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Master of Science in Real Estate and Facility Management

With the Master of Science in Real Estate & Facility Management: Understand real estate, lead employees, inspire innovation, implement sustainability, apply economic principles.

Why pursue a Master's degree in Real Estate and Facility Management?

With this qualification, you can obtain a management position with a high level of responsibility in the strategic areas of real estate and facility management. You can make things happen, become a relationship manager and benefit from exciting career prospects.

The MSc Real Estate & Facility Management is a cooperation between the IFM Institute of Facility Management from the School of Life Sciences and Facility Management and the Departement of Banking, Finance, Insurance der School from the School of Management and Law. It is the first Master's programme in Switzerland to combine the fields of real estate and facility management, economics, finance, operational technology/IT and services with a focus on the key issues of sustainability and digitisation. This in turn makes our graduates highly sought-after candidates in the job market. They know what drives the industry and possess the problem-solving skills that are needed in today's labour market.

"Be part of sustainability transformation throughout the real estate life cycle - strategically, holistically and and with an awareness of economic principles."

Dr. Isabelle Wrase MRICS, Co-Programme Director, MSc REFM at the IFM Institute of Facility Management

Your profile

You are fascinated by topics such as: Corporate and Public Real Estate Management, Sustainability in Construction and Operations, Digital Facility Management, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM), REFM-compliant Construction Planning, Life Cycle Costs, Strategy Development, Change Management, Leadership, Investments, Sustainability, Urban Mobility, Workplace Management, Service Design, Customer Journey, Benchmarking, Processes, Engineering, Smart Experience, Data Management, Real Estate Valuation, Real Estate Markets, Real Estate Financing, Real Estate Investments and Real Estate Development.

You have a Bachelor's degree in: Facility Management, Real Estate Management, Business Administration, Architecture, Engineering or Hospitality Management.

Career: Holding a Master's degree in in Real Estate & Facility Management will allow you to...

Basis for a career with excellent career prospects: Competent specialists and leaders in Real Estate and Facility Management are in great demand, due not only to growing cost pressures, but also to increasing environmental awareness. In both private companies and public sector enterprises, there is a high demand for professionals with in-depth know-how regarding the sustainable planning and management of real estate, as well as the design and optimisation of services.

Whether as a smart city expert in a local community, workplace manager in a bank, real estate portfolio manager, real estate consultant, real estate transaction manager, manager in hospitality management in a hospital, or real estate manager in a pharmaceutical company, the career opportunities are varied and have great prospects.

Good reasons for studying for a Master of Science in Real Estate and Facility Management (MSc REFM) at the ZHAW

Course content and progression

The Master’s degree combines independent learning with face-to-face and online lessons. Students prepare for face-to-face teaching in self-study using written material, learning videos, etc., and practical case studies. In the on-site and/or online contact lessons, the previously learned content is consolidated and applied, and questions are discussed.

Classes alternate two weeks online, one week on-site. Class days are Wednesday through Friday.

There is a choice between three specialisations.

Economics & Finance

Due to the increasing prominence of institutional investors in the real estate market, active real estate portfolio management and strategies for investment, disinvestment and optimisation are becoming increasingly important. Training paths which specialise in finance have become indispensable due to the growing significance of real estate assets in the capital market. Topics such as real estate financing as well as valuation and transaction management are therefore becoming increasingly important in the real estate sector.

Digitisation & Sustainability

Sustainable development is the great challenge of our time, and digital transformation can be the key to a more sustainably built environment in real estate and facility management. This in-depth specialisation brings these two developing trends in the real estate industry together and examines the synergies that exist between them.

Strategic Real Estate & Facility Management

Plan your studies individually , choosing from the extensive range of courses offered in the Economics & Finance and Digitalisation & Sustainability specialisations.

"The Economics & Finance specialisation helps graduates to transform themselves into experts who operate at the intersection between management, technology and finance. They are equipped to overcome the current challenges in the real estate industry."

Dr. Thomas Richter, Co-Programme Director, MSc REFM in the Banking, Finance, Insurance Department at the ZHAW School of Management and Law

Your new skills and competencies:

 "Our students benefit from working closely with the industry, international research partners and professional associations. Strategies and innovative solutions are explored in the Master's programme. Leadership skills and their applicability are practiced through exchange with partners from the business world."

