Who is it for?
A Cass master's degree is your gateway to a real estate career.
Four key features make us market leaders in Real Estate master's programmes:
- Track record: Established 21 years ago, and accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), our degrees are widely recognised and highly valued by major employers; you will find Cass Real Estate graduates at all levels in leading real estate firms around the world.
- Capability: You will be taught by highly qualified real estate staff, all all with at least 15 years’ experience in teaching and/or in senior roles in the real estate industry and active in research. And we draw on London’s unmatched pool of industry professionals to act as visiting lecturers and guest speakers.
- Focus: Cass only offers Real Estate courses on a postgraduate level – so you have the exclusive attention of our staff - and has specialised in courses which blend the professional, financial and practical skills in high demand across the real estate industry.
- Location: we are the only Business School to offer real estate investment programmes in London, with the opportunity to network in a global real estate hub, neighbouring both the City’s financial core and the new tech belt centred on Silicon Roundabout.
Cass Real Estate courses:
- Equip you with the core skills required by the industry embracing valuation, financial modelling, development appraisal, market analysis and cash flow modelling.
- Are set in a framework of robust quantitative methods, financial and economic theory.
- Have an emphasis on up to date industry techniques and practical tools taught hands-on in computer labs.
We offer a choice of two courses: the MSc Real Estate and the MSc Real Estate Investment.
MSc Real Estate Investment
The MSc Real Estate Investment course requires a stronger background or aptitude in quantitative methods - from mathematics at final year high-school level, a degree with a quantitative element, or work experience. The course covers the same core “real estate professional” skills as the MSc Real Estate course but takes them at a faster pace. The MSc Real Estate Investment then extends to advanced methods in financial modelling, industry research and portfolio analysis, and covers in more detail the financial markets created by Real Estate Investment Trusts and Mortgage Backed Securities. Graduates from this course may enter the same businesses as those from the MSc Real Estate, but will be better qualified for “real estate analyst” roles in investment strategy, financing and research.
MSc Real Estate
The MSc Real Estate equips you for roles across all types of real estate business – surveying, fund management, development, banking - and is open to those with previous degrees or work experience in any discipline.
This degree offers a choice of pathways, which you choose between in the second term. One option adds more UK-specific skills in law, valuation and taxation for those who want to join the graduate-entry programmes of chartered surveying firms. The second give more on financial analysis and international markets for those looking to work in investment, finance, development or outside the UK.
If you are not sure which of our degrees is best for you, you can put both on your application form and we will suggest which is more suitable.
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Overall the MSc Real Estate Investment could be labelled as a degree in finance which is focussed on real estate. Since the topics and methods you study are of interest to all real estate businesses, including the mainstream employers like chartered surveyors, the MSc Real Estate Investment may give you a wider choice of the role you play but it does not pre-determine what sort of firm you work for.
Term 1 gives you a grounding in the core skills of the real estate professional. You cover basic appraisal methods applied to valuation, development and financing of investments, financial modelling plus an applied statistics module that incorporates econometric modelling with real estate data. Those techniques are put in a wider context through a module on economics and market analysis and an investment markets module which ranges across all asset classes and financial instruments.
Term 2 is more about applications of those core skills and principles. You look in more detail at the financial instruments and techniques to analyse the securitised equity and debt investment markets, private debt market, portfolio risk and property futures. In Investment Vehicles you cover the different forms of indirect real estate – REITS, core and opportunistic funds, and derivatives. In Debt Finance and Investment you take in mortgage lending, mezzanine finance, mortgage-backed securities.
Portfolio and Asset Allocation deals with the role of real estate in investment portfolios and the mix of assets within real estate portfolios. Applied Financial Analysis furthers your analytical skills and equips you with more tools to address real world and topical issues in the investment segments of the market.
All of our MSc courses start with two compulsory induction weeks which include relevant refresher courses, an introduction to the careers services and the annual careers fair.
