2023 Best Online PhD in Real Estate [Doctoral Programs]

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Earning a PhD in Real Estate can help you start or advance your career in this lucrative industry.

Best Online PhD in Real Estate

In addition to opening up many professional opportunities, a PhD also enables you to conduct original research into areas within the field of real estate that you find particularly interesting.

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At the center of most work in real estate is the ability to listen and communicate effectively. These skills combined with others, such as the ability to negotiate, have the potential to help you transition into leadership roles.

Online PhD in Real Estate Programs

PhD in Real Estate Programs

An online doctoral program in real estate covers essential topics in the field while also providing you the opportunity to examine and conduct original research into a particular area.

Topics covered in a real estate Ph.D. program may include:

  • Economic theory
  • Econometrics
  • Asset pricing
  • Labor economics
  • Corporate finance

Many of the courses offered may overlap with a doctoral finance program, in part because a real estate degree requires a developed understanding of many key financial concepts.

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Along with courses in finance, business, and economics, you’ll also learn the ins and outs of the real estate industry, including how to manage, sell, and rent properties. Because a doctorate in real estate is an advanced degree, you may graduate your program qualified to work in a range of professional positions.

Some positions related to real estate include:

  • Real estate broker
  • Property manager
  • Investment analyzer
  • Real estate investor

Many individuals who work in real estate find that they are able to work flexible hours and set their own schedules. The research portion of your doctoral program can also help you qualify for educational and research-based positions. Like grads from an online master’s in real estate development program, some graduates of a PhD program pursue work as postsecondary teachers or researchers.
You also have the opportunity to gain both hard and soft skills that can assist you in the real estate industry.

Potential soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Organization
  • Motivation

Potential hard skills include:

  • Systems development
  • Digital technology
  • Market analysis
  • Sales

If you have a background in finance or business and are eager to grow your qualifications in the field of real estate, a doctoral program may be a strategic next step in your career.

Real Estate Careers & Salaries

Real Estate Careers & Salaries

There are many perks to a career in real estate. For instance, many real estate agents are able to set their own schedules and enjoy flexible hours, which can lead to a healthier work-life balance.

There are also many opportunities for growth, either into higher income levels or new positions. Professionals who earn a doctoral degree in real estate often pursue positions in management or academia. The business, communication, and leadership skills you can develop are applicable in other industries as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following career opportunities are related to advanced real estate training and skill sets.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $179,520
Financial Managers $131,710
Administrative Services Managers $100,170
General and Operations Managers $97,970
Postsecondary Business Teachers $94,360
Loan Officers $63,380
Real Estate Brokers $62,010
Property Appraisers and Assessors $61,340
Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers $59,230
Real Estate Sales Agents $48,340

In the real estate industry, geographic location can make a difference in the salary amount you can earn and the opportunities available to you. Even if you earn your PhD in Real Estate, you are not guaranteed a certain salary or job title.

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Factors such as the area in which you live, your experience, and your network connections can make quite the impact in this department.

Real Estate PhD Curriculum & Courses

Real Estate PhD Curriculum

As with most on-campus or online business degree programs, it is true that no two real estate PhD programs are the same, but you’ll likely find economic and business courses offered in each. Here are types of courses you may come across:

  • Macroeconomics: This class provides an opportunity to study the economy on a global or national level, covering topics like gross domestic product, unemployment, and inflation.
  • Econometrics: Econometrics falls under the umbrella of statistics and explores concepts such as regression analysis and forecasting.
  • Asset Pricing Theory: In this course, you’ll learn financial theory and the tools needed to determine asset prices, exploring areas like trading.
  • Empirical Corporate Finance: This course takes an empirical approach to corporate finance topics, such as investment needs and capital trends.
  • Urban Real Estate Economics: This course will study real estate markets and trends using different economic concepts, analyzing the ways in which policies can impact pricing.
  • Industrial Organization: An area of study related to microeconomics, this course will provide an in-depth exploration of competitive and monopolistic markets as well as oligopolies.
  • International Economics: You’ll have the chance to explore economic trade theories and the fundamentals of international economics.
  • Real Estate Law: This course will cover the different components of real estate law, including title and insurance, land use, and contracts.
  • Valuation of Real Estate: In this course, you’ll learn the necessary tools to determine property value and measure performance.
  • Construction Cost Analysis: This course focuses on the construction industry, and you can learn how to analyze and price different projects.

These courses may be accompanied by extensive research, culminating in a dissertation.

Admissions Requirements

real estate PhD

Admission into real estate PhD programs can be very competitive. Although proof of excellent academic performance in the past can be an advantage, the admissions teams at colleges will often look at the following items:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only if required)
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • References

Because every doctoral program has unique admission requirements, it’s beneficial to read through the application for each school thoroughly. Highlighting your professional successes and personal academic journey can help raise your chances of being accepted into a real estate program.

