USC Price School of Public Policy

Certificate in Real Estate Development

Real estate is inherently an interdisciplinary field and one in which successful professionals will have to understand both the larger context and how a discipline interacts with the others. Community groups, government agencies, other property owners, and even the media are involved in the development process. The capital markets, political and regulatory context, and major players change so rapidly that it is difficult to remain informed, let alone competitive. City planners make critical decisions on a project’s impact to the community, transportation systems, and the economic development of our 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. Financing is essential to project feasibility. Multiple participants contribute to the success of a real estate development.

Many of the degrees offered at USC intersect with elements of real estate but are likely not comprehensive in their treatment of it. The goal of this Certificate program is afford students in related fields the chance to see the other disciplines interact in the context of real estate. The Certificate in Real Estate Development provides an overview of the development process and specific training on the financial modeling and market analysis skills used to evaluate the success of a real estate project.


The program consists of 12 units of graduate course work. Each class builds upon the other and 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 the fundamental concepts and analytical methods used in making investment and financing decisions. Students will be able to evaluate an income producing property and create a value and forecast a return as an investment. Topics will include valuation techniques (especially discounted cash flow analysis) and the relationships between them, use of debt and equity, leases, taxes, the metrics or risk and return and how they are modeled. (Prerequisite RED 510)

RED 512 — Real Estate Project Analysis (4 units)
Students will take the basic proforma and incorporate equity financing and various deal structures to specific development and investment projects. Students will then learn the fundamental economic theories, analytical techniques, as well as practical applications for market analysis of various forms of real estate. (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.