Dr. Isabelle Wrase MRICS, Co-Programme Director, MSc REFM at the IFM Institute of Facility Management

Module overview

This module table is valid from15. September 2022

Legend

Specialisation Economics & Finance

Specialisation Strategic Real Estate & Facility Management

Specialisation Digitalization & Sustainability

Compulsory modules

Elective modules

Semester 4, ECTS: 20

Real Estate Development (RED)
ECTS: 5

Real Estate Development (RED)

This module enables students to oversee the entire real estate development process. The module focuses on the topics of strategic planning, project conception and project realisation.

RED oder BET
ECTS: 5

RED oder BET

  • ECTS: 5

Built Environment Transformation (BET)
ECTS: 5

Built Environment Transformation (BET)

The existing built environment and infrastructure far exceed the current number of new construction projects. The challenge lies in implementing a needs-based and multifaceted optimisation and/or repurposing this environment. In addition to conventional development considerations, sustainability, the real estate life cycle, and the public interest, among other factors, must be integrated into a holistic approach. Transforming the built environment is a complex task which puts more demand on real estate experts: the projects that are derived and developed from a strategy should advocate for economic, ecological, and social sustainability at the management level and should be feasible to implement and realise.

Leadership, Ethics, Change
ECTS: 5

Leadership, Ethics, Change

This module helps students to develop their ability to shape leadership processes in a sustainable and responsible manner. It reflects on the role that the modern manager plays in reliably creating added social, economic, and ecological value in the dynamic and interdisciplinary environment of real estate and facility management. Constant and sometimes unforeseen changes are an ongoing challenge which requires organisational and individual approaches, as well as coping strategies.

Master’s Thesis
ECTS: 10

Master’s Thesis

The Master's thesis demonstrates the students' ability to investigate a practice-oriented topic from a subject area which is related to their area of study, and to apply scientific terms, methods and concepts while adhering to predetermined deadlines.

Semester 3, ECTS: 20

Real Estate Valuation (REV)
ECTS: 5

Real Estate Valuation (REV)

MODULE IN ENGLISH This module focuses on real estate valuation and valuation methods. It also illustrates the key differences between real estate valuation and business valuation. Various valuation methods such as hedonic regression and earnings value will be applied, and the students will develop their own Discounted Cash Flow Model. In addition, the students will learn how these assessments can be critically evaluated. They will be able to explain real estate valuation processes and the relevant ethical aspects and codes of conduct.

REV oder CEM
ECTS: 5

REV oder CEM

  • ECTS: 5

Circular Economy Management (CEM)
ECTS: 5

Circular Economy Management (CEM)

MODULE IN ENGLISH The real estate industry is responsible for tying up many resources, sometimes for decades. Therefore, in order to deal with the limited resources available in an economic and environmentally sound manner, changing from a linear to a circular real estate economy and the transition to sustainable building design, use and management is essential. Sustainability and circularity assessment is another tool for identifying, further refining and managing the impact of the built environment on the climate and on nature, also in the context of corporate, owner and user responsibility.

Strategies in Sustainability
ECTS: 5

Strategies in Sustainability

MODULE IN ENGLISH This module aims to provide a comprehensive overview of sustainability and its relevance to the field of real estate and facility management. This includes environmental, economic, and social aspects as well as an examination of the entire surrounding eco-system. Current methods used in sustainability planning, certification, monitoring, and reporting, as well as methods for procurement and quality assurance of construction and FM services are presented and analysed. The advantages and disadvantages of these methods are identified and their application to specific strategies are explored.

Processes, Engineering and Procurement
ECTS: 5

Processes, Engineering and Procurement

MODULE IN ENGLISH This module focuses on internal and external processes, which help organisations to cope with ongoing economic changes. It also addresses how these processes can be integrated into flexible and high value engineering systems projects and explores the effective management of both internal and external services.

Research Plan
ECTS: 5

Research Plan

MODULE IN ENGLISH Students develop their own research topic, perform theoretical research, develop a research questions/hypothesis, and choose a research approach for their Master's thesis.

Intercultural Competence
ECTS: 2

Intercultural Competence

see Intercultural Competence Preparation; Intercultural Competence Reflection takes place after a possible stay abroad.

Semester 2, ECTS: 25

Real Estate Investment and Finance (REI)
ECTS: 5

Real Estate Investment and Finance (REI)

This module focuses on real estate as an asset class, the most important investment opportunities for real estate and the financing of real estate. Building on this, approaches to developing investment strategies which optimise real estate portfolios are explored. The students are taught which criteria are used to make and assess real estate investments, such as investment strategies, investment analysis, portfolio considerations, aspects of taxation, benchmarking, and performance attribution. On the topic of real estate financing, mortgage loans from the investor's point of view and lending from the bank's perspective are examined in detail.

