The undergraduate program in real estate provides concentrated course work in all aspects of the real estate enterprise. The program is nationally renowned for its ability to develop real estate professionals with superb analytical skills. Many of the graduates of the program go on to work as managers of and advisors to pension funds, insurance companies, real estate investment trusts, and investment banks. Other graduates of the program go on to take public and private industry jobs in real estate development, appraisal, corporate real estate asset management, and real estate analysis.

Related Student Organizations

Real Estate Club
Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association

Explore Study Abroad

Studying abroad is an excellent way to gain international experience that enhances your business education. Many students also consider a summer program or a short program embedded in a course. Students are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad section to learn more about study abroad opportunities and to meet with their academic advisor to discuss course planning. Students can take a maximum of two courses in their major abroad. Other common course options abroad include core and breadth courses.


Q: How do I declare a major in real estate?

A: Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business in order to declare a major in real estate. Please visit our Admissions page for information about admissions. Students indicate their intended major when they apply to the business school. If they are admitted, the major(s) indicated will be declared for them. Students may change their major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: How do I cancel the real estate major?

A: Admitted business students may cancel their declared real estate major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: What are common parallel plans related to real estate?

A: Students interested in a career in real estate commonly consider economics (College of Letters and Science) as a parallel plan. Students are encouraged to contact the Cross College Advising Service ( or the appropriate school/college for advising related to this or other majors.

Q: How do I run a DARS report for the real estate major?

A: Please see the Academic Advising page for information on how to run a DARS report.

The following requirements must be met in order to complete a major in Real Estate. For detailed course descriptions, please consult the Course Guide.

Please be aware of stated prerequisites for major courses (including business core courses) that need to be completed before taking the course. Specific prerequisites can be found using the Course Guide.

Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business to complete a major in Real Estate.

*Click on course to view sample syllabus (most recent copy)

Real Est 306 The Real Estate Process, 3 cr
Real Est 312 Real Estate Law, 3 cr
Real Est 410 Real Estate Finance, 3 cr
Real Est 415 Valuation of Real Estate, 3 cr
Real Est 420 Urban and Regional Economics, 3 cr
Real Est 611 Residential Property Development, 3 cr OR Real Est 661 Real Estate Investment Analysis and Presentation, 3 cr (option for students enrolled in the course Fall 2017 and beyond)

  • Students should take Real Estate 306 as early as possible, as it is a prerequisite for many other real estate courses.
  • Real Estate 312 should also be taken early, ideally the semester after Real Estate 306.
  • Please note that the scheduling of Real Estate 312 occasionally conflicts with that of 420 in the spring semester.
  • It is strongly recommended that students take Real Estate 415 before Real Estate 410, or that 410 and 415 be taken concurrently.
  • Real Estate 611 should be taken after Real Estate 410 and 415.

Additional Courses

Undergraduate students are encouraged to choose additional electives from the following real estate and related courses within the Wisconsin School of Business. Electives are typically not offered every semester.

Real Estate Electives

Real Est 365 Contemporary Topics, 3 cr
Real Est 520 Community Economic Analysis, 3 cr
Real Estate 651 Green-Sustainable Development, 3 cr

The Real Estate Department regularly offers innovative and cutting-edge electives under Real Estate 365. Students should check the schedule of classes every semester.

Related Courses

Finance 305 Financial Markets, Institutions and Economic Activity, 3 cr
Finance 320 Investment Theory, 3 cr

Recommended Non-Business Electives

Electives may also be selected outside the business-economics core from a number of courses elsewhere in the university, which will provide greater professional awareness and more specialized tools.

Envir St 325 Analysis of the Physical Environment, 4 cr
Envir St 575 Assessment of Environmental Impact, 3 cr
BSE/Land Arc 356 Sustainable Residential Construction, 3 cr
Land Arc 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design, 3 cr
Land Arc 351 Housing and Urban Design, 4 cr
Land Arc 451 Open Space Planning and Design, 3 cr
Soil Sci 301 General Soil Science, 4 cr
Civ Engr 340 Structural Analysis I, 4 cr
Civ Engr 498 Construction Project Managment, 3 cr
Art Hist 368 American Architecture: the 19th Century, 3 cr
Geog 377 An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, 3 cr
Urb R Pl 305 Introduction to the City, 4 cr
Urb R Pl 463 Evolution of American Planning, 3 cr
Urb R Pl 601 Site Planning, 3 cr


Alina Arefeva
Assistant Professor
BA, MA, MA, Ph.D.

Michael Brennan
Adjunct Professor
Irgens Executive Director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate

Moussa Diop
Assistant Professor
BS, MA, MBA, Ph.D.

Mark Eppli
Faculty Associate
Director, James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate

Andra Ghent
Associate Professor
Academic Director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
BA, MA, Ph.D.

Timothy Riddiough
Department Chair for Real Estate and Urban Land Economics, Director of the Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT)
BBA, MS, Ph.D.

Real estate as a career encompasses a wide range of activities—from development and construction to financing; from brokerage and leasing to property management; from appraisal and assessment to insurance and regulation; from research to urban planning, government affairs and more. Job responsibilities vary by function and can be office-based or in the field. Qualifications also vary from licensing and certification to advanced degrees.

Residential & Commercial Brokerage Overview

Residential and commercial real estate agents and sales professionals work with brokers to sell or lease property. Salespeople are licensed (requirements vary by state) and typically specialize in a particular property type.

