Real Estate Development + Design



Photo: Tony Tieu

“UC Berkeley’s Masters of Real Estate Development and Design is just what the real estate and infrastructure industries need to re-train existing participants and put emerging industry leaders on the right track.” ​

Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate & Chair, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, George Washington University


The Nancy and Douglas Abbey MRED+D program at UC Berkeley is a summer-start degree, starting in mid-May. Students complete 36 units of core courses* spread out over the summer, fall, and spring semesters.

*Students may take up to 8 units of electives (no additional charge), allowing students to customize their program.

Required Courses

  • RDEV 200: Sustainable Building Systems + Construction (2)
  • RDEV 205: Equitable + Inclusive Development (1)
  • RDEV 209: Integrated Development, Architecture + Urbanism (3)
  • RDEV 210: Real Estate Economics + Market Analysis (3)
  • RDEV 215: Real Estate Financial Modeling (1)
  • RDEV 220: Real Estate Development Finance (3)
  • RDEV 225: Advanced Real Estate Finance (2)
  • RDEV 230: Public-Private Partnerships, Strategies + Tools (3)
  • RDEV 235: Real Estate Capital Markets (3)
  • RDEV 240: Professional Practice of Real Estate Development (3)
  • RDEV 250: Land Development Law + Regulations (3)
  • RDEV 270: Development + Design Studio (4)
  • RDEV 277: Resilience + Urban Development (2)
  • RDEV 280: Capstone Project (2)
  • RDEV 285: Capstone Prep (1)

This list is subject to change.

Sample Student Program

Below is a sample student program. Programs may vary according to minor changes in course offerings and scheduling over time. 

  • RDEV 205: Equitable + Inclusive Development (1)
  • RDEV 209: Integrated Development, Architecture + Urbanism (3)
  • RDEV 210: Real Estate Economics + Market Analysis (3)
  • RDEV 220: Real Estate Development Finance (3)
  • RDEV 277: Resilience + Urban Development (2)
  • RDEV 200: Sustainable Building Systems + Construction (2)
  • RDEV 215: Real Estate Financial Modeling (1)
  • RDEV 225: Advanced Real Estate Finance (2)
  • RDEV 230: Public-Private Partnerships, Strategies + Tools (3)
  • RDEV 250: Land Development Law + Regulations (3)
  • RDEV 285: Capstone Prep (1)
  • Elective(s) (0-4)
  • RDEV 235: Real Estate Capital Markets (3)
  • RDEV 240: Professional Practice of Real Estate Development (3)
  • RDEV 270: Development + Design Studio (4)
  • RDEV 280: Capstone Project (2)
  • Elective(s) (0-4)

All students participate in a national Urban Land Institute Annual Fall Meeting, and complete a capstone project. Capstone project topics are expected to vary in terms of product type, site/location, and focus; students select from one (or a combination) of options: (1) professional client, (2) independent research, (3) project case study, or (4) real estate development project, or opt to synthesize their coursework to complete a directed capstone proposing a program for a predetermined site.

Course Descriptions

RDEV 200: Sustainable Building Systems + Construction (2)

Construction + Sustainability is designed to give real estate development students a stronger knowledge of the concepts, materiality and methodologies surrounding the construction of buildings. The course reviews each of the major types of construction as classified by construction type. The aim is to develop a practical understanding of construction essentials through the lens of design. sustainability, and cost. Subjects will include a review of the building typology, structure, systems, rough and finish material, construction drawings, details, sequencing, code and the vocabulary that surrounds these topics. The course challenges students to analyze construction, design and stustainaiblity with regard to the complex relationships between budget, best practices, functionality, community benefit, aesthetics, and risk to ultimately determine project feasibility.

RDEV 205: Equitable + Inclusive Development (1)

This course is intended to encourage the next generation of real estate developers to put equity and inclusion at the center of their practice. The course will situate real estate development within a broader project of racial equality and social justice and specifically aims to explore how to create strategies to ensure the benefits of real estate development are broadly shared by the community.

