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Real Estate & Urban Land Economics

About the Program

The Wisconsin PhD Program in real estate and urban land economics prepares individuals for academic careers in research universities and research careers in industry and government agencies.

The program is academically rigorous, highly quantitative, providing a solid foundation in financial and economic theory and advanced empirical methodologies. In addition, through a customized program of elective courses and dissertation research, students will specialize in a particular area of real estate economics and finance.

Core areas of research

Student research is supported by faculty in the following core areas:

  • Urban economics
  • Affordable housing and policy analysis
  • Real estate finance and investment
  • Securitization and real estate capital markets
  • Investment of commercial property
  • Household finance
  • Environmental economics and sustainable development
  • International real estate markets

Academic Requirements

All students must meet the general PhD requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business. Ideal candidates for our program have the following background:

  • Introductory coursework in microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Three semesters of calculus, two semesters or mathematical statistics, one semester of linear algebra, and one semester of real analysis*

Program Coursework

Students will complete the following courses:

Advanced Real Estate Finance

Advanced Urban Land Economics

Theory of Finance I & II

Economic Statistics and Econometrics I & II

Economic Theory–Microeconomics Sequence I & II

Economic Theory–Macroeconomics Sequence I or II Seminars

Year 1

  • Students are set to gain familiarity with the academic real estate community in general and academic research in particular.
  • By the end of summer, year 1, students should pass the prelim exam.

Year 2

  • By the end of the second year, students should have successfully completed all required courses.
  • During summer, year 2, students complete a research paper on a real estate economics or finance topic. This paper may be either theoretical or empirical, and should contain elements of original research that extend the existing literature. Real estate faculty members may provide guidance during the paper’s development. Each student also makes an oral presentation of the paper to the real estate faculty.

Year 3

  • At the beginning of the third year, students should successfully pass the second-year paper and presentation.
  • Students will work on the dissertation and are set to complete the dissertation proposal by the end of the third year.

Year 4 & 5

  • Students should successfully complete the doctoral dissertation and prepare for the job market

Faculty Research Interests

Alina Arefeva

Alina Arefeva

Research interests:

  • Real estate economics
  • Finance
  • Macroeconomics
  • Search frictions on housing prices
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Yongheng Deng

Yongheng Deng

Research interests:

  • Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets
  • Mortgage and Asset-Backed Security
  • Competing Risks of Mortgage Prepayment and Default
  • Economics of Sustainable Development
  • Asian Real Estate and Housing Market
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Lu Han

Lu Han

Research interests:

  • Real estate market microstructure
  • Empirical industrial organization
  • Urban and environmental economics
  • Housing and mortgage policies
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Tim Riddiough

Timothy Riddiough

Research interests:

  • Mortgage finance and securitization
  • Real estate valuation and investment
  • Capital structure and contracting
  • REITs
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Chris Timmins

Research interests:

  • Environmental Economics
  • Urban Economics
  • Public Economics
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Abdullah Yavas

Abdullah Yavas

Research interests:

  • Mortgage contracts
  • Brokerage
  • Economics of information and uncertainty
  • Experimental economics
  • Monetary policy
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Dayin Zhang

Dayin Zhang

Research interests:

  • Household Finance
  • Financial Intermediation
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Macroeconomics
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Connect With Current Students

We encourage you to contact our doctoral students in real estate and urban land economics to hear their perspectives on the Wisconsin PhD Program.

View current student profiles

Contact Us

Lu Han

Lu Han

Real Estate and Urban Land Economics