To support its continued growth, the Virginia Tech Program in Real Estate has become an academic unit in the Pamplin College of Business in collaboration with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction.

The program will be housed in the Intelligent Infrastructure and Construction Complex, and students will earn a bachelor of science in real estate or a real-estate minor through the Pamplin College.

Real estate, said program director Kevin Boyle, “encompasses the vision for a project, getting the entitlements or permitting to do a project, securing financing, hiring and managing design and construction, leasing and selling properties, and managing portfolios of real-estate assets.”

Sectors include commercial, retail, multifamily, single family; building uses include hotels, distribution centers, government buildings, and other real-estate assets.

“Our primary purpose is to educate students to be entrepreneurial leaders, and this requires a strong background in real estate in addition to educational depth in a discipline like finance, construction, property management, and other majors,” Boyle said.

The program will leverage the teaching and research strengths of the collaborative relationship, Dean Robert Sumichrast said, between “a nationally leading program in business and technology and a nationally leading program in 21st-century construction development.” 

The close association with the Myers-Lawson School “will facilitate real-estate majors learning about construction and construction majors learning about the real-estate industry,” said Boyle.

Provost Thanassis Rikakis called the program a stellar example of transdisciplinary collaboration at Virginia Tech to create “a modern, innovative, and distinctive educational opportunity for students.” Transdisciplinary teams in education, research, and industry engagement are the means by which Virginia Tech is addressing the complex problems of the 21st century, he said.

“Graduates of the program will be uniquely trained to be the real-estate entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” Rikakis said.

Brian Kleiner, director of the Myers-Lawson School, noted that the co-location “will maintain and create even more synergies to benefit our students and our collective Industry.”

Becoming a unit in Pamplin, said Boyle, “enables us to become a national leader in providing an exciting learning environment for students and preparing them with the breadth and depth of knowledge to enter the sectors of the real-estate industry that meet their career passions.”

With the new organizational structure, Boyle said “students earn a B.S. or minor in real estate through Pamplin and will be Pamplin students and graduates.”

Along with learning about real estate, students are encouraged to find a niche by developing an area of expertise through a second major, a minor, or an area of concentration.

The degrees and concentrations are the result of a collaborative effort spanning five colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture and Urban Studies, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, in addition to Pamplin.

This collaborative program enhances learning opportunities, Boyle said, including opportunities for real-estate majors to take additional business courses, for business students to double-major in real estate, and for students in different disciplines to work together on projects.

Aside from its teaching mission, the program encourages faculty research that enhances understanding of real-estate markets and related areas and provides outreach to industry.

The program draws on faculty expertise from such areas as civil engineering, law, planning, property management, finance, economics, and building construction, and benefits from industry professionals who regularly interact with students and give guest lectures.

Since its launch in fall 2013, the program has grown to more than 160 students as of the end of this past spring semester. Its students have won national real-estate research competitions as well as a recent CREW Network Foundation Scholarship, aimed at supporting women in commercial real estate careers.

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