RDEV 209 Integrated Development, Architecture & Urbanism (3)

This course is a primer on how development forces produces our streets, neighborhoods, towns, cities and metropolitan regions. It is focused on a cirtical understanding of development practices and their impact on urban form as well as the social, economic, cultural and environmental qualities of cities, aspiring to empower development and design professionals to actively participate in the creation of better urban places. It will also introduce concepts about site analysis, placemaking, urban design principles, building types and key design factors that influence building form, program, and real estate development. Class topics will attempt to connect the agency of design and the value that it adds to real estate development, explored through a review of selected lectures, case studies, and field trips. This course will investigate how development, architecture and urbanism are intertwined, built on the idea that cities are our most sustainable resource, holding the key to our social, economic, and culturally equitable future, as well as our planet's environmental stewardship.

RDEV 210: Real Estate Economics + Market Analysis (3)

This course will provide students with a thorough grounding in the theories and methods of urban economics, as well as a complete introduction to professional methods in real estate market analysis. We will cover the full range of land uses and real estate product types, including mixed-use, TOD, affordable housing and other specialized development types. Students will learn to prepare professional-level real estate market analyses for real-world projects in complex urban environments.

RDEV 215: Real Estate Financial Modeling (1)

By the conclusion of this course, students will be expected to successfully execute these concepts: 1) Understand all key terms and ratios that are included in a real estate development proforma; 2) Learn how to research and capture information required to complete a realistic proforma; 3) Review three different developer proforma formats and understand the differences in each development company's approach; 4) Complete a from-scratch 2-hour proforma with a calculator (to prepare for job interviews); 5) complete three complete multi-page MS Excel formulas based on a standardized format (office, industrial, and mixed-use).

RDEV 220: Real Estate Development Finance (3)

This course introduces the fundamental technical concepts and analytical methods and tools for making investment and development decisions in real estate. Students will learn the essential tools to understand how real estate value is determined, created and influenced. We will focus on the basic building blocks and micro level analyses that pertain to the financial viability and projected performance of indiviudal properties and deals. We will learn to evaluate primarily real estate development projects and secondarily stabilied income properties. The main topics covered in this course include: 1) Real estate finance foundation fundamentals; 2) Proforma creation with pessimistic, bases and optimistic scenarios analyzed; 3) Leases; 4) Debt and equity structures and options; 5) Lease types; and 6) Introductory real estate taxation concepts.

RDEV 225: Applications in Real Estate Finance (2)

This course is designed to facilitate a mastery of core finance and valuation skills required of real estate developers through a practical approach using real world examples / case studies. It is designed to develop studetns' ability to think critically about how real estate value is created and develop analytical tools used to derive it. The primary emphasis in the course is on the acquisition, financing, and repositioning of real estate projects.

RDEV 230: Public-Private Partnerships, Strategies + Tools (3)

Public-private partnerships (PPPs or P3s) have emerged as a key means of catalyzing transformative urban development across the world. This course will primarily focus on PPPs that consist of a structured legal alliance between a public agency and private developer to achieve a real estate project and will provide practical tools ot cultivate effective alliances with the public sector to facilitate private develoopment. The course will focus on the key principles and techniques that lead to the creation and implementation of successful partnerships between the public and private sectors. It will explore how governments and developers must be willing to change their typical mindsets, do business in new and creative ways, foster enduring collaborations, and commit to ongoing transparency regarding all aspects of the deal. Using case studies from projects across the United States, the course will focus on how to undertake real estate developments with a public purpose to advance social, economic and/or enviornmental goals. The class will teach studetns the skills and knowledge to manage the complex processes, agreements and financing structures that are involved in public-private partnerships for real estate development.

RDEV 235: Real Estate Capital Markets (3) 

Fundamentals of capital markets as they relate to real estate development--the final course in the MRED+D finance sequence, ensuring a thorough understanding of the finance principles necessary for professional real estate development. Full course description to come.

RDEV 240: Professional Practice of Real Estate Development (3) 

This class teaches the fundamental business practices of real estate developmen to equip students for careers in private as well as non-profit development. The course is taught by an experienced real estate development practitioner and will includ a variety of guest lecturers in the field. Course topics will follow the life cycle/sequence of a real estate project's development, including project conceptualization, financing, partnerships, site acquisition, zoning and permits, design, construction, marketing, sales or lease-up and financial reporting. The class will rely on active professional work products, reports, contracts, schedules and documents handled or produced by practitioners on a daily basis as course materials. Hnads-on assignments will focus on work products expected from real estate project managers to synthesize information, inform decision, present a real estate development project to others and manage the development process. Upon completion of the course, students will have an understanding of the timing and sequence of events and decisions in the real estate development process and a familiarity with reports and work products associated with development management.