Investors measure the performance of real estate and decide how much to invest in it against other asset classes. This module sets that context, covering market structures, pricing and performance measurement across equities, bonds, derivative and currency markets.
Across all modules in this course you will need good skills in data analysis and an understanding of the statistical methods used in performance analysis, portfolio modelling and risk analysis. This module covers those general techniques, and also shows one major use of those techniques as build a model to forecast rents and development.
Appraisal and Financial Modelling
We begin with the foundations of financial principles and mathematics which apply across all asset classes. You then learn how those techniques are used in cash flow modelling, valuation and investment decisions for real estate investments and developments, both in the UK and around the world. Since real estate is often financed with debt, you will apply financial modelling to understand how senior, junior, equity and mezzanine debt affect returns and risks.
Economics and Market Analysis
A course in economics is standard for all Business School students. Here you will learn not only those general economic principles but also how they apply to real estate: what determines rent in different places, how differences in rent shape the skyline of our cities, why real estate development notoriously swings from boom to bust.
Portfolios and Asset Allocation
Two of the biggest questions in real estate are show investors decide how much to invest, and then how they spread their portfolios across markets to deliver target returns and risks. You will learn in depth the performance measurement and portfolio construction techniques which drive those decisions, and how to apply them to portfolios spread across countries, sectors and regions. This module builds on the understanding of drivers of real estate returns from different types of investment vehicle covered in other Term 2 modules.
Investors buy into real estate in a variety of forms – by buying buildings directly, through fund managers’ vehicles like Property Unit Trusts or Private Equity Funds, or buy buying shares in listed companies like Real Estate Investment Trusts. In this module you will cover the structures of these different vehicles, how they are modelled and priced, with the costs, returns, risks and liquidity they offer to investors.
Applied Financial Analysis
The objective of the module is to develop and understanding of theoretical and practical understanding of key techniques in real estate analysis, centred on topics drawn from published research and embedded in other modules in the programme. It will equip students with the skills needed to produce their own analytical models, and to critically evaluate industry and academic research publications.
Debt Finance and Investments
Debt finance in real estate is a critical factor for investors and for lenders – indeed as the Global Financial Crisis showed, for the financial system as a whole. This module looks at real estate debt from all those angles, exploring with you the impacts of debt on investor returns, the types of debt offered by lenders and the underwriting criteria they use, the debt explosion and Mortgage Backed securities of the mid-2000s, and the post-GFC world of new regulations and new types of real estate lender.
Business Research Project
The last block of your course, the Business Research Project (BRP), is the one you design and build for yourself. It takes the form of a report of around 8,000 words submitted in August. We see the BRP as your opportunity to have a showpiece which shows potential employers what you know, what you can do, your ability to produce good-quality individual work.
BRP's come in the full range of forms. To give a few examples:
- Some are mostly about technical methods (a forecasting model for London offices, REITs and asset allocation in the USA)
- Others review trends and prospect in specific real estate markets (like housing in Hong Kong, investment in Africa)
- Or look at topical questions (like the impact of e-tailing on real estate, sustainability and building values)
- Or look in-depth at specific development projects (Kings Cross in London, a resort in Montenegro).
Term 3 Electives
In term three, you also pick a set of three elective topics from around six modules specific to real estate plus a range run by other Cass Masters programmes – some of them taught on trips to locations outside the UK. So you can focus on:
- Added core real estate topics like building management, sustainability, residential markets.
- Or on the investment aspects of the industry like REITs, real estate funds and portfolio construction.
- Or pick up on more general topics such as private equity and project management taught by experts from other Cass programmes.
Electives offered in 2020
- Corporate Restructuring
- Ethics, Society and the Financial Sector
- Family Business
- Private Equity Investment
- Visual Basics in Finance
- Residential Investment
- Sustainability in Real Estate
- Hedge Funds
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- International Rea Estate Markets (taught in Amsterdam)
- Project Finance and Infrastructure Investment (taught in Madrid, Spain)
- Start-ups - international field trip
All core modules in Term 1 and Term 2 are assessed by sight-unseen examinations (in January and April) plus courseworks set and delivered in Term time. The majority of elective modules is assessed by coursework. A number of modules is assessed using tests.
