Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment
We are passionate about sharing with our students the vital role they each have now and as future professionals in promoting a sustainable future for all. We believe that sustainability is not the domain of one discipline or profession. It is the responsibility of all disciplines, professions, organisations and individuals.
That is why on each of our courses within the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment you will learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the contribution you can make now, and as a graduate in the Built Environment.
Read the course details below to find out more.
Considering a career in the global real estate sector? Be inspired, come and study Real Estate at Ulster.
Are you interested in the sourcing, financial analysis, execution of property acquisitions and developments? What are the strategies and decision-making processes for real estate investment, finance and development? How can you successfully manage a real estate portfolio? How do you underwrite and undertake the due diligence of various investment and development opportunities?
The MSc Real Estate is designed for those graduates with a non-property related degree who wish to cross over to the real estate discipline.The programme is for anyone with an interest in the workings of real estate markets and property businesses. Core areas include development and investment appraisal, sustainability, asset management, valuation, international real estate and market analysis.
The unique qualities which this programme will offer include integrating concepts in finance, investment and valuation with an understanding of the dynamics of property and capital markets. It will provide students with the capacity, skills and knowledge to provide analytical solutions within the property business environment.
The multidisciplinary nature of the programme will use expertise from professional practice to develop thematic approaches to asset pricing, valuation, risk analysis, finance and investment management. Particular emphasis will focus on real estate performance, real estate markets and the impacts of changes in the economy on yields, rental values, development activity and real estate investment returns of multi-asset portfolios.
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Ulster is one of most established UK educators of the real estate discipline, with over 40 years’ experience in developing successful property graduates. Recognised nationally for outstanding teaching, research, engagement with employers and student satisfaction, we will prepare you for a successful career in real estate.
The overarching aim of the MSc in Real Estate is to facilitate the personal and intellectual development of students and to produce graduates with the knowledge and skills appropriate to the development, investment and management of the diverse components within the property discipline commensurate with the requirements of the associated professional bodies; the public and private sectors; and commercial and industrial interests. The programme is designed to provide opportunities for student choice.
The rationale of the Masters Programme in Real Estate is to provide an intensive postgraduate educational opportunity for ambitious and motivated graduates who wants to develop their career in Real Estate. The subject matter is presented with an international perspective to reflect the increasingly strong role of property in today’s global business economy and to be of relevance to a career incorporating multinational organisations operating particularly in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.
The programme will provide for the integration of theory and practice in real estate valuation, investment, management and development appraisal methodologies, including the key areas of real estate asset pricing and risk analysis, relevant to the commercial real estate industry, banks and institutional investors.
Graduates from the MSc in Real Estate programme will be able to demonstrate various subject related qualities including; knowledge and understanding of the various best practices and accepted procedures of the property industry; Skill to practice the appropriate methods and practical techniques commonly used by a property surveyor. In the current financial environment real estate professionals are facing complex situations and making difficult decisions. Graduates will be, therefore, expected to have developed intellectual qualities, including high level cognitive skills, enabling them to analyse, synthesise and objectively evaluate complex issues, construct and defend a balanced argument and creatively identify problems and possible solutions in a real estate context.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) as the professional body plays a very significant role in advising and accrediting property related programmes within the School. This MSc in Real Estate is accredited by the RICS for both full-time and part-time modes of delivery.
This course is designed to prepare graduates for future employment in a number of the RICS APC Pathways, which include:
Professional Practice and Ethics
This module is designed to expose real estate students to the professional work environment and professionalism needed in the real estate industry. The focus is on developing the practical skills to enhance employability and recognising the wider professional body ethical requirements and how these influence day-to-day activities. The module has three distinct areas notably:
1. Professional conduct and practice - to identify the vocational skills expected by industry and professional bodies including legislation, regulations, standards and ethical issues
2. Property surveys and area measurement - to undertake measured surveys and area calculations of commercial and residential properties
3. Identification, diagnosis and prognosis of building defects - to understand the impact of building condition on management/sale decisions
Real Estate Economics
This module is designed to enable students to navigate their way through the available data sources with a view to analysing property market dynamics and the interface between development, planning and tax and finance in delivering property provision. The students will be challenged by issues faced by property market professionals such as the global financial crisis, the change in financing property and how these pertinent issues transcend into property market dynamics. This will furnish students with the necessary tools to enable them to formulate a response and debate the complexities of the issues.
Real Estate Valuation
The module delivers an intensive introduction to the theory, concepts and practice of real estate valuation. The principal components of valuation are explored including underpinning economic principles of value, valuation mathematics, main valuation methods, traditional and contemporary methods, investment appraisal techniques including discounted cashflow analysis and application of methods to real life complex valuation problems. The module employs a practice-based learning approach to facilitate student appreciation of the issues surrounding the valuation or real property interests and the institutional framework within which valuations and appraisals are conducted.
Development Appraisal and Regeneration
This module brings together the core elements involved in the regeneration process including planning, development, financing and management of commercial/residential developments. In particular, the module focuses upon mixed use developments, including the range of contextual forces which give rise to development of certain types in specific locations and to meet policy objectives concerning the sustainability of urban communities.