REI oder PEI
ECTS: 5

REI oder PEI

  • ECTS: 5

PropTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PEI)
ECTS: 5

PropTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PEI)

Students are introduced, and directly exposed, to the world of Property Technology Companies (PropTech) and their innovations, which are fuelling disruptive change in the real estate industry. It also highlights the key elements of entrepreneurship and introduces funding opportunities for start-ups. In addition, it explores the economic drivers of digital disruption and how PropTech companies are using innovative technologies to, for instance, change and improve transactions.

Digital Transformation
ECTS: 5

Digital Transformation

This module focuses on how real estate-related companies approach the digital transformation process. Goal-oriented uses of digital technologies for improving, optimising, or disrupting existing business models are outlined, including with respect to interface management between IT, corporate strategy, and real estate. Insights into the development of a digital strategy for managing real estate portfolios and the associated real estate and facility management activities are also provided.

Public and Corporate Real Estate
ECTS: 5

Public and Corporate Real Estate

The focus of this module is on the analysis of public and private property management. Students learn the basic principles relevant to public and private sector activities and how to apply them to specific areas. In particular, how real estate portfolios are put together is discussed. It highlights the strategic importance of administering and managing portfolios which, from a corporate, political, and societal perspective, extend beyond the boundaries of organisations.

Real Estate Modelling and Forecasting
ECTS: 5

Real Estate Modelling and Forecasting

This module covers the basic principles of inductive statistics and econometrics for the processing and analysis of structured data. In addition, students learn how to use common statistical software. The focus of the module is on applying the methods learned in order to carry out empirical analyses in real estate.

Research Lab
ECTS: 5

Research Lab

Issues arising from real estate-related activities are dealt with using scientific methods. These issues can originate from a research-oriented practical project as well as from an application-oriented research project.

Intercultural Competence
ECTS: 2

Intercultural Competence

This two-semester module is aimed at students who plan to study abroad or who wish to prepare for future work with culturally diverse teams. The course is open to all students from the School of Life Sciences and Facility Management. In addition to six on-campus workshops, a significant portion of the module is completed online. The course was developed, and is offered, by an interdisciplinary team from the School of Life Sciences. Participants receive a certificate in ‘Intercultural Competence’ upon successful completion of the course.

Semester 1, ECTS: 25

Real Estate Markets
ECTS: 5

Real Estate Markets

Developments with macroeconomic relevance to the national and global real estate market and its submarkets are discussed. The focus is on applying theoretical models to practical issues. The differences between various market segments are considered, and supply and demand in real estate markets is discussed. As a result, students gain an understanding of the main drivers of price development. They also learn to identify and adequately use data sources. Furthermore, they become more versed in urban economics concepts so that they can understand the value of a location.

Sustainable Finance and Governance
ECTS: 5

Sustainable Finance and Governance

The history of the discourse surrounding sustainability discourse its relevance to different sustainability concepts for the governance of real estate and facility management is introduced at the very beginning of this module. This equips students with a critically reflective attitude towards current sustainability practices. Subsequently, the module covers key areas of real estate economics, such as the time value of money, capital market theory and capital costs, financing and capital structure, company value, investments, and risk management. The module also focuses on the question of how Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can be included in investment decisions. The most important stakeholders in the areas of sustainable finance, green financing instruments, sustainability ratings and political influences are examined and evaluated.

Workplace Strategy and Innovation
ECTS: 5

Workplace Strategy and Innovation

This module focuses on places of work and how they can function to support the core business of organisations. Workplaces are an organisational resource which is managed in alignment with other dimensions (business, culture, technology) to support employee effectiveness. The focus is on workplace strategy and innovation, as well as sustainability and digitisation in workplace management.

Service Strategy and Innovation
ECTS: 5

Service Strategy and Innovation

MODULE IN ENGLISH The module focuses on services that support and improve the key activities of an organisation. Services are value-creating processes provided by internal or external organisational units to help employees be more effective. Key areas of focus are Service Strategy, Relationship Management, Service Business Design and Innovation, and Service Ecosystems in B4B4C.

Applied Research Methods
ECTS: 5

Applied Research Methods

MODULE IN ENGLISH The module predominantly addresses qualitative and quantitative sociological research methods with the aim of applying them to specific issues and problems in the fields of real estate and facility management. The students are provided with the fundamentals and competencies that are required for this by means of practical examples.

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