining entitlements for projects and sought to better understand the process from within.  I began working directly with developers at City and County planning agencies to issue entitlements in zoning, subdivision and building construction.  Shortly after I completed the program, I was retained by an advisory and consulting firm.

What other programs did you look at besides The University of Maryland and why did you choose Maryland over the other programs?

I considered Hopkins and Clemson.  I considered Hopkins because it was nearby in Baltimore.  I considered Clemson because I wanted a program that focused on development, was located on the East Coast, and I did not prefer to relocate to Boston or New York (for the MIT or Columbia programs).

I choose Maryland because the program provides an inter-disciplinary focus on development (thus not specific to real estate finance).  Coursework includes topics in construction management, business, negotiation, finance, real estate law, city planning, architecture, and property management, among other things.  As the program was relatively new it did not bother me.  I knew a Maryland degree was marketable and its business school was highly acclaimed.  A major factor was that classes were held in the evening, allowing me to continue my current employment.

Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?

Of my 10 classes, four of the professors were full-time.  The other professors were adjunct part-time faculty and had careers in the field.  The exposure to the adjunct professors brought a special experience to the program, allowing student interaction with many top leaders in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area.  The adjunct faculty was readily available outside of the classroom.

Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?

No.

What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?

The program supports an annual spring two-day symposium on a topic of current interest to the development communities, as well as support for the Real Estate Review, the journal edited by the program director.  The symposium this past spring focused on sustainable green development.  In February, I passed the LEED-NC exam after attending training that was offered from the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development at Maryland.  Opportunities are additionally available for international study in China and India.

How is the programs career counseling? Do they actively help students find summer internships and full-time positions? How willing are alumni in assisting current students? Since it’s a new program, are alumni in a position to help students?

As the program is relatively new there is not a large emphasis on career counseling.  In many cases, postings are e-mailed to students on the listserv.  If you are actively seeking a job, professors and other members of the program are more than willing to help.  Students are additionally exposed to members the development industry during completion of the capstone course, and at program events.

What are your future aspirations in real estate and how has this program helped you to get closer to your goals?

I have always been interested in real estate from reading about developers like James Rouse (The Rouse Company) and Gerald Hines (Hines Interests).  As lofty as it may be, I’d like to have the same career successes as these developers had and begin my own development company in the distant future.

The program has provided me with a firm understanding in the many factors of the real estate industry with a focus on being the leader of a development team.  This includes the understanding not only to work with mortgage bankers, but architects and construction professionals.  I have also been able to further my interest in military housing privatization as the program offers an education track in cooperation with the Department of Defense to Federal Real Estate Managers.

How many classes are required to complete the program?

33 credits: 10 classes, 1 capstone course.

Is there anything else about the program you think people should know?

Maryland’s program is just one of the few in the nation that focuses on every aspect of real estate development, and not strictly finance.  Being located outside Washington, D.C. and just a short drive from Baltimore the program taps into many local industry leaders, government agencies and national organizations.

Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:

Professors: 10
Curriculum: 9
Career Counseling: 4
Outside Opportunities: 8
Overall Rating: 9

Feel free to post any questions you may have in the comment section below.