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“The minor is coming online at an interesting time. Real estate careers are booming, and students know it.”

Justin Benefield, director of the MRED program and Bickerstaff Professor in business

Fourth-year architecture student Demi Kucherawy was planning on completing her bachelor’s degree before applying to Auburn’s Master of Real Estate Development program, but a studio field trip to a commercial real estate development sparked her interest in exploring possible career options, and her advisor told her to consider enrolling in the new RED minor instead of waiting for graduate school.

“I decided to pursue the minor first to gain as much knowledge about the industry as possible,” Kucherawy said. “So far, I can confidently say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Auburn’s Master of Real Estate Development is one of the leading programs for real estate experts and community developers in the nation, but now there is an option for students who don’t want to wait for grad school to explore a career in this growing field.

The interdisciplinary Real Estate Development (RED) minor is a collaboration between the Harbert College of Business and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC). Currently, the minor is only open to finance majors from Harbert and students enrolled in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA) and the McWhorter School of Building Science. Through the process of earning 15 credit hours, students learn about various aspects of real estate development, including the design and construction processes, real property analysis and real estate finance and investment.

What classes do Real Estate Development minors take?

Learn about the curriculum

The RED minor requires all students to complete a Principles of Real Estate course and a Real Estate Development seminar. Finance majors study principles of construction and design, while building science and APLA majors take a Foundations of Business Finance course. Students can take electives in any of the three areas.

Now in its second semester of existence, the RED minor already has 70 students enrolled, with more set to begin studies in the spring. Kucherawy thinks part of the program’s popularity is due to the increased career opportunities for students after graduation.

“Some people want to get into commercial real estate right after college, and the knowledge gained from these classes will be invaluable to them later in their careers,” she said. “Additionally, I think it allows students to explore different ways they can utilize their degree after college. Having this minor has already opened doors for me with several companies.”

With its interdisciplinary nature, the RED minor will make students more employable no matter what field they enter after graduating. 

“I think the minor has grown quickly because it brings together closely related but academically distinct fields,” said Justin Benefield, director of the MRED program and the Bickerstaff Professor in business. “That’s not necessarily the norm in higher education. Also, the minor is coming online at an interesting time. Real estate careers are booming, and students know it.”

Students who earn a minor may not want to stop there, and if they decide to apply to the MRED program, they’ll certainly be well prepared.

“The undergraduate minor gives us a terrific complement to the master’s degree in real estate development,” said CADC Associate Dean and Hugh Daniel Professor David Hinson. “These two programs, coupled with Auburn’s new Institute for Real Estate Development, will really strengthen our relationship with this industry and create expanded career options for our students.”