RDEV 250 Land Development Law + Regulations (3)

This course will introduce students to the various ways in which land development laws and regulations affect development patterns and will recognize that how we use urban, suburban and rural landscapes is largely a product of government determinations expressed through land use regulation. The course will explain how real estate projects are modified by land development laws and regulations through the planning stages, the design process, and the entitlement process, which ultimately determines the look and feel of the build environment. Upon completion of the course, students will interpret the legal framework and entitlement process for developing rela estate and how to find and analyze the land use regulations affecting a given piece of property. Students will also assess how environmental laws and regulations governing the physical environment--such as contamination and wetlands--limit development potential or require permits from various agencies.

RDEV 270 Development + Design Studio (4)

Studios use real development projects--both local and nonlocal domestic or international--to provide studetns with the experience and skills necessary to synthesize rela estate development + design projects. The course operates on the premise that development + design are both creative and analytical acts. As developers and designers, students need to understand: the development process, program determination, how development teams work, what makes good design and how it adds value, and how to craft a feasible, innovative project proposal which integrates ideals of equity, sustainability and community benefit into its core. The studio will integrate interdisciplinary projects teams of MRED+D and other CED graduate students (City Planning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design). While the course is not intended to teach MRED+D candidates to be design experts nor teach design and planning students to be finance experts, by engaging in a studio process which incorporates both development and design considerations, students will become more sophisticated and critical participants in the act of shaping urban environments. Students will gather and evaluate market, construction and environmental data to inform design and program choices; evaluate the physical, market, and public policy constraints of a given site; apply best practices of redevelopment; advance innovative design solutions; and communicate their development proposals to a professional audience.

RDEV 277 Resilience + Urban Development (2)

Cities and their inhabitants face increasing risks from climate and other hazards--with disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color suffering disproportionate impacts. Natural threats include sea level rise, flooding, wildfire (and associated unhealthy air quality), extreme heat, drought, and earthquakes. Human-influenced challenges include racial and environmental injustice, income inequality, urban sprawl, inadequate infrastructure, and pandemics. Resilience is known as the capacity to recover quickly and fully from acute disasters and thrive amidst slower-growing threats. However, because global climate change is effectively permanent, urban resilience must be broadened to include strategies for adapting to unavoidable/sustained impacts and coordinating urgent efforts to eliminate the emissions that drive global heating. This course will include discussions of various approaches to resilience and engage multidisciplinary experts who bring resilience into their research or professional work at multiple scales (region, city, district, and building). Major infrastructure system investments and equitable community co-benefits are also key topics as they impact the physical and financial requirements for site design and development. We will examinte new approaches to urban design, equity, insurance, and policy and formulate an approach to resilience that will improve the quality of a real estate investment, its equity, and environmental impact, while remaining profitable. At the conclusion of this course, students should be abel to assess solutions to respond to this question: How can real estate investments in existing urban districts simultaneously support adaptation, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, protect vulnerable communities, and create value?

RDEV 280: Capstone Project (2)

Two Capstone Project options exist for MRED+D students: Independent and Directed.

Students pursuing the Independent Capstone project will conduct an original investigation in order to acquire and produce "new knowledge" within a framework set either by a professional client in practice, or critically on your own. The primary goal of this research is to deepen your personal understanding of a particular topic or issue in real estate development and design. Your investigation will consist primarily of secondary research--information collected from others, including scholarly or technical articles, news articles, and other published or internal work product materials. A key source of research will also be in-person interviews with your professional client, project team members, consultants or relevant professional contacts. You will analyze and summarize this information in order to apply it to your particular research topic in the form of a reviewed 10-minute public presentation. A key element of working effectively in this professional field is the ability to make succinct, informative and compelling oral presentations, so the final presentation allows students to build public speaking skills and confidence before joining the post-graduate workforce.

