Real Estate Management and Development MSc/Diploma

  • Delivery: Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September, January (DL only)


The real estate market encompasses a diverse range of residential, commercial and industrial land and property. Real estate professionals advise on a broad range of areas needed by occupiers, developers and investors. This programme provides the foundation knowledge and skills needed by future property professionals.

The programme is designed to provide students with the essential learning components of economics, valuation, construction, investment, law, planning, management and development. It will build understanding of the complex interactions and dynamics of the property market, including a sound knowledge of valuation and appraisal techniques.

Our students

Students tend to come from the real estate industry, or look to study this programme to pursue a career as a general practice chartered surveyor with a focus on commercial or residential property valuation, development, management or investment. Students will gain an appreciation of the processes taking place within property transactions, development projects and investment funding.

Career Opportunities

With strong professional links and a focus on up-to-date industry-relevant content, our Real Estate programmes equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to quickly and effectively contribute to the success of their working environment.

Graduates of this programme are highly sought after in the real estate industry, and some of our graduates have gone on to work within companies such as Standard Life and Scottish Widows, and for major consultancies Jones Lang LaSalleCBRE and Cushman & Wakefield.

We also have a proven track record in research, and a number of our graduates continue in research to complete PhD study.

Professional Recognition

The MSc programme has professional accreditation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Heriot-Watt University is a leading centre for the education of commercial and residential property professionals in the UK.

Flexible study options

This programme can be studied full-time, part-time or via Independent Distance Learning (IDL), ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family. As an IDL student you will not be required to attend any lectures, tutorials or other events at any of Heriot-Watt University’s campuses.

Programme duration

Mode of studyDuration



Independent Distance Learning (IDL)

1 year

2 years

2-7 years*

*An IDL programme - whether at PgDip or MSc level - can be completed in a minimum of 2 years. On average, our PgDip programmes studied via IDL are completed in 2-3 years, while MSc programmes are completed in 2.5-7 years. Most students intend to complete their studies via IDL within 2-3 years.

Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE)

This programme is delivered by Heriot Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate. As a Real Estate and Planning postgraduate student you will be part of the Institute’s Graduate Schoolconnecting you with staff, research associates and fellow students engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as affordability, housing markets and private renting; commercial property markets; urban economics; diversity and minority ethnic communities; homelessness and social exclusion; housing policy, management and governance and more.

Teaching and research excellence

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society has a strong record in built environment research. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2014), more than 70% of our overall rating was classed ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’.

Programme content

For the MSc, students undertake eight taught courses and submit a Masters dissertation. Students on the PgDip programme take eight taught courses. Each taught course represents 150 hours of student effort and the dissertation represents 600 hours.

Semester 1Semester 2
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Appraisal and Evaluation 1
  • Construction Technology
  • Spatial Planning (Edinburgh)
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis
  • Real Estate Management and Sustainability
  • Real Estate Development
  • Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation 2

Course descriptions

Please find below the course descriptions. For more information on courses, please contact the Programme Leader.

    Real Estate Economics

    Semester 1(mandatory)

    This course aims to introduce students to an economic analysis of real estate markets. The course will help students to understand land and property markets from an economic perspective; to examine land and property as a set of linked markets and to consider regulatory constraints on real estate in economic terms including planning. The syllabus includes:

    Introduction to key topics in economics – microeconomic demand and supply analysis, Elasticities, the macroeconomy; the economics of property market analysis: use, investment and development. The institutional context. Local, regional, national and global perspectives. Real estate cycles by sector. Property versus other asset classes; Analysis of property sectors (housing, offices, retail, industrial). Spatial economic analysis; Economic basis of planning, planning in a market economy. Economic analysis of planning policy, interaction of real estate and the macroeconomy.

    Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation 1

    Semester 1(mandatory)

    This course aims to establish the economic context for the creation of value, introduce the principles for the assessment of value in property markets, develop a clear understanding of the valuation process and appropriately apply the principal valuation methods (conventional and contemporary) to a range of property types and interests. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

    Economic context of the property market; The property professions: their role, ethical conduct and regulatory framework; Definitions of price, value and investment value (worth); Introduction to the principal techniques of property valuation; Valuation and appraisal mathematics: Present and Future Value, DCF, NPV and IRR; The valuation process; Analysis of market evidence and measurement practice.

    Construction Technology

    Semester 1(mandatory)

    The overall aim of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the different elements that make-up a building so that they can communicate effectively with construction professionals in the design and construction of buildings. Subjects include:

    Structural Requirements for Buildings; Substructure Design – Foundations; Substructure Design – Basements; Structural frames and suspended floors; Superstructure - External walls and cladding Superstructure – Roofs; Services in Buildings; Offsite construction; Low carbon construction.

    Spatial Planning

    Semester 1(mandatory)

    This course aims to help students to develop a critical understanding of: spatial planning agendas; sectoral and spatial policy frameworks at national, strategic and local levels; legal and ethical frameworks; implementation mechanisms; development management issues; relationships between land and property and planning, including development rights and property rights. The syllabus includes the following subjects:

    Reasons for planning; Development Planning; Urbanisation and Urban development; Development and property rights; Development Management; Environmental Assessment; Conservation and Globalisation and urban transitions.

