USC Price School of Public Policy

Certificate in Real Estate Development


Real estate is an inherently interdisciplinary field — and it’s essential for practitioners to understand not only the larger context, but also how one discipline interacts with the others. Capital markets, political and regulatory environments, and community culture change so rapidly that it is difficult to remain informed, let alone competitive.

Multiple participants contribute to the success of real estate development efforts. City planners make critical decisions on a project’s impact to the community, transportation systems, and the economic development of cities. Architects drive the design and aesthetics of a project. City managers consider the contribution a new residential complex, shopping center, or office building will have to the operations and budgets on municipalities. Construction managers oversee the largest financial line item in a development project and insure that buildings are delivered on time. And financing is essential to project feasibility.

The USC Price Certificate in Real Estate Development provides an extensive overview of current development processes, modeling, and specific training in market analysis used to evaluate the potential of a real estate endeavor. The program is designed to give students in related fields a more comprehensive perspective on public policy issues in the context of real estate.


The certificate program consists of 12 units of graduate course work. Each course builds upon the prior, so students will take classes sequentially — one each semester over three terms.

RED 510 — Real Estate Practice and Principles (4 units)
Presentation of the fundamental principles of real estate analysis, economics, capital markets, and development decision making. Basic techniques of investment analysis and real estate appraisal. Examination of the relationships between real estate markets and federal, state and local government policies; the factors that create real estate market cycles, bubbles, and crashes; and the impacts of real estate cycles and capital flows upon regional and national societies. At the conclusion of the course, students will have the basic tools to make intelligent real estate development and investment decisions.

RED 511 — Foundations of Real Estate Analysis (4 units)
A broad exposure to fundamental concepts and analytical methods used in making investment and financing decisions. Students learn to evaluate an income-producing property and forecast a return on investment. Topics include valuation techniques (especially discounted cash flow analysis) and the relationships between them, use of debt and equity, leases, taxes, and the metrics of risk and return. (Prerequisite RED 510)

RED 512 — Real Estate Project Analysis (4 units)
Students learn fundamental economic theories and analytical techniques, as well as practical applications for market analysis of various forms of real estate. The course provides insight to evaluate equity financing and various deal structures for specific development and investment projects. (Prerequisite RED 511)

Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Applicants for the Real Estate Development Certificate must be currently enrolled in a graduate program at USC and in good standing with a 3.0 GPA. To apply for the certificate program, submit the following materials:

  • Addition of Degree Form
    • Enter contact information at top of form.
    • Leave section 1 blank.
    • In section 2, use this information:
      • Major to added: RED
      • Major Post Code: 1451
      • Degree Objective: GCRT
      • School: Price
      • Dept. Mail Code: 0626
  • A current resume
  • A written statement of approximately 1,500 words addressing the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in pursuing the Certificate in Real Estate Development?
    • How will a Certificate in Real Estate Development affect or enhance your career aspirations and goals?

Submit all application materials to Sonia Savoulian at

Application Deadlines
Applications are accepted year-round.

Please contact the USC Price Office of Admissions at for more information.