Real Estate Development + Design

Admissions

Photograph

Sather Gate, UC Berkeley

“We need academic programs where real estate professionals can learn how to think about, measure and promote positive community impacts while insuring that investors and developers can still meet their financial objectives.  The MRED+D program will serve as a laboratory for testing policies and approaches that will help its graduates think about real estate in a different way.” 

Ophelia Basgal, Former HUD Region IX Administrator 

Applicants are required to follow UC Berkeley Graduate Council and Graduate Division requirements including having a bachelor’s degree from an acceptable institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and a minimum TOEFL/IELTS score (if applicable). Applicants are also expected to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), include at least 3 Letters of Recommendation in their application package, and have a first professional degree and/or relevant professional experience.

In addition, working knowledge of Excel spreadsheet modeling and basic financial accounting among incoming students is expected. Incoming students without such preparation will need to complete technical skill preparation courses, which are offered online at a variety of universities, for example Harvard Business School. Those students requiring such technical courses will need to demonstrate successful completion before classes commence.

The MRED+D Program Fee Schedule is listed on the Berkeley Graduate Division’s site on Tuition Costs and Fees. Fees cover University of California tuition and graduate professional student fees, and provide access to university and college resources, including computing labs, printing/plotting, etc.  In addition, the fee covers costs associated with students travel to the national Urban Land Institute Annual Fall Meeting.

Applicants may be eligible for fellowship support. Please contact Elizabeth Bowler (ebowler@berkeley.edu) to obtain additional information about how to apply.

MRED+D Program FAQ:

Questions about applying to the MRED+D: 

How do I apply to your graduate program?

The College of Environmental Design's application cycle opens in September, for summer-semester admission the following year. You must submit the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application and all supplemental materials by the program deadline. 

What is the application deadline?

February 1, 2018 at 8:59 (PST).

Can I apply for fall or spring admission?

The MRED+D programs offers summer admission only. The 11 month program is sequential and all students must begin during the summer semester. 

Is it possible to purse the MRED+D on a part-time or online basis?

The MRED+D is a full time, on-campus degree program. 

Can I apply for coursework only?

Admission to the College of Environmental Design is for a degree program only. However, UC Berkeley Extension offers a concurrent enrollment program that allows individuals to take classes (space permitting) for course credit in degree-offering departments. Full class participation is allowed, and grading is based on the same standards as those for students in the UC Berkeley degree programs.

Can I apply for a dual degree program in tandem with the MRED+D?

If you would like to apply for a dual degree, you must apply to each program you are interested in separately. In order to obtain dual degrees, you must satisfy the requirements of both programs.  

Are interviews required?

We do not conduct interviews as part of the graduate admissions process. However, if you are interested in visiting the college or speaking with a graduate adviser, please contact us via mred+d@berkeley.edu. Visitors are always welcome on the UC Berkeley campus, and regularly scheduled campus tours are available through campus Visitor Services.  

I will not graduate from my undergraduate institution until the end of this spring. Am I still eligible to apply for the upcoming summer?

The MRED+D program is designed for students with professional experience. Unless you have had relevant professional experience before or during the completion of your undergraduate degree, you are not eligible for this program.

I already have a master's degree from another institution. Can I apply to this same degree program at UC Berkeley?

We do not accept applicants who have completed the same degree program at another institution, whether in the U.S. or abroad, unless they can show that the curriculum of the completed program differs substantially from UC Berkeley's. If this is the case in your situation, contact your graduate program adviser to discuss the issue further.

How do you decide who to admit?

All applications are reviewed thoroughly. Along with your past academic performance and letters of recommendation, great emphasis is placed on your Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement as we are seeking mature candidates with strong reasons for applying to the program.

What should I include in my Statement of Purpose?

At a minimum, the Statement of Purpose should indicate, with clarity and focus, your purpose for entering the MRED+D program and why this advances your professional and personal goals. It should highlight your intellectual and practical background for graduate school, and your perspective on how the college's resources and those of the UC Berkeley campus would enable you to find an intellectual home here. You should give us a sense of who you are and why you feel that a Berkeley degree will help you reach your goals. Also, please describe what you have done, written, experienced or learned that makes you an interesting candidate and a good fit for this program.
For tips on writing the Statement of Purpose, please see Writing the Statement of Purpose on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.

Do you require a Personal History Statement?

