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Real Estate Development (MSc)

Course Description

The aim of the course is to provide you with a detailed understanding of the property development and appraisal process, encompassing the financial, physical, legal and social aspects. You will analyse development situations and respond to particular development problems with derived solutions. You will also be able to critically appraise options and independently evaluate alternative courses of action. The course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

As part of the Development Finance and Funding module, students undertake a study trip to New York.

Core modules

•Development Finance and Funding
This module gives you the opportunity to study and analyse the finance and funding of property development and investment transactions. You will explore the concepts and law surrounding the valuation and feasibility of developing land and buildings to an advanced level. This module includes a study trip to New York.

The work for this module involves the completion of a structured research programme resulting in a dissertation or major research project. You can opt for a traditional academic dissertation which identifies a hypothesis and research questions, involves some original research, draws conclusions and, if appropriate, makes recommendations. Alternatively you can complete a defined project involving the preparation of a strategy or action plan for an issue relevant to your studies, and include a 20,000-word reflection on, and evaluation of, the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and the constraints which are likely to impact on the proposals.

•Finance and Asset Management
The module aims to set corporate decision making in the context of the business environment, corporate goals and the practice of company finance, estate and portfolio management. You will gain a grounding in property as an asset class, and a practical and theoretical appreciation of the techniques and practices currently being used in the management and valuation of commercial property. In the financial element of this module, you will explore issues relating to accounting principles and financial management accounts, and the implications of tax. Equally important is an appreciation of ratio analysis and strategy.

•Law for Property Professionals
This module fosters reflection on where the law comes from and how it develops (including the influence of European Law), and encourages your understanding of the relationship between the legal process and social change. You will develop mastery of the key principles (and their operation in practice) of English Law relating to business, including contract, tort, real estate law and regulatory regimes which particularly affect the property industry. You will also gain a greater understanding of legal theory, including statute and judicial precedent; the role of Europe; tort, contract and business law; administrative law and regulatory regimes; real estate law; and landlord and tenant law.

•Project Implementation Process
This module, based on problem-solving scenarios, enables you to develop a strategic approach to the implementation of complex real estate development projects. It provides you with an analytical review of the roles, responsibilities and methods for decision making of a multidisciplinary team, from client's identification of need, through project feasibility, design and construction, to operation and maintenance of a built facility. You will examine the differing objectives of generic procurement types, the identification and critical analysis of planning and development issues, and the impact of legal and regulatory frameworks to environmental and occupational health conditions, contractual matters and dispute avoidance.

•Site Assembly and Development
In this module you will focus on the financial, physical, legal and social aspects necessary for successful real estate development projects to take place. The emphasis is on the needs of end users of developments, and those other key players in the development process. There will be an emphasis on commercial real estate development, but the module will also serve well those requiring an understanding of mixed use and residential development projects and processes. The legal focus will centre on the system in England and Wales although techniques and examples will be drawn from a range of jurisdictions.

•Space Strategies and Legislation
The aim of this module is to develop your cultural and analytical understanding of how buildings and the space configuration within them support the strategic objectives of the organisation. In this module you will address sustainability, corporate social responsibility and the underpinning legislation. You will also review the principles and application of the legislation affecting the workplace. You will explore the concepts of strategic business space usage, and gain a critical understanding of the use and management of space resources in the role of informed client. You will also develop your ability to analyse and adopt an informed tactical methodology toward solutions for space planning and utilisation, and be able to apply a range of decision-making tools for strategic space planning and management.

Option modules

Choose one from the following:
•Landlord and Tenant
This module covers the concepts and law surrounding commercial lease practice and rent reviews/lease negotiation, from both a landlord's and tenant's perspective. You will develop an understanding of, and familiarity with, the legal background to the landlord and tenant relationship, and its application in practice. This will include the study of statutory security of tenure, rent review, and other usual lease clauses including 'break' clauses, repair, user, alterations and alienation. You will also consider and discuss points of practical difficulty and complexity involved in negotiating lease terms and their subsequent implementation.

•Property Finance: Lending and Risk Strategies
In this module you will address the strategic role of lending in the property sector. The sector has become dependent upon lenders for the vast majority of cash inflows, and in the module you will look at the history of the involvement of lenders, the risk assessment and procedures involved in lending on property. The study of traditional banking will be supplemented with investment banking techniques.

•Valuation and Law
This module centres upon methods of valuation applicable to properties for rating, and compulsory purchase purposes together with leasehold enfranchisement and properties subject to the housing acts.

Associated careers

The RICS accreditation will enable you to take the Professional Assessment of Competence after a period of suitable employment. There are employment opportunities in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Some part-time students are employed by surveying firms to receive accredited training while working.

Visit the Real Estate Development (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should hold a degree (normally at least Second Class Honours) from a UK university or one of comparable standing, or membership of a recognised professional body whose entry requirements are equivalent to graduate level, and ideally some relevant practical experience. The course is well suited for those with a first degree in geography, economics, a traditional science, a property-related discipline or law.

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