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Merage Courtyard

About Us

Orange County’s unique tradition of large-scale, master-planned urban development projects have characterized our region for almost half a century. Today, advances in technology, environmental change, capital and infrastructure needs, housing affordability, diversity and globalization present new challenges to real estate development, investment and management not only locally but worldwide.

The Center for Real Estate (CRE) at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business continues to make positive contributions to its missions of education, academic research and meaningful industry outreach to the academic and professional business communities. Professional and student educational programs serve as an important cornerstone of the Center’s growth and vitality. Our faculty, students and affiliated professionals share a common interest in furthering understanding of the ways in which we can harness knowledge to create a sustainable future for the built environment. 


Faculty Director

Faculty Director

Ed Coulson

Ed Coulson, PhD

UCI Paul Merage School of Business welcomed prominent Professor of Economics N. Edward Coulson into our faculty in 2016. He teaches in the area of Economics and Public Policy and serves in the school’s Center for Real Estate as Director of Research. In this capacity, Coulson advances the real estate program’s agenda of excellence in teaching, research and professional outreach. 

Coulson received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of California, Riverside, and a PhD from UC San Diego, where he studied under the direction of Nobel Laureate Robert Engle. He previously served as professor of Economics and director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to UNLV, he served as professor of Economics and King Faculty Fellow in Real Estate at The Pennsylvania State University where he had been a member of the faculty since 1984 and had received numerous outstanding teaching awards.

Among the many topics Professor Coulson has done research on are: the mismeasurement of rent in the Consumer Price Index, and its implications for macroeconomic policy;  the bias in residential appraisals; the impact of homeownership on people’s lives and neighborhoods; home prices; multifamily housing and its management; historic districts; the relationship between REITs and other asset markets; and many others.  His co-edited book Energy Efficiency and the Future of Real Estate was published by Palgrave Press in 2017, 

In addition to his extensive research, Coulson has served as co-editor of numerous journals and  served as president of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) in 2016.

Advisory Board and Supporters

We gratefully recognize the following individuals and companies that have donated generous gifts of $37,500 or more in support of the Merage School's real estate program.

Partner in Innovation

  • The Draper Family Foundation


  • Allen Matkins
  • AMG Realty Investors
  • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
  • Bill and Romy McFarland
  • Birtcher Development
  • Bixby Land Company
  • Bobby Hatfield & Luis Yeager of First American Title*
  • Bruce Fischer, Greenberg Traurig
  • Buchanan Street Partners
  • Camden Property Trust
  • CB Richard Ellis
  • City National Bank
  • Commercial Capital Bancorp
  • Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP
  • CT Realty/Robert M. Campbell Family*
  • CWSWG, Inc.*
  • Davis Partners*
  • Deloitte
  • Donahue Schriber Realty Group*
  • Doug Holte
  • Doug Meece*
  • Ducenta Squared Asset Management
  • Ernst & Young*
  • Fidelity National Title*
  • First American Title
  • F&M Bank
  • Garrett Stiepel Ryder LLP*
  • Gary Swon*
  • Green Street Advisors*
  • Emile and Dina Haddad*
  • Haskell & White*
  • Hill Company
  • Idea Hall
  • Irvine Company Office Properties*
  • J.F. Shea Co
  • John Waldeck*
  • Jeff Kearns, Walker Dunlop*
  • KB Homes*
  • KPMG*
  • LBA Realty*
  • Lee & Associates-Justin Smith*
  • Lennar Homes
  • LNR Property Corporation
  • Matthew Mousavi*
  • Mark IV Capital*
  • Meritage Homes
  • MIG Capital*
  • Michael Harrah
  • Moss Adams*
  • MVE + Partners
  • NAIOP SoCal*
  • National Property Valuation Advisors*
  • Newport Investment Associates*
  • ORION Property Partners*
  • The O’Donnell Group
  • Pacifica Hotels
  • Pacific Life*
  • Pacific Ventures Management*
  • Parker Properties
  • Passo Companies
  • Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker*
  • Pharris Properties
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman*
  • Rancho Mission Viejo
  • Ray Watson 
  • Related Companies of CA
  • Rick Hausman Jr.*
  • Ryan Gallagher of HFF*
  • Sabra Health Care REIT, Inc.*
  • Sean Rawson
  • Peter Shea
  • Regis Stack Partners*
  • Sheppard Mullin, Jim Pugh
  • Snyder-Langston
  • Squar Milner, CPA's
  • Starpointe Ventures*
  • Steadfast Properties*
  • SunCal Companies
  • Studley*
  • Talonvest Capital*
  • The Bascom Group*
  • The Hagestad Family Foundation
  • Trammell Crow Company*
  • Twin Rock Partners*
  • US Bancorp*
  • Walter Frome
  • Ware Malcomb
  • Wells Fargo Private Bank*
  • Westcap Corp.*
  • Westport Properties*