Real Estate Investment Analysis
This module places real estate within the wider context of the general investment market. It considers property from the point of view as a single asset or held within a portfolio of assets. The module integrates aspects of investment analysis in terms of property risk and returns,and applies contemporary valuation techniques to determine market value and investment worth.
Real Estate Asset Management
This module is underpinned by theory and principles of land law, economics and valuation introduced in the first semester modules, notably The Real Estate Environment, developing and integrating the various elements in the context of the management of operational and investment assets, to complement the content of the valuation, investment, development and market analysis modules.
It draws on knowledge, concepts and skills introduced and developed earlier from throughout the course, bringing them together within the context of strategic real estate asset management practice.
International Real Estate Markets
The rational for the module is to provide students with a practice-based understanding of the international context of real estate markets. The module examines international property, with particular attention given to international property investment including the factors influencing property market dynamics. The development of international property investment is assessed by considering the structure of mature, developing and emerging property markets. The performance of both direct and indirect international property is also examined to assess the strategic contribution of international property in an investment portfolio.
Sustainable Real Estate
This module is designed to provide the student with an understanding of sustainable real estate principles and current sustainability practice. It will prepare students for industry by exposing them to best practice and ensuring that they can embed sustainability principles into their real estate decision-making processes.
Real Estate Work Based Project
The real estate work based project provides the opportunity for students to build and apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught element of the programme to a practical or theoretical issue relevant to the real estate industry. It provides the opportunity for the students to link theory and practice and further develop their intellectual capacity in a professional environment.
The dissertation provides the opportunity for students to build and apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught element of the programme to a research problem relevant to the real estate industry. It provides the opportunity for the students to link theory and practice and further develop their evaluative and analytical skills within a research environment.
Attendance with on-line support/blended learning.
Full Time attendance: 3-4 days per week.
This is a 12-month commitment (four modules or 60 credits in Semesters 1 and 2 , and one module in Semester 3, total credit points equates 180 for the full masters).
In the full time mode, students take four 15-credit modules per semester and each module equates to a student effort of 150 hours, made up of direct contact hours (i.e. that delivered in the classroom) and the remainder as independent study time which would involve reading books, journals and researching for coursework etc. Students also undertake a 60-credit dissertation in semester 3, which has limited direct teaching but has a staff supervisory process to support you.
On average the contact time per week for each module will be 4-5 hours (with a mix of lectures and tutorials). This varies in some modules but will never be more than 5 hours per week per module. Usually these contact hours are spread across a minimum of 3-4 days in the full time mode across 12 weeks per semester. Where possible, there is some timetable provision for evening classes to accommodate part-time students work commitment. However, this is reviewed on an annual basis subject to staff and room resources.
The Real Estate programme is delivered via a variety of lectures, seminars, computer tutorials, educational videos, practical exercises and study visits. Staff are encouraged to vary their teaching styles and facilitate small group teaching or break-out seminars as much as possible. Class sizes are kept small to ensure that students benefit from one-to-one support and tutorage. Modules are assessed through a mix/combination of coursework, examinations or practical exercises depending on the skills being assessed.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the planning and property development process in context of sustainable urban regeneration, a contemporary and priority agenda in cities. The module provides the students with knowledge of key issues related to mixed use developments and the deliverability of sustainability principles within an urban regeneration context. This module addresses the policy objectives related to sustainable communities and low carbon growth in cities.
This module considers the financial characteristics of investment and examines real estate from the point of view as a single asset or held within a portfolio of assets. It identifies the processes, procedures and regulatory framework necessary to value commercial real estate investments and cash flow appraisals.
This module aims to foster a deep understanding of the fundamental challenges and opportunities presented by investment and occupational property assets. It adopts an approach of proactive asset management and seeks to equip the students with skills to add value to real estate assets and to prepare the student for employment in management of the principal events in the life cycle of property assets.
The module on International Real Estate Markets will provide students with the necessary knowledge of market dynamics in developed and emerging investment markets. The module will enable students to develop a sound knowledge of workings of the global market in terms of the participants in the market, the type of asset in which they invest, and the rationale behind their investment strategy.
The professional body (RICS) places a considerable emphasis on the need for professionalism, professional conduct and legal awareness to be demonstrated by all members. This module provides the student with the knowledge and skills to enable them to self-appraise and become critically self-aware in developing their career path to become a professional real estate practitioner. Furthermore, this module develops the practical measurement skills of real estate students to ensure they can conduct, record and digitally represent floorplans. The module also provides students with practical insights into building pathology and defect detection as well as the wider regulatory framework within which a real estate practitioner resides.
This module introduces students to a range of property market data in relation to contemporaneous issues facing property professionals. Students are exposed to the key issues facing property development and provision and are challenged with developing real-life appraisals. The module provides students with the core concepts required to understand the wide spectrum of real estate. This will enable the student to think through the problem and to propose possible strategies to tackle the issues.