Commercial brokers assist companies who want to lease or buy a real estate asset or they represent landlords or sellers who are trying to lease or sell their vacant space.  Residential real estate agents assist individual buyers and sellers in the process of transferring residential property from one owner to the next.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Sell, for a fee, real estate owned by landlords or companies (Commercial)
  • Obtain agreements from property owners to place properties for sale with real estate firms (Commercial)
  • Compare a property with similar properties that have recently sold to determine its competitive market price (Commercial)
  • Act as an intermediary in negotiations between buyers and sellers over property prices and settlement details and during the closing of sales (Commercial)
  • Generate lists of properties for sale, their locations, descriptions, and available financing options (Commercial)
  • Act as an intermediary in negotiations between buyers and sellers, generally representing one or the other (Residential)
  • Accompany buyers during visits to and inspections of property, advising them on the suitability and value of the homes they are visiting (Residential)
  • Prepare documents such as representation contracts, purchase agreements, closing statements, deeds and leases (Residential)
  • Confer with escrow companies, lenders and home inspectors to ensure that terms and conditions of purchase agreements are met before closing dates (Residential)

Essential Skills

  • Interpersonal and communication
  • Thick skin and self-confidence
  • Relationship-building
  • Self-disciplined/motivated
  • Willingness to work nights/weekends
  • Independence
  • Analytical skills
  • Organizational
  • Comfort with risk-taking
  • Presentation & public-speaking
  • Negotiation and persuasion
  • Understanding of basic finance
  • Investigative
  • Patience

Property Management Overview

Managers may work on site to maintain properties like office buildings and shopping centers or apartment buildings and condominiums, protecting the owner’s investment.  They are responsible for the daily management of real estate property to maximize net revenue or productivity.  Asset managers with real estate firms and in the real estate department of banks and trust companies may have responsibility for multiple properties. Managers also plan and advise on the purchase, development, and sale of property. Opportunities exist for asset managers to assist in the disposition of foreclosed properties.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Collect monthly assessments, rental fees, and deposits and payment of insurance premiums, mortgage, taxes, and incurred operating expenses
  • Negotiate the sale, lease, or development of property and complete or review appropriate documents and forms
  • Plan, schedule, and coordinate general maintenance, major repairs, and remodeling or construction projects for commercial or residential properties

Essential Skills

  • Interpersonal
  • Communication – written/oral
  • Ability to manage many tasks simultaneously and meet deadlines
  • Organizational
  • Analytical

Appraisal Overview

Real estate appraisers and assessors determine the value of a property. Property value is then used for tax purposes, financing or investing, and by insurers. In addition to licensing or certification, Appraisers need an understanding of finance and accounting, acceptable principles of appraisal and must be licensed. Assessors, valuators and appraisers work for government agencies, real estate and other private sector companies, or they may be self-employed.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Prepare written reports that estimate property values, outline methods by which the estimations were made, and meet appraisal standards
  • Compute final estimation of property values, taking into account such factors as depreciation, replacement costs, value comparisons of similar properties, and income potential
  • Inspect properties to evaluate construction, condition, special features, and functional design, and to take property measurements
  • Obtain county land values and sales information about nearby properties to aid in establishment of property values
  • Check building codes and zoning bylaws to determine any effects on the properties being appraised

Essential Skills

  • Strong writing skills
  • Understanding of finance and real estate valuation
  • Information gathering and synthesis
  • Willingness to travel to sites

Development & Construction Overview

Developers create a property concept and bring it to reality.  Real estate development projects involve managing labor, timelines, funding and the construction process.  Developers may manage the entire development process from land acquisition and construction to leasing and/or sale.  In other instances, the developer is involved in a portion of the entire process.  

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Conduct market analysis and acquisitions analysis
  • Create, update and evaluate financial spreadsheets to examine returns to the developer and investors as a project evolves
  • Review investment agreements and other legal documents
  • Develop and execute project timelines
  • Ensure that contract agreements with construction and design firms are upheld

Essential Skills

  • Results-oriented
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Visionary, creative
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Interpersonal
  • Analytical
  • Comfort with risk-taking
  • Time management and ability to meet strict deadlines
  • Tolerance for complicated and/or lengthy permit or approval processes

Real Estate Investing & Financing Overview

Real estate analysts provide clients with research and valuation analysis to determine the value of their real estate assets. They support a wide range of client interests, from financing and purchase price allocations (merger & acquisition support), to financial reporting and due diligence. This spans a wide spectrum of institutional property types including high-rise office buildings, sports stadiums and arenas, apartment and condominium developments, regional malls, industrial parks, golf courses and destination resorts.  Real estate graduates are also well equipped to work in other areas of business including finance. 

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Prepare detailed financial analysis, including net present value (NPV) cash flows
  • Design financial models for discounted cash flow (Argus and MS Excel), Comparable Property Sales Models and Construction Cost Models
  • Evaluate client building alternatives and lease options based on qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Work directly with clients and team members to resolve financial model, transaction and landlord issues
  • Review industry surveys and benchmarks, economic and demographic trends

Essential Skills

  • Strong understanding of finance
  • Interpersonal
  • Analytical
  • Writing/presentation skills
  • Microsoft Excel/ARGUS
  • Self-motivation and confidence
  • Teamwork

Corporate Real Estate Overview

Corporate real estate professionals evaluate real estate properties to support a company’s core business. 

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Conduct site analysis to identify office space, distribution facilities, retail locations or manufacturing space for the company
  • Conduct market research and establish a real estate strategy
  • Participate in all aspects of property development including the Entitlement process, legal process, and construction management
  • Assist with interior and exterior designs to satisfy customer and employee needs while minimizing costs

Essential Skills

  • Communication & interpersonal
  • Analytical
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Understanding of finance

Meet the academic and career advisors for Real Estate.

DJ Mattison
Academic Advisor
Jamie Mickelson
Career Advisor

Please visit the Contact Advisors and Staff page for information on advising and appointments.

Contact for questions regarding academic advising.