The directed capstone course provides students with guided experiential learning ot synthesize and apply the entire body of knowledge acquired through MRED+D coursework to date. Students will shape learning applications by selecting from a list of curated development sites and preparing a development project proposal. The list of project sites covers a breadth of use types and scales, offering various levels of complexity. Students may choose the challenge that best offers an opportunity for growth and demonstrates readiness for undertaking work in a specific industry segment or role. The final deliverable will be a development proposal and a brief oral presentation with slide deck to the cohort and a jury of development practitioners.

RDEV 285: Capstone Prep (1)

Preparation for the chosen Capstone option--developing your Independent Capstone project and beginning the research phase, or gaining insights into an evolving industry and emergent demands in the marketplace and practicing iterative problem-solving with input from peers and guest practitioners to synthesize knowledge gained through MRED+D coursework.


The Abbey MRED+D is a flexible degree that allows students to choose electives in almost any department at UC Berkeley that best fit their academic and career goals. Relevant elective courses identified are listed below. Descriptions can be found in the UC Berkeley Course Guide, Berkeley Law Schedule, and Haas School of Business Course Guide. In addition, students may petition to take electives not included on this list.

Housing + Urban Land Use
  • ARCH 209: Housing as Design Generator (3)
  • CY PLAN 230: US Housing, Planning and Policy (3)
  • CY PLAN 235: Methods of Project Analysis (3)
  • CY PLAN 298: Housing Lab Group Studies Project (1)
  • CY PLAN C213: Transportation and Land Use Planning (3)
  • CY PLAN C217: Transportation Policy and Planning (3)
The Development Process
  • CY PLAN 290B: Business + Legal Issues in Real Estate Development (3)
  • CY PLAN 298: Community Engagement Workshop for Planners and Developers (1)
  • LD ARCH 140: Social and Psychological Factors in Open Space Design (3)
  • LD ARCH C242: Citizen Involvement in the City Planning Process (3)
Sustainability + Building Technology
  • ARCH 240: Advanced Study of Energy and Environment (3)
  • ARCH 242: Sustainability Colloquium (1-2)
  • ARCH 259: Low Carbon Structural Design (3)
  • ARCH 264: Off-Site Fabrication (3)
  • CY PLAN 290: Climate Justice Seminar (3)
  • MBA 292T: Carbon Footprinting (1)
Race, Gender, Social Justice + Theory
  • CY PLAN 281: Planning Theory (3)
  • CYPLAN C215: Global Urban Inequalities (3)
  • LAW 272.2: Environmental Justice: Race, Class and the Environment (3)
  • MBA 294: Dialogues on Race (1)
Urban Data Science + Visualization
  • CY PLAN 255: Urban Informatics and Visualization (3)
  • CY PLAN 257: Data Science for Human Mobility and Socio-Technical Systems (3)
  • LD ARCH 289: Applied Remote Sensing (3)
Health + Development in Emerging Markets
  • CY PLAN 115: Urbanization in Developing Countries (4)
  • CY PLAN C256: Healthy Cities (3)
  • LD ARCH C110A: Ecological Analysis (3)
Environmental Planning
  • CY PLAN 205: Introduction to Planning and Environmental Law (3)
  • LD ARCH 221: Quantitative Methods in Environmental Planning (3)
  • LD ARCH 237: The Process of Environmental Planning (3)
Finance + Investment
  • CY PLAN 207: Land and Housing Market Economics (3)
  • MBA 280: Real Estate Investment Analysis and Sustainability (3)
  • MBA 282: Real Estate Development (3)
  • MBA 283: Real Estate Finance and Securitization (3)
  • MBA 292T: Impact Investing Landscape (1)
General Business
  • MBA 252: Negotiations and Conflict Resolution (2-3)
  • MBA 209F: Fundamentals of Business (3)
  • MBA 295A: Entrepreneurship (3)
New Ventures
  • LAW 255: Venture Capital Finance (2)
  • LAW 255.9: Venture Capital Deal Bootcamp (2)
  • MBA 277: Tech and the City (3)
  • MBA 295B: Venture Capital and Private Equity (3)
  • MBA 295F: The Lean Launchpad (3)
Real Estate Development + Law
  • LAW 257: Real Estate Transactions and Litigation (1)
  • LAW 273.1: Land-Use Law (3)

*Students must follow external department registration procedures. Enrollment is subject to space availability and School or Department approval and is not guaranteed. Actual elective course offering varies year to year and is subject to change.