Your courseworks will take a range of forms - essays, modelling projects, presentations, class tests. Some are done individually, others in self-selected or allocated groups of up to four coursework. The mix of assignments is designed to develop the general and soft skills employers expect – time management, team working, report production and presentations.
Overall your final Masters mark will be assessed on 50% exams and 50% coursework.
|Course Element||% Weight in Final Marks|
|Term 1 + Term 2 total eight core modules||66.67%|
|Term 3 Elective Modules - coursework||16.67%|
|Individual Business Research Project||16.67%|
Term dates 2021/22
Your Course Director will be Professor Sotiris Tsolacos, who is an academic with years of practical experience. Previously he was with Henley Business School and held posts at JLL and Property Portfolio Research/Costar from 1999 to 2013. He is working closely with property service providers, investment managers and private equity firms on a range of topical real estate themes. He is co-author of the standard textbook Real Estate Modelling and Forecasting and the forthcoming textbook Applied Quantitative Analysis for Real Estate. He is the recipient of the European Real Estate Society’s Achievement Award.
Professor Sotiris Tsolacos teaches on the Applied Statistics module, Applied Financial Analysis module, Economics and Market Analysis module and Debt Finance and Investment module.
Professor David Blake
Head of The Pensions Institute and an investment expert who has written numerous journal articles and industry reports, including work on Real Estate in Defined Contribution Pension Schemes commissioned by the real estate industry. David has also authored a standard text on investment markets.
Professor David Blake teaches on the Investment Markets module.
At Cass since 2017, Chris has more than 25 years' real estate experience, which includes private equity, investment banks and property company investor developers, with coverage in the UK and Pan European markets. Chris also manages his own real estate consulting business and combines this with running excel based real estate CPD accredited training courses to property professionals,investment banks and sovereign wealth funds. Chris is Argus Software Certified for Enterprise and Developer, holds an MSc Real Estate Investment (distinction) from Cass and is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.
Chris contributes to the delivery of:
- Appraisal and Financial Modelling
- ARGUS software training
Stephen has over twenty years teaching experience, at Cass since 2005. He is an internationally recognised academic, who sits on the boards of the European Real Estate Society and the International Real Estate Society. He has published over 100 papers which break new ground in the field, mostly looking at investment risks and returns, asset allocation and portfolio construction.
Stephen teaches on the following modules:
- Appraisal and Financial Modellng
- Portfolios and Asset Allocation
A Cass lecturer who also runs his own consultancy advising major investors in listed real estate companies. Alex has worked for Maquarie and BZW, and is currently chair of the European Public Real Estate Association. He has authored a long string of industry publications, and articles in academic journals on the role of listed real estate in investment strategies.
Alex teaches on the Indirect Vehicles and Portfolio module.
Dr Mark Andrew
Mark is Senior Lecturer in Real Estate Finance. At Cass since 2007, Mark has over 15 years teaching experience. He is a highly skilled quantitative analyst who has published over 20 papers and a number of government commissioned reports on his research speciality in residential markets.
Dr Mark Andrew teaches on the following modules:
- Applied Financial Analysis
- Economics and Market Analysis
Dr Paul Kennedy
Paul has over 25 years’ experience as a researcher and strategist focused on global real estate, private equity and infrastructure. He has held senior investment roles at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Invesco Real Estate, Parkes & Company and Henderson Global Investors. He has taught at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Reading University and Said Business School, Oxford. Paul holds a BSc in Real Estate and a PhD in Environmental Economics / Real Estate Valuation. He is also a professional member of the RICS (MRICS).
Paul teaches on the Applied Appraisal module.
How to apply
We only accept online applications.
