Interdisciplinary Programs

Real Estate Design and Development Certificate

Students completing the required courses will receive a Certificate in Real Estate Design & Development in addition to their degree. The program includes courses in the School of Design and in the Wharton School. Submatriculating students and students enrolled in a dual-degree program will require extra time to complete the certificate, since courses that are counted for two degrees, cannot also be credited towards a certificate.

Deadline for admission is November 1.

Applications for the certificate program are available in the Admissions office for students already enrolled in PennDesign. There are a limited number of places and students are admitted on the basis of educational accomplishments and relevant work experience. Ten students are accepted each year and are guaranteed places in most classes. Additional students may be accepted to the certificate as long as they can complete the required courses (see link below).

For additional information, please visit the Design Students Real Estate Club.

Letter from the Program Director

If you've come to study at the School of Design at Penn, it's because you want to have a positive and lasting effect on the built environment.

Much of this environment, urban and suburban, is the result of commercial forces. Real estate development affects a wide range of projects, including planned communities, multi-use urban complexes, and the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Whether you plan to be an architect, planner, or a preservationist, you will be a more effective player if you have a thorough understanding of the legal and financial issues in the development process. You will also be able to offer your clients a more comprehensive range of services. Some of you may even choose to pursue careers in the real estate industry. In 1998 the School of Design, in cooperation with the real estate department of the Wharton School, established a specialized course of study in real estate development leading to a Certificate in Real Estate Design & Development. In five years we have had fifteen graduates and we currently have twenty students in the program.

John Landis
Program Director 

Requirements and Courses

Students can take any 5 courses from the following list; with at least one course each from Architecture, City Planning, and Wharton.

ARCH 762 Design & Development
ARCH 765 Project Management
CPLN 540 Property Development
CPLN 641 Progressive Development*
REAL 721 Real Estate Investments, Analysis, & Finance*
REAL 804 Real Estate Law 
REAL 821/ARCH 768 Real Estate Development*

CPLN 540 or REAL 821 is a prerequisite for CPLN 641
FNCE 611 is a prerequisite for REAL 721
REAL 721 is a prerequisite for REAL 821

For students in the MCP program with a PPD concentration, in addition to the four courses taken to meet the PPD Concentration requirements, take any three additional courses from the above list. Courses may not double-count for the PPD concentration and REDD Certificate.

All substitutions to required courses must be approved in writing by the director of the certificate program and submitted to the PennDesign Office of Records and Registration (110 Meyerson Hall).

Director: John Landis

Student FAQs

1. Why do I have to apply to the CREDD program?
There are a limited number of slots in the program (currently 10), in order to assure that courses will not be oversubscribed. Applicants are judged on a personal statement, previous work experience, and previous courses taken.

2. If I am accepted into the 1-year post-professional Master of Architecture program, can I apply to the CREDD?
Since students are accepted into the program for the following year, one-yr students must complete the required courses on their own. Normally, it will take least an extra semester to complete the five courses in addition to the degree requirements.

3. If I have an open elective, can I take a course before I am accepted into the CREDD program?
Yes. Any courses taken successfully will be credited retroactively.

4. As a CREDD student, do I have any priority in registering?
Yes. There are 5 reserved places each semester for CREDD students in REAL 721 and REAL 804, and 10 places in ARCH 768. You must submit your name to the program director before the beginning of the semester; you will be notified that you are on the reserved list. Registration is automatic and will occur after the auction period, about two weeks into the semester.

5. How do I preregister in a Wharton course?
It is not possible to pre-register for an MBA course (the computer will simply indicate that the class is "full"). Students formally accepted into the CREDD program have reserved places in REAL 721, REAL 804 and REAL 821, but only in the final year of their studies. If you have a reserved place in a course, you will be contacted by the real estate department and given instructions regarding registration. If you do not have a reserved spot you must attend the first class and wait until the MBA auction period is over (1 week), to see if there are places available. Some instructors keep a wait list. It is a good idea to talk to the instructor. Please do not contact the real estate department, or try to pre-register in MBA courses.

We only accept 10 students into the CREDD program each year since the number of reserved places is limited. If you have not been formally accepted you may still receive a CREDD if you complete the five required course units. It will be your responsibility to get into the classes (see above). Typically, about 10 students complete the CREDD in this manner.

6. Is it possible to complete the CREDD at the same time as my degree?
Yes, but you will have to plan your curriculum carefully, especially if you are in a two-year degree program. Not all courses are given in all semesters, and there are also prerequisites to consider. There may be scheduling conflicts (especially with design studios). Take note of possible substitute courses. We will work with you to try to resolve issues that arise.

7. Is there any particular order in which I should take the CREDD courses?
Below are sample schedules for:
2-year programs (City Planning or Historic Preservation)
Yr 1 Fall: CPLN 623
Yr 1 Spring: CPLN 680 or CPLN 680 + ARCH 762 or ARCH 762 + REAL 721
Yr 2 Fall: REAL 804
Yr 2 Spring: REAL 821* or REAL 821* + ARCH 762

3-year program (Architecture)
Yr 2 Fall: CPLN 623
Yr 2 Spring: CPLN 680
Yr 3 Fall: REAL 804 + ARCH 765 or REAL 804 + ARCH 724
Yr 3 Spring: REAL 821*

    *REAL 821 is cross-listed as ARCH 768

    8. What's the best way to benefit from real estate activities at Penn?
    Join the School of Design Real Estate Club. See the link at the bottom of the introductory section above.