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Real Estate Investment and Finance is designed to give you a broad knowledge and understanding of property within national and international investment markets and with the skills needed to research, analyse and advise on investment decisions accordingly. It provides those from varied professional and academic backgrounds with an entry into the real estate profession while also enhancing the knowledge and skills of those already employed in the field. Including complementary courses in other aspects of economics and the built environment, this programme gives students an intensive, diverse and well-rounded education.
Students come from the real estate industry, or look to study this programme following a first degree in real estate, property development, planning, geography, economics or finance. This programme offers you the opportunity to learn more about the intersection between property and finance, to develop appraisal skills and to become chartered.
With strong professional links and a focus on up-to-date industry-relevant content, our Real Estate programmes equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to quickly and effectively contribute to the success of their working environment.
Graduates of this programme are highly sought after in the real estate industry, and some of our graduates have gone on to work within companies such as Standard Life and Scottish Widows, and for major consultancies Jones Lang LaSalle, CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield.
We also have a proven track record in research, and a number of our graduates continue in research to complete PhD study.
This MSc programme is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Flexible study options
Real estate is an inherently global industry, and our programme content reflects and responds to that. Students from all over the world study this programme both on campus (in Scotland and Dubai) and by Independent Distance Learning (IDL) and as a student of this programme you will be part of – and learn from – a community made up of a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures.
|Mode of study||Duration|
Independent Distance Learning (IDL)
*An IDL programme - whether at PgDip or MSc level - can be completed in a minimum of 2 years. On average, our PgDip programmes studied via IDL are completed in 2-3 years, while MSc programmes are completed in 2.5-7 years. Most students intend to complete their studies via IDL within 2-3 years.
This programme benefits from the expertise of research-active and industry-minded staff. Along with teaching staff, a number of honorary professors from industry guest lecture on the programme and advise on student research projects. These include Douglas Smith, Chair of CBRE Scotland, David Hunter of Hunter Advisers and Edward Trevillion of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.
The Urban Institute
This programme is delivered by The Urban Institute at Heriot-Watt University. As a Real Estate and Planning postgraduate student you will be part of the Institute’s Graduate School, connecting you with staff, research associates and fellow students engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as affordability, housing markets and private renting; commercial property markets; urban economics; diversity and minority ethnic communities; homelessness and social exclusion; housing policy, management and governance and more.
Course contentDetailed course guide
This programme is composed eight core courses at PGDip level. For those looking to complete the programme at MSc level two research projects are also required. Students are assessed through a combination of coursework and examination.
|Semester 1||Semester 2|
Real Estate Economics
Semester 1 (mandatory)
This course aims to introduce students to an economic analysis of real estate markets. The course will help students to understand land and property markets from an economic perspective; to examine land and property as a set of linked markets and to consider regulatory constraints on real estate in economic terms including planning. The syllabus includes:
Introduction to key topics in economics – microeconomic demand and supply analysis, Elasticities, the macroeconomy; the economics of property market analysis: use, investment and development. The institutional context. Local, regional, national and global perspectives. Real estate cycles by sector. Property versus other asset classes; Analysis of property sectors (housing, offices, retail, industrial). Spatial economic analysis; Economic basis of planning, planning in a market economy. Economic analysis of planning policy, interaction of real estate and the macroeconomy.
Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation 1
Semester 1 (mandatory)
This course aims to establish the economic context for the creation of value, introduce the principles for the assessment of value in property markets, develop a clear understanding of the valuation process and appropriately apply the principal valuation methods (conventional and contemporary) to a range of property types and interests. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
Economic context of the property market; The property professions: their role, ethical conduct and regulatory framework; Definitions of price, value and investment value (worth); Introduction to the principal techniques of property valuation; Valuation and appraisal mathematics: Present and Future Value, DCF, NPV and IRR; The valuation process; Analysis of market evidence and measurement practice.
Macroeconomics, Finance and the Built Environment
Semester 1 (mandatory)
This course aims to give students an understanding of the macroeconomy and advanced financial issues that are relevant to the real estate and construction
sectors. The main topics covered by the course include:
Relevant macroeconomic theory and its practical application; Analysis of the complex relationships between the economy and the real estate market and the development industry; Advanced analysis of financial market structures and partnerships; Property market cycles including long waves of urban development; Financing of infrastructure projects including private finance, initiative, public-private partnership models including tax incentives.
Semester 1 (mandatory)
This course aims to help students to develop a critical understanding of: spatial planning agendas; sectoral and spatial policy frameworks at national, strategic and local levels; legal and ethical frameworks; implementation mechanisms; development management issues; relationships between land and property and planning, including development rights and property rights. The syllabus includes the following subjects:
Reasons for planning; Development Planning; Urbanisation and Urban development; Development and property rights; Development Management; Environmental Assessment; Conservation and Globalisation and urban transitions.
Real Estate Investment Analysis
Semester 2 (mandatory)
This course aims to enable learners to develop an in-depth understanding of property as an investment medium and the application of investment and finance theories to both the general investment markets and the property market. The syllabus consists of the following topics:
Investment theory and the investment decision; the nature of risk and return; the characteristics of property as an investment; the role of property in the multi-asset portfolio; the application of modern portfolio theory; introduction to international real estate portfolio analysis performance monitoring; the emergence of new financial products in the property sector, and market efficiency and the cause of mis-pricing, real estate derivatives.
International Property Markets and Investment
Semester 2 (mandatory)
This course aims to provide an introduction to internationalisation of property markets. The course will provide students with an understanding of
property legal frameworks and the critical importance for international investment decisions. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
The economics of international trade; international financial flows and international investment; internationalisation of the economic system; internationalisation of real estate and real estate service providers; institutions in and affecting real estate markets; comparative analysis of the law of contract, delict, land ownership and lease law; comparative analysis of property markets in different countries; comparative analysis of use, investment and development across countries; mature, emergent and transitional markets; identification of future international property investment trends.
Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation 2
Semester 2 (mandatory)
This course aims to develop a critical evaluation of valuation and appraisal methods and provide an opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of advanced methods of valuation and appraisal for land and property markets. The course is intended to discuss and explore the following issues:
Investment appraisal: An examination of current issues in investment appraisal; Spreadsheets; Mass appraisal: application of statistical techniques for property appraisal; Business appraisal; Professional valuation and appraisal software.
Real Estate Development
Semester 2 (mandatory)
This course aims to achieve an understanding of the structure and functioning of the contemporary real estate market and of the factors influencing the development decision. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:
The real estate market and the property development industry; The factors influencing the development decision; The techniques of development appraisal including cashflow techniques and risk analysis; The nature of planning agreements and their impact on development appraisal; The general form and content of real estate development and investment finance; The form and content of real estate partnerships including appraisal and financing aspects.
For MSc level entry applicants must have:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.
For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:
- Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
- Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
- Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.
There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.
Non-graduating study at masters level:
- Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.
Distance Learning January entry
Distance learning students can choose to start their studies in January or September. The January intake is not available to students studying on-campus.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual courses within a programme based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the courses for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team via email@example.com, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.
The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their programme of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.
Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)
Distance learning students
Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.
Fees & funding
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£5200||£2600||£1185 / £1690***|
|England / Northern Ireland / Wales||£5200||£2600||£1185 / £1690***|
|Overseas||£14080||£7040||£1185 / £1690***|
* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.
Additional fees information
**Students pay £1185 per course and £850 per Research Project. This programme consists of 8 courses (modules). MSc students are also required to complete 2 research projects.
For questions about IDL fees, please contact our Distance Learning Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scholarships & bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships.