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 20 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 with at least 10 years’ experience in teaching in senior roles in the 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 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 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 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.
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, plus a quantitative methods module incorporates econometric modelling. Those techniques are put in a wider context through a module on real estate economics 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. In Capital Markets you cover the different forms of indirect real estate – REITS, core and opportunistic funds, and derivatives. In Debt Markets you take in mortgage lending, mezzanine finance, mortgage-backed securities. In Term 2 you also look in more detail at the financial instruments based on real estate – REITs, Mortgage Backed Securities, derivatives. Portfolio risk management deals with the role of real estate in investment portfolios and the mix of assets within real estate portfolios.
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 2018
- Corporate Restructuring
- Global Real Estate Investment
- Ethics, Society and the Financial Sector
- Visual Basics in Finance
- Family Business
- Residential Investment
- Sustainability in Real Estate
- Hedge Funds
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Real Estate Fund Management (taught in Amsterdam)
- Project Finance and Infrastructure Investment (taught in Madrid, Spain)
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 2019/20
In-Person ID Checks (all students must attend): Commences 16 September 2019
Compulsory Induction: 16 - 27 September 2019
30 September 2019 - 13 December 2019
Term I exams
6 January 2020 - 17 January 2020
20 January 2020 - 3 April 2020
Term II exams
20 April 2020 - 1 May 2020
4 May 2020 - 3 July 2020
Term III exams
6 July 2020 - 17 July 2020
Students who are required to resit an examination or invigilated test will do so in the period:
10 - 28 August 2020
Submission deadline for Business Research Project or Applied Research Project
1 September 2020
Official Course End Date
30 September 2020
Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.
Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.
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 co-author of the standard textbook on real estate forecasting.
Professor Sotiris Tsolacos teaches on the Quantitative Methods module, and Modelling & Market Dynamics module.
Across all modules, our current teaching staff are all highly experienced senior academics or industry professionals who are recognised experts in their field.
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.
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:
- Real Estate Investment and Financial Analysis
- Portfolio Risk Management
Professor Tony Key
Head of Real Estate at Cass for the last thirteen years. Before that Tony had twenty years’ experience in real estate research as Partner as Property Market Analysis and Director at Investment Property Databank. His contribution to property research has been recognised by the awards of a Lifetime Fellowship of the Society of Property Researchers, and an Eminent Fellow of the RICS.
Professor Tony Key teaches on the following modules:
- Real Estate Economics
- Debt Markets
Dr. Alex Moss
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 Capital Markets module.
Dr Wu Yi
Dr Wu teaches financial analysis in real estate. She joined from Sun Yat-sen University where she was Assistant Professor of Finance. Previously, she was a visiting scholar at the University of San Diego and the National University of Singapore and worked for Yuexiu, a Hong Kong based real estate investment trust. Her research focuses on corporate finance and real estate investment. She has published in Real Estate Economics and Applied Economics. Yi was honoured with the Lincoln Young Scholar in 2017 and a Distinguished PhD in AREUEA in 2016.
How to apply
Documents required for decision-making
- Transcript/interim transcript
- Current module list if still studying
- Personal statement (500-600 words)
Documents which may follow at a later date
- IELTS result, if report available
- Confirmation of professional qualification examinations/exemptions/passes, if applicable
- Two references
- Work experience is not a requirement of this course
- 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 sent by post to Specialist Masters Programme Office, 106 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TZ, UK
Please note the GMAT is not required for this programme.
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.
If you would like to visit us to discuss your application please do arrange an individual appointment.
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
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 (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.
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,
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.