    Real Estate Investment Analysis

    Semester 2(mandatory)

    This course aims to enable learners to develop an in-depth understanding of property as an investment medium and the application of investment and finance theories to both the general investment markets and the property market. The syllabus consists of the following topics:

    Investment theory and the investment decision; the nature of risk and return; the characteristics of property as an investment; the role of property in the multi-asset portfolio; the application of modern portfolio theory; introduction to international real estate portfolio analysis performance monitoring; the emergence of new financial products in the property sector, and market efficiency and the cause of mis-pricing, real estate derivatives.

    Real Estate Management and Sustainability

    Semester 2(mandatory)

    This course aims to give students an understanding of: the legal framework for property management and ownership; the roles and functions of the property asset manager; the financial, legal and technical skills within the management domain; concepts and tools for sustainability management within real estate. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

    Law of contract, delict, land ownership; Strategy Management introduction and the role of management within surveying; Financial management/Sinking funds/service charges; Lease management; Marketing and negotiation; Physical property management; Concepts of obsolescence; Buy/lease/outsource decision-making and financial analysis; Real Estate management models; Scenario planning; International comparison of real estate strategies; Sustainable development, buildings and corporate social responsibility.

    Real Estate Development

    Semester 2(mandatory)

    This course aims to achieve an understanding of the structure and functioning of the contemporary real estate market and of the factors influencing the development decision. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

    The real estate market and the property development industry; The factors influencing the development decision; The techniques of development appraisal including cashflow techniques and risk analysis; The nature of planning agreements and their impact on development appraisal; The general form and content of real estate development and investment finance; The form and content of real estate partnerships including appraisal and financing aspects.

    Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation 2

    Semester 2(mandatory)

    This course aims to develop a critical evaluation of valuation and appraisal methods and provide an opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of advanced methods of valuation and appraisal for land and property markets. The course is intended to discuss and explore the following issues:

    Investment appraisal: An examination of current issues in investment appraisal; Spreadsheets; Mass appraisal: application of statistical techniques for property appraisal; Business appraisal; Professional valuation and appraisal software.

    Your career

    • Video 1

    Graduate profiles

    Agustín Querol Bajo

    • Degree Real Estate Management and Development
    • Present jobSenior Valuations Consultant, Catella Property
    Agustín Querol Bajo

    Agustín embarked on the MSc Real Estate Management and Development programme in 2013, graduating in November 2014. He commenced accruing core experience for the RICS Valuation pathway working for Knight Frank in Madrid whilst drawing up his MSc Dissertation. He subsequently switched to Catella Property where he currently holds a senior role in Valuation Consultancy.  

    Can you tell us about where you work and describe your role?

    My day-to-day basis consists of a wide array of tasks and responsibilities, framed within a demanding environment and tight deadlines. These include performing quantitative analysis by carrying out cash-flow projections, carrying out valuation implementation by the usage of sensitivity analysis assessment tools and preparing full report valuation tailored to several purposes, such as loan security, acquisition or own company's financial statements.

    "In my opinion, Heriot-Watt has one of the most up-to-date understandings of the property markets, both internationally and within the UK." 

    Why did you choose Heriot-Watt and the programme that you studied? 

    Statistical ranking, modules offered and location were the main factors considered when I chose my university. My expectations were thoroughly exceeded when I attended Heriot-Watt’s Open Day. The campus lies in the greenbelt area of Edinburgh City, its peaceful environment, state-of-the-art amenities including sports facilities, all set out a provision of services which appealed to me.

    Though, in fairness, the main reason I decided to come to Heriot-Watt was because of the successful graduate employability prospects. In my opinion, Heriot-Watt has one of the most up-to-date understandings of the property markets, both internationally and within the UK.

    "The MSc in Real Estate Management and Development has brought about for me the unmissable opportunity to step up within the Real Estate market."

    How has your degree helped you in your profession?  

    The MSc in Real Estate Management and Development has brought about for me the unmissable opportunity to step up within the Real Estate market. As this profession continuously demands high technical abilities, the entrepreneurial skills gathered throughout the degree have become a leg-up for my career development. 

    Entry requirements

    For MSc level entry applicants must have:

    • Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.

    For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:

    • Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
    • Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation. 
    • Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview.  Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted. 

    There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.

    Non-graduating study at masters level:

    • Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution. 

    Distance Learning January entry

    Distance learning students can choose to start their studies in January or September. The January intake is not available to students studying on-campus.

    English language requirements

    If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. 

    Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required. 

    We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

    • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
    • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
    • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

    Distance learning students

    Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees for 2016 entry (by residency status)
    Status*Full-timePart-timeDistance Learning**
    Scotland / Non-UK EU£5100£1162 / £830***
    England/Northern Ireland/Wales£5100£1162 / £830***
    Overseas£13800£1162 / £830***

    * If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

    ** Fee per course

    Additional fee information

    *** £1162 per course, £830 per research project, £1660 per dissertation, (£2260 per Premium Course where offered). This programme consists of 8 courses.

    For Independent Distance Learning fees, please check the IDL Tuition and Exam Fees document.

    Scholarships & bursaries

    We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

    View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships and postgraduate research scholarships.