Emphasis in Real Estate

Details about the Penn State Smeal Ph.D. Emphasis in Real Estate.

Program Overview

The Real Estate Ph.D. program recognizes the interdisciplinary nature and tradition of real estate scholarship. As such, the program emphasizes a strong foundation in economics, financial theory and institutions, and research tools in statistics and econometrics. You will have access to internationally recognized scholars that specialize in real estate issues in finance, mortgage markets, housing markets, urban economics, and property rights. The real estate faculty at Smeal hold senior leadership positions in various academic and industry associations as well as editorial positions in the leading real estate scholarly journals, thus providing you with access to an international network of real estate scholars. In addition, through the support of the Institute for Real Estate Studies, students have access to state-of-the-art computer software and research databases as well as opportunities to work on collaborative research projects with the faculty.


You can expect roughly two years of formal coursework, with courses in finance, economics, real estate, and statistics. Finance or economics are the typical supporting fields of a Ph.D. in Real Estate concentration. The research methods sequence is generally satisfied by taking a combination of econometrics and statistics courses. Each student’s program of study is tailored to their individual interests and background.

Areas of Study

The program focuses on the following areas of study:

  • Real Estate Economics
  • Agency and Contract Theory
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Economics of Property Rights and Legal Institutions
  • Financial Contracting

About Real Estate Faculty in the Risk Management Department

Real Estate at Smeal is based in the Risk Management Department, which provides current and future students the opportunity to explore risk analysis in a variety of environments. In addition to Real Estate, the department offers undergraduate concentrations in Actuarial Science and Enterprise Risk Management.

The research and disciplinary focus of the department is on risk assessment, mitigation, and management, connecting disciplines such as actuarial science, business law, decision analysis, insurance, international business, and real estate. The Journal of Real Estate Research ranks Penn State fourth globally for research productivity, and Smeal is second in faculty representation to the editorial boards of leading real estate journals according to the Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education.

For more information on the Smeal Ph.D. Emphasis in Real Estate, contact:

Dr. Liang Peng
Professor of Risk Management, The Philip H. Sieg Professor of Business Administration
Smeal College of Business
The Pennsylvania State University
359 Business Building
University Park, PA 16802-3603
Phone: 814-863-1046