Real Estate Doctoral Programs Accreditation

real estate PhD accreditation

In order to apply for federal financial aid, it is necessary to attend a regionally accredited institution. Most employers also prefer candidates who have earned their credentials from accredited schools.

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The accreditation process evaluates different components of an education program, including aspects like the quality of its staff and curriculum. If you want to rest assured that you are paying for a credible degree, then you can check if your prospective programs are accredited by searching the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

real estate PhD financial aid

Applying to a doctoral program can be an intimidating process, partly because of the cost. If cost is an important factor for you, financial aid is always an option to students who qualify. There are also various forms of financial aid you can explore.

You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your eligibility for grants and student loans from the federal government. Additionally, you can research the financial aid programs that are available in your state.

There could also be aid options that you can apply for through your work or school. Your employer might offer tuition reimbursement opportunities, and you can research potential scholarship programs at your prospective university. Utilizing the resources available to you might help you avoid or navigate financial roadblocks on your path to a doctoral degree.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Real Estate?

real estate PhD careers

While it may be tempting to equate a PhD in Real Estate to a career as a real estate agent, there is a variety of professional opportunities for graduates from this program. Because of the advanced business and financial skills you can develop, you could potentially qualify for managerial opportunities in property management, finance, or construction.

Professionals with a doctorate in real estate often find themselves drawn to careers as facilities managers, financial managers, or property appraisers and assessors. Others enjoy work as real estate brokers, sales agents, or loan officers. PhD graduates commonly pursue positions in research and academia as well.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Ph.D. in Real Estate Online?

real estate PhD degree

A typical PhD program ranges in length from 3 to 5 years, depending on the number of credit hours required and how long it takes you to complete your dissertation. If there is no dissertation requirement, a doctoral program may be completed in 3 years with full-time enrollment.

Personal factors can also impact the time it takes to complete a doctoral program. In addition, schools differ in requirements and types of programs offered. Some offer self-paced options, while others provide a concrete timeline for completion.

What’s the Difference Between a DBA vs. PhD in Real Estate?

Both a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Real Estate can help you advance your business and leadership qualifications.

Doctor of Business Administration PhD in Real Estate
  • Practice oriented
  • Aims to apply existing research and theories to field of business administration
  • May offer real estate concentration
  • Emphasizes overall business and leadership practices
  • May offer a capstone project alternative to a dissertation
  • Research oriented
  • Aims to conduct original research in the field of real estate
  • Emphasizes key concepts of real estate field
  • Typically requires a dissertation

The degree path that is right for you will likely depend on your personal interests and career goals. You might consider whether you would like to focus your studies on real estate or if you would prefer to broaden your studies to include other aspects of business.

Is a PhD in Real Estate Degree Worth It?

PhD in Real Estate

Yes, a PhD in Real Estate degree is worth it for many students. A number of careers in real estate can provide flexibility and allow you to determine your own schedule.

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The skills learned in a doctoral real estate program can also help qualify you for professional opportunities in a wide array of industries, including finance, sales, and business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management occupations are expected to experience 9% job growth over the next ten years. A PhD can also be a qualification for positions in research and postsecondary education.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Real Estate Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Capitol Technology University

Capitol Technology University campus

Capitol Technology University offers an online program for a Doctor of Philosophy in Real Estate Management. The program does not require any on-campus classes or residencies. Coursework includes Real Estate Management Research Methodologies, Strategies for Real Estate Management, Real Estate Management Future Demands, and more.

Capitol Technology University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University’s DBA in Real Estate Development requires the completion of 60 credit hours and takes an average of 3 years to finish. Classes are 8 weeks long and 100% online. The program provides networking opportunities and courses covering topics such as finance, human resources, organizational behavior, and more.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide campus

Touro University Worldwide offers an online Doctor of Business Administration program. The program requires the completion of 48 credit hours and usually takes 2 years to finish.

To graduate, students must complete a research-based project rather than a traditional dissertation. Classes are 8 weeks long. Courses include Theories of Organizational Behavior in Business, Business and Management Across Cultures, Financial Principles and Management in Business, and more.

Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Getting Your PhD in Real Estate Online

PhD in Real Estate Online

A real estate doctoral program can help you learn the necessary business, negotiation, and problem-solving skills for this lucrative industry.

A career in real estate often allows professionals to set their own schedules. There can be plenty of opportunities for horizontal and upwards mobility, and a career in this sector allows for interaction with a diverse range of people. A PhD can also help prepare you for research and academic positions.

If you’re ready to begin your doctoral journey, you may want to start by compiling a list of accredited online PhD in Real Estate programs that match your desired specifications.

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Molly Doyle
WRITTEN BY
Molly Doyle
Molly holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco and a B.A in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A Seattle-based educator, she focuses on student-centered instruction and creating culturally responsive curriculum.