Yes. The Personal History Statement should include information about academic educational/professional training and experience related to real estate and/or related fields of practice. It should also convey how a combination of life experiences, idealism, role models, education and work experiences have influenced your decision to apply, as well as how any teaching, research, and professional or public service contributions you have made have promoted diversity and equal opportunity. For tips on writing a Personal History Statement, please see the Personal Statement Guide on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.

Am I required to submit a portfolio of work? 

While this is not a requirement, we strongly encourage students to submit images of work, writing samples, and/or past projects for consideration. 

Do you allow hard-copy letters of recommendation? Do you accept letters of recommendation from university letter services? Are recommenders required to use the forms in the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application?

We only accept online letters of recommendation. We will accept letters sent from a university letter service.

If I am accepted, can I defer my admission?

No, the graduate programs do not have a deferral option.

If I am accepted, when will I receive notification of acceptance?

Unofficial notifications of acceptance are emailed to applicants by March 1, 2018, and applicants who have been recommended for admission are notified by the UC Berkeley Graduate Division soon thereafter. Only the written notice of the Dean of the Graduate Division of UC Berkeley constitutes approval of admission. Correspondence with faculty or staff of the College of Environmental Design, no matter what the content, will not commit the University to an approval of admission.

Examination Questions:

Can I submit exam scores that are more than five years old?

Exam scores are only valid for five years. We cannot accept old scores. 

Who is required to take the GRE? What are the codes?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required (see Required Application Materials — Examinations) and you must have your official score reported to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). There is no minimum score requirement. Note: Register for the GRE early, and choose a date that will allow your score report to arrive on time for admissions review.

UC Berkeley School Code: 4833

Do you require the TOEFL or the IELTS for international students? What are the codes?

Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate English-language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. The TOEFL is the preferred language proficiency test for the MRED+D program; Minimum required scores are 570 for the paper-based test, 230 for the computer-based test, and at least 90 for the internet-based test (iBT). Minimum required IELTS score is a 7 on a 9-point scale.

UC Berkeley School Code: 4833

Foreign applicants who have baccalaureate degrees from educational institutions at which instruction was in English must take the GRE rather than the TOEFL. Contact the UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions Office with any questions.

Is there a minimum required grade-point average, or GRE or TOEFL score?

The University requires a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0, B, or equivalent. You may use our GPA calculator to determine your GPA. Note to students who attended a U.S. institution: GPA calculations are based on coursework taken after the first two years of undergraduate study. Note to students who attended an international institution: GPA calculations are based on all undergraduate coursework taken.
There is no minimum required score for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE test scores are good for five years. The minimum required scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are 570 for the paper-based test, 230 for the computer-based test, and 90 for the iBT (internet-based test). For Fall 2015, tests taken before June 1, 2013 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. Please note that test scores are just one component of review when deciding admissions.

How much weight do you give to the GRE scores and undergraduate GPA?

Your GRE scores and undergraduate GPA constitute only a part of your application. These measures alone do not give the admissions committee a clear picture of you as an applicant. It is most important that you therefore take the time to draft an excellent Statement of Purpose that allows the committee to get to know you and your goals, and that you select your recommenders carefully.

I've taken the LSAT/GMAT/MCAT. May I submit these scores instead of taking the GRE?

No. Examination substitutions are not permitted for the MRED+D. GMAT scores will be reviewed if submitted along with the GRE. 

The MRED+D Program:

How many students will be enrolled?

We expect to enroll between up to 20 students for the inaugural MRED+D class.

Is it possible to place out of a core course?

Students are not able to place out of a core course. Transfer credit is not accepted.

How many hours do MRED+D students spend on the program?

The MRED+D program is a full-time on-campus program. You can expect to dedicate full-time to the program during the 6-week summer term with a rigorous load of classwork.  During the fall and spring terms, you can expect 12 hours of in-class time per week and a minimum of 24 hours per week of work outside the classroom. In the case of a semester that includes a studio, you should anticipate more hours in class since studio courses involve 8 hours/week of on-site studio work.

Can students give special attention to a specific aspect of real estate?

Absolutely. Because students will come from varied educational backgrounds and have a range of work experience, programs can be tailored to place more emphasis on finance, law, and other technical aspects of real estate transactions, for example, or provide more in-depth training on aspects of design, housing, or international urban development. In addition, the student’s Capstone project during the spring semester offers an opportunity to address a real estate problem of the student’s own preference.

Are there concurrent degree programs with the MRED+D?

