Lehigh’s undergraduate real estate minor has been remodeled for the fall 2019 semester.
Scrapping the current framework allows professor McKay Price, the director of the real estate program, to make the curriculum more applicable to real life.
After surveying Lehigh graduates with real estate minors, Price and his colleagues examined what graduates found most helpful and what they wish they had more exposure to one, five and 10 years out of college.
Using this information, they developed a new curriculum that is “fresh, current, and draws on all of Lehigh’s strengths,” Price said.
“The first (required) course is real estate investment, which will teach students to really understand how to analyze the value of property,” said professor Loren Keim. “The second is a real estate development course, which allows us to look at things from a different angle. ‘What is the best use of a property? What can a property be transformed into?’”
Price said he hopes the new programs reflect the broad nature of real estate.
After two required three-credit courses, students will select two electives from an extensive list. Possible courses include real estate law, real estate finance, negotiations and conflict management, urban and environmental planning, construction management and several architecture courses.
“There was no way for students to better match the curriculum to their interests and career goals, but now they can,” Price said.
The real estate minor’s senior practicum is also being altered. Instead of a two-credit course in the fall and spring, it will now be a three-credit spring course. The practicum allows students to work in teams to evaluate how much a property is worth and put on a presentation in front of principals.
While students enjoyed getting real-world experience, they often complained that it took too long and would be more effective in one semester, Price said.
Under the old curriculum, students graduate with five courses that must be taken lock-step. Most of these courses were two credits each.
Sophy Feldman, ‘21, is a real estate minor and is excited to continue her coursework in the fall and experience the new changes.
“I think the way they’re doing it is better now because they’re making the classes more credits,” Feldman said. “They’re bulking it up, which is better since a two credit class isn’t nearly as incentivizing as a three or four credit class.”
Additionally, course listings will be altered from IPRE (Integrated Program in Real Estate) to REAL. This change will better communicate the program both internally and externally. It will allow students to easily find courses in the course catalog, especially as class schedules change, and it makes more sense to employers reading a transcript, Price said.
“Hopefully, these changes will open the program up to more students who are interested in real estate because real estate touches everything we do,” Keim said. “You can’t have patients in a hospital without having a hospital built.”
The real estate minor is offered to all undergraduate Lehigh students.