Starting this spring, the Master of Land Economics and Real Estate degree at Mays—one of the few specialized graduate real estate degrees in the nation—will officially be renamed the Master of Real Estate degree. The new name better reflects the program’s increasing focus on preparing students for work in commercial real estate and real estate capital markets while maintaining its strength in real estate valuation.

In an economic trend that sees more investors turning to real estate and real estate trusts in lieu of the stock market, the demand for qualified leaders in the real estate market will only continue to grow. That’s a need Texas A&M’s Master of Real Estate Program is designed to fulfill, says Director of Real Estate Programs Cydney Donnell ’81.

Donnell believes the new name will more clearly showcase the program’s strengths to outsiders and to national employers who are actively recruiting from other universities. Mays’ real estate degree is one of the only graduate real estate programs housed in a business school setting, with a heavy emphasis on preparation in finance and law. To earn their master’s degree, students must complete a rigorous program of 37 credit hours of real estate finance, agricultural economics, geography and land economics courses.

“There was an issue before with the degree name being so uncommon,” Donnell said. “The program has been around for over 35 years, yet prospective students and employers were confused about the emphasis of our program.”

That’s precisely what Mays administrators and supporters are ready to change. Participants in the Real Estate Roundtable, a group of industry professionals who support the program with curriculum guidance, expert lectures and financial backing, are already greeting the program’s new emphasis and renaming with open arms. Real estate experts such as Ed Wulfe ’55, president of Houston-based commercial real estate firm Wulfe & Co., have made it their goal to help move real estate education at Mays to the next level of excellence and national prominence. Wulfe says he sees the new branding initiative as “a giant step forward.”

Mays’ real estate graduates go on to pursue careers in corporate real estate, consulting, valuation, investment and asset management, commercial brokerage, lending and capital markets, and real estate development. The program has grown from 14 students in the mid 90s to more than 80 today.

Since 1996, nearly 100 percent of program graduates have been employed within 30 days of graduation, while more than 75 percent have accepted job offers by the time they walk the commencement stage.

The three-semester Master of Real Estate Program includes a professional summer internship. Donnell explains that a key feature of real estate program is its multidisciplinary focus. Mays’ program covers that ground through electives in architecture, geography, real estate development, construction management and agricultural economics.

In addition to standard real estate knowledge, these graduates are educated in a specific skill set, allowing them to perform financial and valuation modeling and analysis, to understand terminology and themes of market, and to have familiarity with industry-standard Argus valuation software and Excel-based modeling. Program graduates each year are armed with the ability to contribute immediately to the fast-paced demands of the real estate sector.