Schools adjust to market, too

A roundup of the graduate schools, programs, deadlines and more

Real estate is changing, and so are the schools that teach it.

Consider the New York Real Estate Institute, a continuing-education program, where some of the most popular classes address short sales, foreclosures, mortgage loan qualifications and credit repair.

Eric Barron, managing director of the program, said some of those sought-after classes are now being given more frequently — once a month, rather than every two months as they were in earlier years — in response to student demand.

The Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia University’s Business School recently developed case study courses in the MBA program that highlight distressed investing, workouts and restructuring.

And courses on distressed assets are among the most popular this term at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, said Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the real estate development program at the school. He said courses also address “the extent that real estate was involved in the collapse, and what we can do moving forward.”

For some graduate-level and continuing-education schools, adjusting to the altered market means terminating programs that are no longer relevant to the economic times or that are simply not drawing in enough students.

For example, a three-year-old real estate program at Pace University’s School of Law —offering a “master of laws” degree — is being phased out because not enough students signed on. Even an offer of a 20 percent tuition discount to any 2010 graduates of Pace’s law school who joined the program — as advertised on the school’s website — could not save it. “It was a tough time to launch a program,” said Mark Shulman, assistant dean for graduate programs and international affairs.

In its place, the school has rolled out a new degree in land use and sustainable development. With eight students in its inaugural year, Shulman has high hopes for the program, he said.

And while graduate schools are certainly a popular option during a recession, budgets cuts are scaling back course offerings in places.

At CUNY Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business, which offers an MBA, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. program in real estate, course offerings have decreased to 47 from 53 last year, though enrollment has remained “quite stable,” said Ko Wang, chairman of the real estate department.

Curriculum aside, students are now entering these programs with different expectations.

“Now that the market has plummeted and people realize it’s cyclical, we are attracting students who are truly dedicated to real estate law and aren’t just jumping in now because it’s the hot area,” said Marshall Tracht, founder of the master’s in real estate program at New York Law School. But he acknowledged that it’s difficult to generate interest since people don’t necessarily see immediate opportunities.

The Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture nearly doubled enrollment in its master’s degree in facilities management to 20 students this year, according to Philip Ramus, the assistant chairman. The M.S. is a business-oriented degree, Ramus explained, enabling students to pursue careers in real estate development, as well as gain expertise in sustainability and preservation. Ramus said the program’s rapid growth may stem from word-of-mouth from students who are enrolled in the institute’s popular undergraduate major in construction management, as well as the diverse interest of students in today’s economy.

Cheryl Surana, the director of administration of the Milstein center, said that Columbia’s MBA program — which includes a growing group of close to 65 students who focus on real estate — has more people now who are returning to school for a second career.

“Part of the process is to stay current and continue to adapt,” she said. “We are always in the process of reevaluating what is taught.”

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Below is a roundup of what some graduate and continuing-education real estate schools are offering in New York today.

Columbia University
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Degrees offered: M.S. in Real Estate Development
Number of students: 103 (only full-time, in a 12-month, 45-credit program)
Cost: $63,000 ($21,000 per semester)
Deadline to apply: Jan. 15
Notable faculty: Vishaan Chakrabarti, Jonathan Mechanic, Joanne Douvas and Joshua Kahr
Additional notes: 34 out of the 103 students are international.

Columbia Business School, The Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

Degrees offered: MBA in real estate (degree concentration)
Number of students: 50 to 65
Cost: $53,208 per year for the two-year program
Deadline to apply: Notable faculty: Lynn Sagalyn, Christopher Mayer and Neng Wang
Additional notes: Founded in 2001, the Milstein Center now offers MBA students an expanded curriculum with electives in finance and banking; investment management and private equity; development; and client relations and placement.

CUNY Baruch College,
Zicklin School of Business

Degrees and concentrations offered: MBA in real estate, M.S. in real estate, and Ph.D. in real estate
Number of students: 100 (about 55 in MBA program, about 40 in M.S. program, and 4 in Ph.D. program)
Cost of MBA program for full-time students (12 or more credits): $5,405 per term for New York State residents, or $490 per credit for part-time NYS residents; $735 per credit for non-NYS residents
Cost of 30-credit M.S. program for full-time students: $3,680 per term for NYS residents, $575 per credit for non-NYS residents
Cost of 30-credit M.S. program for part-time students: $310 per credit for NYS residents, $575 per credit for non-NYS residents
Deadline to apply: Full-time MBA (fall entry only), April 30. Part-time and full-time M.S. and part-time MBA, May 31 for fall and Oct. 31 for spring
Notable faculty: Ko Wang, Su Chan, John Goering and Jay Weiser
Additional notes: The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College also offers certificates in real estate, sustainability, construction management and facilities management, as well as continuing-education courses and real estate licensing.

New York Law School

Degrees offered: Master of Laws (LLM) in real estate law, with concentrations in transactional practice; public policy and regulation; and real estate development
Number of students: 12
Cost: $40,500 — or $1,500 per credit for the 27-credit program (part-time or full-time)
Deadline to apply: Dec. 1 for spring 2011; April 29, 2011, for summer 2011; and June 30, 2011, for fall 2011
Notable faculty: Marshall Tracht, Richard H. Chused, Gerald Korngold and Elise Boddie
Additional notes: NYLS also has a Center for Real Estate Studies and will soon be the only New York school offering an LLM program in real estate, after Pace’s program is phased out by year’s end.

NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Schack Institute of Real Estate

Degrees offered: M.S. in real estate, with concentrations in digital design application for real estate, finance and investment, and strategic real estate management; and M.S. in real estate development, with concentrations in business of development, sustainable development, and global real estate; and M.S. in construction management
Number of students: 700 (full-time and part-time)
Cost: $4,888 for three credits; $9,427 for 6 credits; $15,499 for 10 to 12 credits, in a 42-credit program
Deadline to apply: Rolling admissions. For spring 2011, the school recommends submitting applications by Oct. 15, but it accepts them on a space-available basis until Dec. 15. Those who submit applications after Feb. 1 will hear back on a space-available, rolling basis through Aug. 1.
Notable faculty: James Stuckey, Emily Youssouf and Constantine Kontokosta
Additional notes: Schack also offers graduate certificates in real estate and construction management, professional certificates, and continuing-education courses.

Pace Law School

Degrees offered: LLM in real estate; dual LLM in environmental law and real estate law; dual LLM in real estate law and comparative legal studies; and LLM in land use and sustainable development
Number of students: Nine for LLM in real estate, and eight for LLM in land use
Cost: 24-credit program, $18,751 per semester for full-time students, $1,651 per credit for part-time students
Deadline to apply: There is no official application deadline for Pace Law’s graduate program, but all decisions are made by May 1. Applications received after June 1 are not guaranteed consideration and are reviewed depending on space.
Notable faculty: Shelby Green, John Nolon, Mark Shulman and Chauncey Walker
Additional notes: Pace has a new LLM in land use and sustainable development.

Pratt Institute School of Architecture

Degrees offered: M.S. in facilities management
Number of students: 20
Cost: 50-credit, full-time program, $15,156 for 12 credits, $22,734 for 18 credits, and $30,312 for 24 credits
Deadline to apply: Jan. 5 for summer and fall
Notable faculty: Matthias Ebinger, Stephen Lograsso and Martin McManus
Additional notes: The degree is part of the Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development in the School of Architecture and is accredited by the International Facility Management Association. Elective courses are available in architecture, construction management and interior design.