The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate is going back to its roots to expand its portfolio of academic offerings. The Center is seeking approval to re-activate the Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) starting in the fall semester of the 2019-20 academic year. The MSRE is in response to overwhelming support by real estate alumni to bring back the MS to the menu of academic offerings and from the Wisconsin School of Business which is looking bring back a limited number of MS degree programs.
“We are thrilled to again offer our real estate MS program,” said Sharon McCabe, Associate Director with the Graaskamp Center regarding the prospect of re-activating the MSRE. “With the addition of the real estate MS, we can now offer a full spectrum of educational choices to prospective students.”
The MS in Real Estate degree was previously a top-ranked program in the Wisconsin School of Business until it was folded into the current MBA offering in 2005. But with almost a decade of continuous economic growth leading to a decline in enrollment for full-time MBA programs across the country, Mark Eppli, the Director of the Graaskamp Center, and his staff thought it was the right time to re-analyze their academic portfolio.
“We were just ranked as the best public real estate school in the country at the undergraduate level by U.S. News and World Report,” Eppli said. “We also have the MBA in real estate which is more of a management degree with a focus on managing the real estate decision-making process. What we don’t have is the piece right in the middle of the BBA and the MBA which is the MS.”
Eppli says the WSB hopes to attract three main student groups who want a more intensive real estate education with the new MS degree: Existing UW-Madison students majoring in economics, engineering, and other letters and sciences subjects; business students from other Midwestern universities like the UW System, Marquette and DePaul; and international students.
“We’ve got wonderfully trained undergraduate students, especially in economics, from a critical thinking and quantitative thinking perspective,” Eppli said. “With the MSRE, they can more narrowly apply that knowledge to commercial real estate. It’s a natural flow from a broad-based liberal arts undergraduate education to a narrowly focused graduate curriculum.”
If approval proceeds as planned, the MS degree will start next fall with a general option the Graaskamp Center is also working on MS programs with an emphasis on Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT) and Private Equity in the future, which could be attractive for current Wisconsin School of Business Real Estate students looking to add a master’s degree at UW-Madison without needing the minimum of two years of work experience required by the current MBA program.
Overall, the new MS degree adds to the Wisconsin Real Estate Program’s menu of curricular offerings, which already include three real estate-focused degrees: BBA, a management-focused MBA and PhD in Real Estate. The MS, potentially, will help the Graaskamp Center to attract a more diverse group of applicants while continuing to build on its reputation as one of the premier real estate programs in the country.
“The Real Estate MS will be the perfect option for those recently graduated students who have a passion for the real estate industry,” McCabe said. “In one year, they will gain a solid foundation in real estate knowledge along with making valuable connections in the industry.”