Documents required for decision-making
- Transcript/interim transcript
- Current module list if still studying
- Personal statement - this should be 500-600 words in length and answer the following:
- Why have you selected this course? What are your motivating factors?
- What are your areas of interest within the course?
- What contributions do you feel you can make to the course?
- How do you see the course affecting your career plans?
Documents which may follow at a later date
- English language test result if applicable
- GMAT result if applicable
- Confirmation of professional qualification examinations/exemptions/passes, if applicable
- Two references
- For a successful application to receive an unconditional status all documents must be verified, so an original or certified copy of the degree transcript must be uploaded to the application form or e-mailed to the relevant Admissions Officer upon request
We cannot comment on individual eligibility before you apply and we can only process your application once it is fully complete, with all requested information received.
Unfortunately, as a result of the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we can only offer online appointments to discuss your application. To book one, please get in touch with the relevant Admission Officer
Please note; these are subject to availability.
Ask a student
Chat to one of our current master's students now about applying for a MSc at Cass.
Terms and conditions
Students applying to study at Cass Business School are subject to City, University of London's terms and conditions.
- A UK upper second class degree or above, or the equivalent from an overseas institution.
- Applicants for MSc Real Estate Investment will be required to have a broader background in quantitative techniques and finance
- Work experience is not a requirement for this course
- Highly recommended, especially for students without a quantitative background
- A well-balanced score in the range of 600-800 will significantly strengthen your application”
English language requirements
- If you have been studying in the UK for the last three years it is unlikely that you will have to take the test
- If you have studied a 2+2 degree with just two years in the UK you will be required to provide IELTS results and possibly to resit the tests to meet our requirements.
The required IELTS level is an average of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in the writing section and no less than 6.0 in any other section.
Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).
Deposit: £2,000 (usually paid within 1 month of receiving offer and non-refundable unless conditions of offer are not met)
First installment: Half fees less deposit (payable during on-line registration which should be completed at least 5 days before the in-person ID–checks)
Second installment: Half fees (paid in January following start of course)
Graduates from the MSc Real Estate Investment go into a wide spread of firms and roles – some into the graduate entry schemes of the chartered surveyors in the UK or abroad. Most are best suited to analyst, strategy or research positions major fund management houses and investment banks, or smaller private-equity type real estate funds, rating agencies and specialist research firms. Many will go on to professional qualifications outside real estate, such as Chartered Financial Analyst Institute.
Class of 2019 profile
Recent graduates from the MSc in Real Estate Investment degree have seured positions with companies including:
- Investment Analyst - Capital Markets - Savills
- Analyst - Investment Banking - Eastdil Secured
- Commercial Real Estate Analyst - WholesaleBanking - Wells Fargo
- Real Estate Analyst - Acquisitions - Kennedy Wilson
- Analyst - Consulting Division - Cushman & Wakefield
- Development Analyst - Acquisitions - Acorn Property Group
Connecting with employers
- From week one, we host recruitment visits from all the largest real estate employers – like CBRE, JLL, Cushman Wakefield, Savills – plus other firms in real estate fund management, development, finance.
- Our real estate specialists in the Cass Careers Service hold contacts with businesses across the industry, and will notify you of job opportunities as they come in through the year.
- You will have un-matched opportunities to network with professionals and employers across London’s vibrant real estate industry at seminars and an annual conference run by our students’ Real Estate Club, and through our mentoring scheme which matches you up with a Cass graduate, and through industry events outside Cass.
Where they are working now
- UK: 62%
- EU/ EEA: 19%
- Asia: 19%
Data provided from alumni who completed the annual destination data survey 2018/19
Hear from our alumni. Discover the real experiences of learning at Cass and how Cass helped to boost our graduates' careers.Read all stories
Course information and statistics
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredits the course, enabling graduates to enter the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
The Investment Property Forum in the UK recognises the programme as a gateway to the real estate investment sector and as a clear entry route for membership of the Forum for all candidates aged over 30 with five years appropriate experience.