This module introduces students to the challenges of valuing property for investment and development purposes. It provides students with a comprehensive overview of key valuation theory, practice and techniques both traditional and contemporary. It focuses specifically on the critical understanding of the different valuation techniques and their applications to statutory and non statutory valuation instructions. The module will also develop student understanding of the dynamics of the market and the legal environment within which real estate valuations and appraisals are conducted.
This module introduces students to the challenges facing the real estate sector in responding to the sustainability agenda. It focuses specifically on developing critical appraisal skills to enable students to make informed decisions regarding assessing the sustainability of projects, buildings, investment decisions and operational/management activities.
This module is optional
The real estate work-based project module integrates and further develops the knowledge and skills acquired within the taught element of the programme. The module specifically allows the student to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to undertake a project relevant to the real estate sector and of interest to the student.
This module is optional
The research dissertation module integrates and further develops the knowledge and skills acquired within the taught element of the programme. The module specifically allows the students to apply knowledge and skills acquired to undertake a research dissertation investigating a topic relevant to the real estate industry and of interest to the student. The land and property topic will vary, depending on the interests of the student and expertise of staff, but students will be required to demonstrate their knowledge in the chosen subject area as well as critical analysis and investigative skills in both written and oral format.
This module is optional
The dissertation module integrates and further develops the knowledge and skills acquired within the taught element of the programme. The module specifically allows the students to apply knowledge and skills acquired to undertake a research dissertation investigating a topic relevant to the real estate industry and of interest to the student. The dissertation topic will vary, depending on the interests of the student and expertise of staff.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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(a) Applicants must have gained an Honours or non-Honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or
(b) an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or an approved professional or other qualification; and
(c) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
As an alternative to (a) or (b) and/or (c) in exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route.
Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
This is a linked Postgraduate Certificate/Postgraduate Diploma/Master’s programme. Students will register on the Postgraduate Certificate. Successful students will be permitted automatic progression through each stage of the programme to Master’s level. Alternatively, students who have successfully completed the Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma stages may exit the programme with the appropriate award.
Prior certificated or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a Master’s award and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of the Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate award.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
With regard to transferring to and from the course and claiming exemption for completed modules, the University has developed a formal procedure, which allows recognition through the award of credit for previous modules that have been successfully completed. Therefore, modules passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final 50% of the credit value of the award at the highest level.
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Real estate professionals have a key role to play in advising multi-national companies, major financial institutions, property companies, banks, governments and other public sector organisations around the world. This may be transactional business advice on the purchase, sale, leasing and acquisition of commercial real estate or it may be professional advisory services including management of real estate portfolios to maximise the value of real estate as an asset class. Real estate players are able to creatively apply technical, legal and economic knowledge to deliver on a stakeholder’s property objectives and meet current business needs and future strategy.
Our MSc graduates enter a wide variety of employment including development and investment firms, banks and financial institutions, consultancy, agency, asset management, real estate research, education, housing management and the public sector.
Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for the purpose of graduate membership.
Our postgraduate fees are subject to annual increase and are currently under review. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.
There is a Knight Frank (Ireland) part sponsor scholarship available to a highly qualified candidate, accepted onto the MSc Real Estate programme on a full time basis. The scholarship will be awarded on a partial fee basis, whereby a portion of the fees will be paid by Knight Frank, (up to a max of £1,000). In addition to the scholarship there is potential for a three month summer internship with Knight Frank in Dublin.
Awards and Prizes
The top two students (and part time equivalent) qualify for the Real Estate Excellence Awards each year. These awards are sponsored by the real estate industry and are designed to provide recognition to the students for their hard work and commitment to their studies.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.
We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.
Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:
For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.
For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Name - Elizabeth O’Hara
Position - Chartered Surveyor, Cushman and Wakefield (formerly DTZ), Ireland
I had previously completed a degree in Economics and Geography at University College Dublin.
Why did you choose postgraduate study at Ulster?
Ulster, offered me coming from a non property related degree to cross over to the real estate discipline. Studying at Ulster would also allow me to explore the city of Belfast and meet new people.
How has your postgraduate course at Ulster enhanced your career?
The Real Estate MSc course at Ulster has enhanced my prospects greatly. I am due to take up employment with a highly regarded commercial property company in Dublin on completion of the course as a Graduate Surveyor. Ulster Real Estate, MSc being RICS accredited will allow me to fulfill my future goal of completing my APC and becoming a chartered surveyor.
What has been the best thing about your course?(e.g. quality of teaching, support received, flexible delivery, links with industry, networking opportunities)
The support given throughout the course was next to none. The ability and drive to keep the course current and the exposure to the key players/professionals from the industry from day one, highlights the reputation the course has throughout the property industry. When I go out into industry, I feel I will be well prepared from an academic and business perspective.
What skills and knowledge have you gained?
Core module helped me gain an understanding of the development and investment appraisal, sustainability, asset management, valuation, international real estate. Giving me an excellent grounding in the knowledge needed to embark on my career within the property industry.
How did you find balancing work, family and study?
Despite the MSc being highly work demanding, I was able to keep up my part time job. The lecturers were able to be somewhat flexible in regards to the delivery of modules allowing me to balance my work, family and study life.