Real Estate Development + Design

About MRED+D


Photo: Tony Tieu

Why Study Real Estate Development and Design?

The development of urban real estate is one of the most powerful forces shaping our buildings, cities, and metropolitan regions.  From finance to design, the choices we make about what to build, where to build, and how to build influence urban sustainability, equity, and resilience – today and for years to come.

Our rapidly urbanizing world faces major challenges, ranging from climate change to social inequality. We need real estate professionals who have a deep knowledge of how development can bring positive benefits to society and the environment, and who understand the power of design to make cities efficient, livable, distinctive, and valued.

The Nancy and Douglas Abbey MRED+D Program 

Our Abbey Master of Real Estate Development + Design (MRED+D) is a full time on-campus one-year interdisciplinary degree. The program kicks off each summer in May where students complete a summer intensive before continuing to the fall and spring semester.

The Abbey MRED+D incorporates finance and innovative design to prepare real estate development professionals to build sustainable, equitable, and prosperous cities. Our curriculum covers the fundamentals of real estate markets, finance, urban economics, property and land use law, project feasibility analysis, and the details of the urban development process. But we include ‘design’ in the degree’s name for a reason. The Abbey MRED+D program goes beyond tradition, to link real estate to the world of design based on two convictions. One is that successful real estate development requires excellence in urban design, planning, and sustainability. The other is that design thinking – the iterative process of problem finding, prototyping solutions, and iterative critique – is fundamental to producing the most valued and valuable real estate projects.

College of Environmental Design

The UC Berkeley Abbey MRED+D Program is housed in the College of Environmental Design (CED). The college is an interdisciplinary hub of undergraduate, professional, and doctoral programs focused on the built environment, creating powerful synergies and opportunities for collaboration. Under one roof, students are exposed to a wide range of ideas from adjacent fields, and work on teams with planners and designers – excellent preparation for the real world of real estate development, where team work is the norm.

The college is located in Wurster Hall, which houses the MRED+D program’s classrooms, seminar rooms, and studios, and administrative offices and the Office of Career Services.  In addition, Wurster Hall offers a beautiful library, computer labs, gallery, and lively café. 

UC Berkeley's Competitive Edge 

The UC Berkeley Abbey MRED+D offers an exceptional value proposition:

  • The Berkeley Advantage. UC Berkeley has an unbeatable brand as the world’s top public research university. The university’s research prowess is matched by its top-notch professional schools. Its history and culture inspire students to launch innovative careers that help tackle the world’s grand social, environmental and business challenges.
  • A World-class College. The College of Environmental Design’s graduate professional built environment programs are ranked #1 among all public universities in the country, and Berkeley ranks #3 in the world in the area of architecture/built environment. Faculty are thought leaders in urban development that promotes not only profitability, but also sustainability, design excellence, economic opportunity, and social equity.
  • The Bay Area’s Business Vitality. The San Francisco Bay Area is a vibrant nexus of technology innovation, business leadership, and progressive real estate development firms – an ecology in which the Abbey MRED+D is embedded. Students engage with real estate entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors in the Bay Area and across California, to become part of this ecology and generate forward momentum.
  • Dynamic Career Networks. Abbey MRED+D students have the opportunity to interact with the program’s professional affiliates – distinguished developers, designers, and planners, who serve as resources and mentors to the program. And our Career Services Office is a rich resource of guidance as well as internship and job opportunities. Plus the Berkeley Real Estate Club offers students from five academic units across the Berkeley campus opportunities to meet and network.
  • A Degree for the Future. Like other programs, the Berkeley Abbey MRED+D trains real estate professionals in traditional areas of finance, law, urban land economics, and urban development processes. But only Berkeley seeks to go beyond tradition, harnessing design thinking to prepare students to grapple with the major forces that will increasingly shape real estate development in the future: climate change and sea level rise, cities devastated by economic change or residential displacement, automated vehicles and next gen energy technologies.

*The Abbey MRED+D has recently been designated as a STEM degree. The new designation grants an automatic 3 years post-graduation U.S. work eligibility.*

Join us in creating a 21st century real estate profession, whose practitioners can structure innovative financial deals, imagine new building and community typologies, and help future cities grow fairly and sustainably!

With its longstanding educational leadership in the key disciplines of MAKING the built environment – architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning – and its deep commitments to socially and ecologically sustainable development, the CED is uniquely positioned to offer this fantastic new MRED+D program.  And with the rest of UC Berkeley at your doorstep – what could be better?  If I were 30 years younger I’d apply!”

Ken Wong, Chief Operating Officer & Director of International Development, RELATED

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