Concurrent degree programs have not been developed for the MRED+D. We will be considering this possibility over the coming year.

Work Experience + Previous Education: 

Can I apply if my work experience is not in Real Estate? 

Students in the MRED+D program come from diverse backgrounds with a range of different levels of experience in the real estate field and in related industries such as architecture, construction, commercial real estate finance, law, city planning, and commercial real estate brokerage.  

Do I need a degree in a specific field to apply?

While you do not need an undergraduate degree in a specific field to apply to our professional master's degree program, you must have earned your bachelor's degree at an accredited university. Undergraduate degrees may be either BA/BS degrees or 5-year professional undergraduate degrees. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in the following fields of are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Architecture
  • Business
  • City planning
  • Engineering
  • Landscape architecture
  • Law
  • Public Policy
  • Urban studies
Is there a strict requirement for the amount of work experience one must have in order to apply?

The MRED+D curriculum is designed to build upon your work experience.  As such, we look closely at your career progression and level when making an admissions decision. Generally we expect a minimum of 3 years of work experience. We also consider the combination of education, training, and work experience together and also how closely related your educational background and experience is to the MRED+D program.  

What type of quantitative background should MRED+D students have before starting the program?

Students are expected to have working knowledge of Excel spreadsheet modeling and basic financial accounting before they enter the program. If you do not have this background, it can be obtained through online courses offered by a variety of universities. This must be completed prior to the start of the program. 

Can MRED+D students take classes in other CED graduate programs (such as the Master of Architecture, Master of City Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture) or other Berkeley graduate programs?

In order to insure breadth of knowledge of the built environment, there are 3 courses required for the MRED+D that are offered by these CED professional graduate programs. You are also welcome to take electives from the approved electives list, some of which are offered by other CED programs (as well as other UC Berkeley academic units). Because students will have varied backgrounds, the Faculty Director will work with you individually to curate your programs of study to minimize duplication and meet student-specific needs. 

Who are the faculty for the MRED+D program?

The MRED+D faculty includes both College of Environmental Design professors and professors of practice including some of the most widely recognized real estate and urban development professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. These leading professionals are chosen specifically for their ability to effectively teach to fellow professionals.

What career management services are available to MRED+D students?

The CED Career Services Office provides a wide variety of services for MRED+D students including, but not limited to: individual coaching, job listings and job search services, resume posting, career fairs and networking events, career management workshops and webinars. MRED+D students are also encouraged to join the Berkeley Real Estate Club, a group including students from the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Law, and the College of Environmental Design, that focuses on career development and opportunities.

What advice would you give someone who is trying to decide between an MBA and the MRED+D?

There are clear distinctions between MBA programs, traditional Real Estate programs and the MRED+D. If you are interested in focusing on real estate finance, marketing, accounting, quantitative methods, or the real estate sector in general, an MBA with a Real Estate emphasis/concentration, or a Real Estate degree, may be the right choice for you. If you are looking to gain a holistic view of how real estate development functions in the larger urban context and you are interesting in equity, sustainability, and design principles as well as real estate finance, law, and the development process, the MRED+D will be a good choice. The degree program seeks to educate and embolden such interdisciplinary professionals. 

International Students:

Will the College of Environmental Design sponsor student visas for participants in the MRED+D program?

Yes. If you are an international student and apply no later than our posted February application deadline, your application will be reviewed and considered for admission. If an offer of admission is extended, then UC Berkeley will assist you in obtaining a student visa.

Is there a different application for international students?

No. Every applicant, regardless of citizenship, is required to submit the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application and supplemental admissions materials.

Financial Aid + Fellowships:

How do I apply for program fellowships?

There is no separate application for program merit-based fellowships. In addition to completion of the appropriate fellowships section of the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application, submission of the required application components will automatically qualify you for fellowship eligibility. If awarded a departmental fellowship, you will be notified in your program admission offer.

Three types of fellowships are offered to MRED+D students:

  • Dean's Scholarships ($15,000) Awarded to students based on the overall strength of admissions application and demonstrated leadership.
  • Non-Profit/Public Service Scholarships ($25,000) Awarded to students whose current employment is in the non-profit or public service sectors. This is a one year award which can be renewed in subsequent years.
  • Diversity Scholarships ($35,000) Awarded to students who have a proven commitment to promoting diversity.

It is beneficial for applicants to seek financial support that is independent of university sources.
If you are an international student, look for fellowships from your home country or through international agencies.