*Current and sustaining members

Matthew Mousavi

"The increasing involvement from Orange County’s real estate community continues to grow. Together, we are building a platform for the industry leaders and give back to future generations." - Matthew Mousavi, CRE Board Member, Investment Advisory Group, SRS Real Estate Partners

Matthew Mousavi

For UCI Students 

For UCI Students

The MBA curriculum in Real Estate is intended to provide advanced master's students who have previously acquired competency through the completion of core MBA coursework with the tools necessary to understand and pursue a successful career in the real estate industry.


Open to all graduate students as an elective, the introductory survey course exposes you to the workings of the real estate and housing markets, the proper structuring and analysis of real estate projects, and the operations of the various sectors of the industry. If you intend to focus on real estate, you are required to select four additional elective courses. At least two should be chosen from within the real estate program. You may also choose more broadly from a select list of courses across the Merage School graduate selections or from the University that allow you to study specific areas of interest in depth. Finally, you must complete a capstone seminar dealing with strategic management issues affecting the real estate enterprise.


In addition, there are courses available for undergraduate students in the Merage School.

The real estate curriculum is intended to be analytic, yet applied, and will be frequently supplemented with case studies, guest speakers from the real estate industry and team projects analyzing real deals.

MBA students are encouraged to participate actively in the Merage School Real Estate Association, to take advantage of the public and executive education programs sponsored by the Center for Real Estate, and to participate in an Internship and Mentorship Program. Undergrads are also encouraged to connect with the Real Estate Association which is focused on activities and events for undergrads interested in the field.


MBA Certificate in Real Estate

The MBA Certificate in Real Estate and Urban Development is one of the most comprehensive and carefully crafted graduate real estate programs in the country. The real estate industry has experienced unprecedented change since 2008, and the Center continues to shape its curriculum and provide students the practical skills and theories needed to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. Our coursework takes a holistic approach to real estate, drawing from the lessons of past cycles and current trends in order to best prepare students for their careers. This contemporary approach to education is highlighted by seven elective courses taught at the Merage School.

Learn More >

Girl studying on desk

Internship Program

Being a student in the real estate program offers a wide variety of benefits and opportunities for personal growth and professional development:

  • Professional Development
    As a student in the real estate program, you have the ability to work on individual or team projects within established firms. A hallmark of the real estate curriculum is its active learning approach that exposes you to the world of professional real estate via case studies, individual assignments and team projects at successful firms.
  • Reaching the Real Estate Community
    Our large professional network of members and friends provide a wide variety of internship opportunities for our students.
  • Gain Insightful Feedback from Industry Professionals
    Our members and friends also form review panels, investment committees and juries to judge and provide constructive feedback on student projects. Interns gain experience managing several center programs and develop valuable professional skills and leadership qualities essential for careers in business.
View of Los Angeles city skyline

Mentorship Program

In the Mentorship Program, you have the opportunity to shadow senior real estate executives at meetings, presentations and strategy sessions. You also gain one-on-one career guidance from successful industry professionals.
Group of professionals in office conference room

Merage School Real Estate Association

MREA is a graduate level student-run organization that works closely with the Center for Real Estate. The club’s mission is to create value for its members by providing educational, networking and career-related resources and opportunities in the real estate industry.  

Members stay current on the latest trends and developments in the industry and learn from respected professionals through speaker seminars and on-site visits. Networking events help you establish mutually beneficial relationships with leading real estate professionals in the area.  

In working closely with the Merage School’s Career Center and the Center for Real Estate, MREA facilitates the professional recruitment of its members by developing and promoting the organization’s Real Estate Resume Book to potential employers.


View of Merage school courtyard

UCI Real Estate Association

Open to all majors and backgrounds, Real Estate Association provides opportunities for undergrads to learn more about real estate, develop leadership and professional skills, and further a passion for service to the community. They also hold special events with guest speakers who reflect on their real estate work, with actual on-site visits that give our members a sense of what the industry is all about.

