A group of students, notebooks in hand, listening to a woman in an open space with a vibrant, abstract mural painted on the wall

The primary goal of the undergraduate real estate major is to comprehensively underwrite commercial real estate, which is broad-based and follows the education thought leadership of James A. Graaskamp, who expressed that “Real estate should be taught as a process of dynamic interactions rather than functional and historical facts.”  Underwriting commercial real estate includes the analysis of all property types and the development of residential communities, while assessing and managing risk in all aspects of real estate relative to finance, development, valuation, and market analysis.  To effectively underwrite commercial real estate, students must be able to identify and synthesize technical or basic skills, conceptual knowledge, critical thinking skills, and understand the real estate landscape to make informed and thoughtful property decisions.  Graduates of the real estate major secure employment in a wide-range of positions and responsibility including real estate private equity investment, commercial real lending and valuation,  and real estate development among many other areas including asset/property management and investment sales and brokerage.


Our real estate program is ranked 2nd in the US by U.S. News & World Report 2022.

Related Organizations

Real Estate Club
Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association
Women in Real Estate

Students wishing to pursue this major must be admitted to the School of Business. Once admitted, students are able to pursue any business major they choose. To find out more about the school's admissions process for undergraduate students, please see Entering the School.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

School of Business Requirements

The Wisconsin Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program is based on a broad educational foundation combined with courses in business and economics. This curriculum is designed for those students who wish to prepare for careers in business. Students completing any School of Business major are required to satisfy a common set of Pre-Business Requirements, Liberal Studies Requirements, Business Preparatory Requirement, Business Core Requirement, Business Breadth Requirement, and Credits for BBA Degree.

School of Business BBA Requirements
Complete requirements:
Liberal Studies
Business Prep
Business Core
Business Breadth

Real Estate Major Requirements

REAL EST/​A A E/​ECON/​URB R PL  306 The Real Estate Process3
REAL EST 410 Real Estate Finance3
REAL EST 411 Real Estate Excel Modeling1
REAL EST 412 Real Estate ARGUS Modeling1
REAL EST 415 Valuation of Real Estate3
REAL EST/​ECON/​URB R PL  420 Urban and Regional Economics3
REAL EST 425 Real Estate Law3
REAL EST 530 Real Estate Investment Analysis3
Total Credits20

Additional Courses

Undergraduate students are encouraged to take additional electives from among the following real estate courses. Electives are typically not offered every semester.

Real Estate Electives

REAL EST 365 Contemporary Topics 13
REAL EST/​A A E/​URB R PL  520 Community Economic Analysis3
REAL EST 540 Public Real Estate Equity Investment3
REAL EST 550 Private Real Estate Equity Investment I: Analysis and Structures3
REAL EST 611 Residential Property Development3
REAL EST 640 Real Estate Capital Markets3
REAL EST 651 Green - Sustainable Development3
REAL EST 661 Real Estate Investment Analysis and Presentation3

 The real estate department regularly offers innovative and cutting-edge electives under REAL EST 365 Contemporary Topics. Students should check the Course Guide every semester.

Recommended Non-Business Electives

Electives may also be selected outside the business-economics core from among a number of courses elsewhere in the university, which will provide greater professional awareness and more specialized tools.

ENVIR ST/​SOIL SCI  575 Assessment of Environmental Impact3
LAND ARC 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design3
LAND ARC 561 Housing and Urban Design4
LAND ARC 562 Open Space Planning and Design4
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science3
CIV ENGR 498 Construction Project Management3
CIV ENGR 340 Structural Analysis I3
GEOG/​CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST  377 An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
URB R PL/GEOG 305 Introduction to the City3-4
URB R PL/​LAND ARC  463 Evolution of American Planning3
URB R PL 601 Site Planning3

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Assemble and analyze market, linkage, and economic data to make prudent investment decisions.
  2. Identify debt and equity capital sources that meet investor risk/return parameters for development, acquisitions, debt and value-add investment opportunities.
  3. Responsibly and ethically consider investor, tenant, community, and municipal needs in the development process.
  4. Create value in the built environment through developments that are built to scale, affordable, and sustainable.
  5. Communicate the merits of real estate projects to investors, community stakeholders, and municipal/publicly elected officials.
  6. Provide a network of professionals with cutting-edge perspectives and employment opportunities.

This is a sample four-year plan for students directly admitted into the School of Business from high school. We encourage all students to consult with their academic advisor to develop an individualized plan that meets their specific needs. 

ECON 1014ACCT I S 1003
GEN BUS 1061ECON 1024
GEN BUS 1101PSYCH 2023
MATH 211 or 2215Ethnic Studies3-4
Communications A3-4Science3
 14-15 16-17
Total Credits 30-32
ACCT I S 2113GEN BUS 3073
GEN BUS 3063M H R 3003
Humanities, Social Sciences or Literature course 3MARKETNG 3003
 15 15
Total Credits 30
REAL EST 4153Business Breadth3
OTM 3003Humanities, Social Sciences or Literature 3
Ethics 13-4Recommended Electives4-6
 14-15 16-18
Total Credits 30-33

Students must choose one of the following courses: PHILOS 241 Introductory Ethics , PHILOS 243 Ethics in Business, PHILOS 341 Contemporary Moral Issues, PHILOS/​ENVIR ST  441 Environmental Ethics.

Real Estate Elective 3Real Estate Elective 3
Business Breadth3Recommended Electives9
Humanities, Social Sciences or Literature3 
Recommended Elective3 
 15 15
Total Credits 30


Advising is an integral part of any student’s educational journey in the School of Business Undergraduate Program. Starting at Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR), we encourage all students to connect with academic advisors. Business academic advisors have a wealth of knowledge about courses on campus, as well as policies and procedures.

Business career coaches help students with career exploration, internships, resumes, job search, interviewing and more. We encourage students to connect with their career coach once they arrive on campus.

Business academic advisors and career coaches are passionate about student success. Students experiencing academic difficulty or personal struggles are encouraged to talk to their advisor about how their individual situation may affect their academic performance.

Assigned Academic and Career Coaches

Admitted business students will have one assigned academic advisor.  Career coaches are assigned by academic major to be able to provide industry-specific career guidance.  If a student has more than one major, they may have more than one assigned career coach.  Students can find their assigned advisor and coach by logging into the Starfish portal through MyUW.

For students not yet admitted to the School of Business, there is a team of pre-business advisors available.

Accessing Advising

Drop-in advising and scheduled appointments are available for admitted business students. Pre-business students may also schedule an appointment with a pre-business academic advisor or utilize drop-in academic advising. 

For more information on accessing academic advising, please see our academic advising page.

For more information on accessing career coaching, please see our career coaching page.


Real estate as a career encompasses a wide range of activities—from development and construction to financing; from brokerage and leasing to property management; from appraisal and assessment to insurance and regulation; from research to urban planning, government affairs and more. Job responsibilities vary by function and can be office-based or in the field. Qualifications also vary from licensing and certification to advanced degrees.

Please visit our website to learn more about careers in real estate.

More information on Career Pathways.

Faculty and Staff in Real Estate

For more information about the faculty and their research interests, please visit the directory.


AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2026–2027.