Real Estate Development and Design

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

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 Master of Real Estate Development + Design (MRED+D) is an interdisciplinary degree program incorporating finance and innovative design to prepare real estate development professionals to build sustainable, equitable, and prosperous cities.

The Master of Real Estate Development + Design (MRED+D) 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 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 of the future.

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Master's Degree Requirements

The MRED+D degree requires students to complete a minimum of 34 units. Curriculum includes a set of ten (10) required courses and at least one (1) elective:

Required Courses 

RDEV 200Sustainable Building Systems + Construction2
RDEV 210Real Estate Economics + Market Analysis3
RDEV 220Real Estate Development Finance3
RDEV 230Public-Private Partnerships, Strategies, and Tools3
RDEV 240Professional Practice of Real Estate Development3
RDEV 250Land Development Law and Regulations3
RDEV 270Development + Design Studio5
RDEV 280Capstone Project2
ARCH 209Special Topics in Architectural Design3
LD ARCH 277Resilience and Urban Development3


Housing & Urban Land Use
CY PLAN C213Transportation and Land Use Planning3
CY PLAN 230U.S. Housing, Planning, and Policy3
CY PLAN 207Land and Housing Market Economics3
The Development Process
LD ARCH C242Citizen Involvement in the City Planning Process3
LD ARCH 140Social and Psychological Factors in Open Space Design3
CY PLAN 235Methods of Project Analysis3
Sustainable Design & Construction
ARCH 260Introduction to Construction, Graduate Level3
ARCH 242Sustainability Colloquium1,2
ARCH 243Natural Cooling: Sustainable Design for a Warming Planet 13
LD ARCH C250Theories of Urban Form and Design3
Real Estate in Developing Markets
Finance & Investment
MBA 280Real Estate Investment and Market Analysis3
MBA 284Real Estate Investment Strategy3
Real Estate Development & Law
ARCH 229AIntroduction to Construction Law1-4
CY PLAN 207Land and Housing Market Economics3


Required Application Materials


You must hold or expect to hold prior to the beginning of classes a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. school accredited by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies. International applicants of recognized academic institutions outside the United States must hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Required Records: Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must include at a minimum the name of the institution, your full name, and a chronological listing of all classes and grades.  If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral, such as a diploma or degree certificate

If your transcript is in a language other than English, then you must provide an official translation issued from your university or by certified members of the American Translators Association. Upload the original transcript and translation as one PDF.

Physical copies of official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

Please note that any discrepancy between the uploaded transcript and the official transcript could result in the denial of your application or withdrawal of your offer of admission.

Letters of recommendation

The two required letters of recommendation provide the admissions committee with third party, qualitative accounts of your potential for success. We require two letters of recommendation. However, you may submit up to three if you like. The online application will prompt you for three letters of recommendation.  If you are only submitting the required two, just enter your own name into the third space.  

We strongly prefer that letters of recommendation come from a current direct supervisor, former direct supervisor, or other individuals with whom you have had significant professional interaction. Please select individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write thorough and thoughtful letters on your behalf. The title of those you select is not important. What does matter is how closely your letter writers have worked with you and whether they can attest to your value as an employee, your professional accomplishments, and your personal qualities. We have found the most helpful letters to be recent, relevant, and written specifically for this application. We discourage letters of recommendation from subordinates, family, friends, or professors.

When completing the online application, you will enter the email address of your recommender and click the appropriate box to have the recommender upload their letter. You are responsible for ensuring that both required recommendations are submitted prior to the application deadline.  


Applicants are required to complete two essays. Although we do not have a required minimum or maximum word count, the suggested length of each is around 1 to 2 pages single spaced. 

Statement of Purpose

Our essay question was created to provoke honest, thoughtful responses to help us get to know you. The admissions committee is interested in learning how your professional or other experiences and achievements equip you and motivate you to pursue an MRED+D degree. 

You should describe what you are passionate about that motivates you to make an impact on the world. How have these interests shaped your short-and long-term career goals, and how will an MRED+D degree enable you to build on your prior professional experience and achieve these goals?

Personal History Statement

Anything that can give the admissions committee a sense of you as a person belongs here. You can repeat information about your experiences found in your Statement of Purpose, but we encourage you to highlight any experiences that show your understanding of groups historically underrepresented, and your commitment to serving underrepresented segments of society with your MRED+D degree.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume

We are interested in learning about your work and experiential background. Please upload your most current resume or curriculum vitae in chronological format. If applicable, please also include honors, awards, publications, presentations, languages spoken, and associations you belong to.

Evidence of English Proficiency

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada).

However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement: 1) courses in English as a Second Language, 2) courses conducted in a language other than English, 3) courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and 4) courses of a non-academic nature.

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Contact Information

Real Estate Development and Design

230 Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-664-5204

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