Image of students

UCI Real Estate Alumni

Aligned closely with the Center for Real Estate, our alumni group is focused on fostering the further development of relationships among UCI real estate alumni, students and the community at large. By providing learning and business opportunities for past, current and future students, the group is an integral part of connecting the Center to the local and national real estate industry in order to:

  • Expand relationships within the UCI real estate alumni community. 
  • Provide learning and business opportunities for existing students and alumni.
  • Contribute to the connection between the University's Center for Real Estate and the real estate community, both local and national.
UCI Real Estate Alumni Logo

Course Work

  • 246A Introduction to the Real Estate Process
  • 246B International Real Estate Investment 
  • 246C Real Estate Capital Markets
  • 246D The Real Estate Development Process
  • 246E Mortgage-Backed Securities and Structured Debt
  • 246F Seminar in Management of the Real Estate Enterprise
  • 246G Applied Real Estate Security Analysis and Portfolio Management
  • 246H Practicum in Mixed Use Community Development


UCI Merage Real Estate Course schedule

For the Community

For the Community

One major component of our mission are our outreach efforts to the professional community, government institutions, and the public at-large. We organize and sponsor numerous events for students, faculty and members of the real estate professional community including:

  • The tri-annual Breakfast Series
  • The biennial Real Estate Awards Luncheon
  • Guest Speaker Presentations
  • Policy Forums
  • Certificate Programs
  • Newsletters and Publications

Additionally, the Real Estate Alumni Network links UCI graduates currently working in the real estate industry and members of the academic community with current students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field.


The Center for Real Estate spearheads varied research. Faculty members representing a wide range of disciplines including Economics, Law, Urban and Regional Planning, Civil and Transportation Engineering, Gerontology, Marketing, Finance and Public Policy work on projects that relate to the Center’s core research interests. Since its founding, the Center has contributed to numerous research projects at UC Irvine relating to housing and urban development.    

We regularly bring together Academic Fellows, real estate industry professionals and policymakers in working group sessions to brainstorm about issues of interest and concern as they relate to the urban environment in Orange County and elsewhere. These working groups have formulated a comprehensive list of research programs to address issues such as:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Senior Housing
  • Mortgage Credit Availability and Cost
  • Mortgage Credit Risk
  • Innovative Investment Capital Structures
  • Impact of Large-Scale Master-Planned Developments
  • Transit-Friendly Development
  • Meeting Today’s Infrastructure Needs
  • Successful Mixed-Use Development Strategies
  • Commercial Property Location Decision Making
  • The Economic Base and Its Impact on Urban Development Patterns
  • The Economics of Architectural and Urban Design
  • Neighborhood Dynamics and Filtering
  • Optimal Capital Structuring of Real Estate Projects

John Martin Case Studies

Victoria Basolo, PhD, AICP

“The Center for Real Estate delivers knowledge that informs housing and development research, policy and practice on a wide scale. It is a valuable resource for housing researchers like myself and adds value to the education of our planning and policy-oriented graduate students focusing on development issues.”

Victoria Basolo, PhD, AICP Associate Professor, Planning, Policy and Design / Academic Fellow, Center for Real Estate

Get Involved

Become a Board Member

Linking Orange County’s academic and professional communities is a critical component of the Center’s outreach mission. Our Advisory Board is the centerpiece of our outreach efforts, providing an important link to the professional community. Members frequently volunteer to serve as guest lecturers, act as mentors and internship advisors, assist in Academic Fellow research working groups, and participate in a variety of other outreach events. We invite you to join the Advisory Board with a financial pledge signaling your interest in contributing to the Center’s continued operation in fulfillment of its educational, research and outreach missions. 

The Mentorship Program supports the Merage School’s action learning approach that exposes students to industry professionals and real-world business scenarios. The Mentorship Program allows real estate students to “shadow” a senior executive as that professional conducts meetings, presentations and strategy sessions. Mentors also provide students with one-on-one career guidance that will help each individual student quickly master the important aspects of the real estate industry.   

Members of the Advisory Board are frequent contributors at Real Estate Center events and functions. Whether you are interested in participating in one of our popular Breakfast Series discussions or speaking at a less formal research working group, we are interested in what you have to say about real estate. Industry professionals, policymakers and academic researchers are all invited to contact us regarding volunteer speaking opportunities.

Support Us

The John Parker Fellowship Fund was established in 2012 in memory of John Parker, whose generosity, wisdom and presence touched many at UC Irvine. Buchanan Street Partners and Talonvest Capital have contributed to this fund, which will be used to provide scholarships and support various student enrichment and learning activities. To  make a contribution to the fund or to learn about other giving opportunities that support real estate education at UC Irvine, please contact Sharon Nakamura-Brown.


Contact Us 

Contact Us


Ed Coulson


Sharon Nakamura-Brown
Associate Director


Jeani Pirooz
Program Coordinator