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New minor emphasizes interdisciplinary aspect of real estate

| Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate recently launched an interdisciplinary minor in real estate, which is open to all undergraduate students.

“The minor is 15 credits, with an introductory course, three electives of three credits each in a variety of different areas … and the last three credits of the minor are these industry engaging colloquia,” Eugenio Acosta, program director of the Institute for Real Estate, said.

The colloquia are one-credit seminars that bring in people from the industry to talk about their work. The first being offered is Real Estate Finance and Investment this fall.

“It brings in experts on the business and law side to talk to students about real cases, real issues and connect students with what they would be doing out in the real world, with the kind of jobs that are out there and the experiences they will have,” Acosta said.

Students and alumni from Notre Dame have long been interested in real estate, but until now there was no way to quantify the courses they had been taking.

“For years, we’ve had faculty and courses in real estate but no real way to capture a student’s interest,” Acosta said. “But now students who take those courses can get a minor, so this is a way to help them better prepare for industry, with jobs and internships, by giving them credit for what they do — but also enhance the opportunities and create new courses.”

Since the minor applications were opened this semester, 53 students have applied for the minor. However, due to the course requirements only current freshman and sophomores will be able to complete it in time for graduation.

“There has been almost double the demand at what we thought there would be for the minor so far,” Jason Arnold, managing director of the Institute for Real Estate, said.

The nature of the minor is interdisciplinary, Acosta said. He said this reflects the multifaceted nature of the real estate industry, offering classes in three different colleges —  the School of Architecture, the College of Engineering and Mendoza College of Business.

“I’m excited that it’s going to be a very diverse group, and truly interdisciplinary. If you look at the numbers, a quarter of our students are going to be Arts and Letters, and 8 percent are STEM,” Acosta said. “Mixing engineers with some science folks and some arts and letters and putting them together with the business students is going to be a great learning experience.”

Acosta said it is important to have an background stemming from multiple areas when going into real estate.

“Real estate is a very applied field and very interdisciplinary,” he said. “You can come in on it from the finance side, the architecture side or the engineering side. So it’s great to have a base academic discipline and to enhance it with a minor on the applied side.”

Through the requirement to take at least one elective course outside the student’s academic home, the minor’s interdisciplinary nature is shown.

“I’m excited that students are going to take more real estate classes and that there is an outlet for that,” Arnold said. “They’re going to be pushed to take things outside of their own discipline to learn about what makes up real estate at large.”

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