Are MRED+D students eligible for U.S. Federal Loans?

The University of California, Berkeley participates in the William D. Ford Federal Loan Program, which allows students enrolled at least half-time (6 units) to borrow money directly from the federal government at a fixed interest rate.

NOTE: In order to receive fellowship support through the University, applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must apply for need-based financial aid, which requires the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are non-need based loans. The annual limit is $20,500 per academic year. All students who meet general eligibility requirements may qualify for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Interest accrues at disbursement on the portion that is disbursed. The interest that accrues is not compounded or capitalized during periods of enrollment; the accrued interest is capitalized just prior to entering repayment.

  • Interest Rate: 6% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2017
  • Origination Fees: 1.069% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2016

Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans are non-need based loans. Grad PLUS Loans are credit-based loans which require a credit check. To be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan you must meet the other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid Programs, and must not have an adverse credit history (i.e. no more than 90 days late on any debt, no bankruptcies or tax liens within the past 5 years, and no defaults or adverse actions on any prior education debt). Students can borrow a Grad PLUS Loan up to the remaining total Cost of Attendance each year, minus any other expected financial aid. The definition of "adverse credit" for the Grad PLUS Loan is defined in detail on the FAQ section of the FSA (Federal Student Aid) website.

  • Interest Rate: 7% fixed interest rate for loans disbursing on or after July 1, 2017
  • Origination Fees: 4.276% fee taken at disbursement for loans disbursing after October 1, 2016
What type of employment opportunities are available to MRED+D students?

MRED+D students can apply semester-long positions as Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) and Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions. GSI and GSR positions are announced each semester, and incoming students are eligible to apply for these positions as well.

Special Application Instructions

Please see the below special instructions for the MRED+D program as they pertain to the general UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application:  

Program Information Section

You may choose up to 3 faculty advisers that you wish to work with, but at least 1 faculty adviser is required.

Test Scores Section
  • The GRE is required for the MRED+D; you may also submit the GMAT to supplement your appilcaiton. The LSAT and MCAT will not be considered. 

  • Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate English-language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. The TOEFL is the preferred language proficiency test for the MRED+D program; Minimum required scores are 570 for the paper-based test, 230 for the computer-based test, and at least 90 for the internet-based test (iBT). Minimum required IELTS score is a 7 on a 9-point scale.

Statement of Purpose Section

At a minimum, the Statement of Purpose should indicate, with clarity and focus, your purpose for entering the MRED+D program and why this advances your professional and personal goals. It should highlight your intellectual and practical background for graduate school, and your perspective on how the college's resources and those of the UC Berkeley campus would enable you to find an intellectual home here. You should give us a sense of who you are and why you feel that a Berkeley degree will help you reach your goals. Also, please describe what you have done, written, experienced or learned that makes you an interesting candidate and a good fit for this program. For tips on writing the Statement of Purpose, please see Writing the Statement of Purpose on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.

Personal History Statement Section

The Personal History Statement should include information about academic educational/professional training and experience related to real estate and/or related fields of practice. It should also convey how a combination of life experiences, idealism, role models, education and work experiences have influenced your decision to apply, as well as how any teaching, research, and professional or public service contributions you have made have promoted diversity and equal opportunity. For tips on writing a Personal History Statement, please see the Personal Statement Guide on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.

Real Estate Development + Design Program Section 

While uploading a portfolio of work is not a requirement, we strongly encourage students to submit images of work, writing samples, and/or past projects for consideration.

Supporting Materials Section
  • Academic or Professional History Resume/Curriculum Vitae: Required
  • Sampling of Relevant Written Work: Required
  • Publications and Presentations: Encouraged but not required
  • Honors and Awards: Encouraged but not required
  • Website: Encouraged but not required
  • Survey telling us which other institutions you have applied to and the major/department: Encouraged but not required

"Real estate is a collaborative and multidisciplinary industry. Any aspiring real estate professional would be doing themselves a disservice to learn the business in a vacuum. Whether you work on the development, asset management, legal, financing, construction or design side of the industry, you will interact with members of all of those professions on a daily basis. Learning the language, priorities, and concerns of those groups as a student has helped me be a more successful professional in my field. Berkeley's new MRED+D program provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of real estate development and I would have applied to the MRED+D had it been available."

Allie Stein, Project Manager, BRIDGE Housing (MCP and IGCRE ’16)