Chair’s Note

Welcome to the Runstad Department of Real Estate!

Real Estate Education at the University of Washington has evolved from the first course in the area nearly 40 years ago, to a professional certificate in commercial real estate, a graduate program (MS in Real Estate) and more recently the launch of a full Department with multiple programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Today, the Runstad Department of Real Estate offers two undergraduate programs: a BS with a Major in Real Estate, a Minor in Real Estate, and four graduate programs: an MS in Real Estate, a concurrent MS in Real Estate and Construction Management – launching in winter 2022 and two Graduate certificates (Graduate Certificate in Real Estate and a Graduate Certificate in Housing Studies). Our continuously increasing number of students has led to a significant expansion of our full-time faculty and industry-leading affiliates. Our student base includes domestic and international students pursing our degrees and others seeking to explore the intersection of real estate with their own built environment, business, economics, political science, public health, and other disciplines.

Why consider studying real estate at UW? The answers are numerous and here are some of them:

Overarching reasons:

  1. Location-Location-Location: is a term critical in real estate. As the department is housed in a College of Built Environment, students are provided a unique opportunity to engage with additional key participants of real estate markets (e.g., architects, urban planners, and construction managers) This allows them to execute key simulations ensuring they will be far better prepared to execute these responsibilities in the real world after their graduation. Beyond the opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary aspects of real estate through courses within the College, students benefit by the interaction with their classmates from different disciplines and perspectives of the built environment.The location of UW’s real estate program in the city of Seattle provides a unique canvas for the study of real estate in the region. Our city has undergone a significant transition in the last decades with the expansion of companies, the formation of company urban campuses as well as the expansion of the light-rail and Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) projects
  2. Full-time faculty and affiliates: The University of Washington is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the world with our full-time faculty producing innovative research which advances the boundaries of their specific disciplines nationally and internationally. The department benefits from a significant number of affiliate instructors who are working professionals with decades of experience and expertise in their various fields.The combination of these two groups of instructors provide our students with a holistic education which is both book and street smart, preparing them for a variety of contingencies as they either enter the profession for the first time or expand their horizons.
  3. Advisory Board: The department benefits from an engaged Advisory Board of Regional Real Estate leaders in various areas of real estate who are committed in supporting the department financially and the students through mentoring, networking opportunities, insight to the area real estate industry and trends and internship opportunities.
  4. Alumni network: Our students benefit from a a diverse alumni network engaged in all aspects of real estate offering their help through mentoring and other activities.
  5. UW/Real Estate club: UW has an active Real Estate Club which is led by students and establishes an annual speaker series, professional development opportunities, and property tours. The Club builds community among the members which include students interested in real estate across all Colleges.
  6. Home of F500 and PropTech companies: Seattle is home of 11 Fortune 500 Companies (Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Starbucks, Paccar, Nordstrom, Expedia etc.). Additionally, it is home to PropTech companies such as Zillow and Redfin providing unique opportunities for our graduates to apply their real estate expertise in the corporate world.

Undergraduate program

  1. The BS prepares students to enter careers in real estate finance, asset management, brokerage, urban and real estate development, or affordable housing among numerous other potential career paths. For students in the minor, the program can complement their major and make them more competitive for real estate careers or broaden their understanding of the real estate industry in shaping the built environment.
  2. Students completing the BS and the minor take courses that develop their analytical and business skills and equip them with the ability to make sense of the increasingly complex data that guide the real estate industry. They also take courses that expose them to the interdisciplinary nature of real estate among built environment related professions and how real estate fits into a broader economic and social framework.
  3. Students engage with professionals that represent the breadth of the real industry throughout their time in the program. They have to opportunity to participate in a professional development course that supports students in developing their career goals and preparing the material they will need to apply for internships and jobs.
  4. The BS is designed to be completed in less than 6 quarters so that students who discover real estate is a path for them by the beginning of their junior year and transfer students can complete it. It is designated as a STEM degree, which makes international students eligible for a maximum of 3 years post-graduation U.S. work

Graduate programs

  1. The MSRE prepares students for careers in corporate real estate, real estate finance and investment, development, and affordable housing in both the public and private sectors. Students who are unclear of the specific area of real estate that captures their greatest interest have an opportunity to explore where their skillset and personality can make them more successful through their coursework in a series of courses in leadership, negotiations, and professional development.
  2. MSRE students benefit from taking courses which will help them with their business, technical/software, and real estate skills. In addition to a typical curriculum, they learn the importance of data analytics and visualization in real estate as well as the evolution of real estate markets and how they are and can be disrupted. Their last quarter a capstone course can help them focus in one of the following areas: Corporate RE & Facilities Management (unique offering), RE Finance, Development or Housing Markets
  3. Students with undergraduate or MS quantitative degrees can fast-track the completion of the MSRE in 3-quarters (September- June). Those with qualitative degrees can complete the MSRE in 6-quarters. Additionally, students have the option to pursue the MSRE full or part-time allowing them maximum flexibility.
  4. The MSRE is designated as a STEM degree, which is rare across real estate programs and allows international students to be eligible for a maximum of 3 years post-graduation U.S. work
  5. MSRE students benefit from being matched with mentors in their area of interest from the advisory board and their contacts allowing them to begin building their network while at school. Additionally, students are introduced to a variety of organizations (e.g., ULI, NAIOP, CoreNet, BOMA, CREW etc.) which can further help them expand their network significantly.
  6. MSRE applicants and students qualify for multiple scholarships which are available for outstanding applicants and those with financial need.
  7. Regarding the two Graduate Certificates the Department is offering (Graduate Certificate in Real Estate and a Graduate Certificate in Housing Studies) students from across the university have an opportunity to take 4 courses in either certificate along with real estate students and add one more credential to their current degree which can be very useful in their job seeking pursuits.

With all these aspects of the Department in mind, I invite you to explore our programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level and sign-up for future information sessions to discover even more. In the meantime, if you would like more information please please feel free to reach out to our excellent advisers at (for graduate programs) or (for undergraduate programs) or attend one of our regularly scheduled information sessions.

Beyond the contacts for the undergraduate and graduate programs you can always reach out to me with questions at I look forward to hearing from you and  welcoming you as one of our students.


Dr. Sofia Dermisi

Lyon and Wolff Endowed Professor in Real Estate

Professor of Urban Design & Planning

Acting Chair, Runstad Department of Real Estate

Director, Graduate Programs in Real Estate