The Wisconsin Ph.D. Program in real estate and urban land economics prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at the university level. The program is highly quantitative, providing a strong foundation in financial and economic theory, as well as in mathematical statistical techniques. Through a program of elective courses and dissertation research, students specialize in particular areas of real estate economics and finance.

The department's core areas of research include urban and housing economics, housing and asset pricing, securitization and real estate capital markets, and financing and investment of commercial property. Our faculty members contribute to significant advancements in the field, as evidenced by our recently published journal articles.

Academic Requirements

In addition to meeting the UW–Madison Graduate School requirements, students should have the following:

  • Three semesters of calculus, two semesters or mathematical statistics, one semester of real analysis, and one semester of linear algebra
  • Introductory coursework in microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • A course in real analysis is required for the program, and students are strongly encouraged to complete such a course prior to starting the program. Otherwise, it is desirable to take Analysis I in the mathematics department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as early in the program as possible, and no later than the fall semester of the second year.
  • Students are expected to audit Real Estate Finance and at least one more master's level course in real estate.

General Ph.D. Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements of the specific academic department, all students must meet the general Ph.D. requirements of both the UW–Madison Graduate School and the Wisconsin School of Business.

Foundation Coursework

  • Advanced Real Estate Finance Theory OR Real Estate Advanced Urban Land Economics
  • Theory of Finance I
  • Theory of Finance II
  • Economic Statistics and Econometrics I
  • Economic Statistics and Econometrics II
  • Microeconomics I
  • Macroeconomics I
  • Microeconomics II


Starting in the second year, students take the real estate workshop. This workshop is designed to help students make progress toward completion of their second-year paper and their dissertation. In addition, students take a finance or economics workshop each semester beginning with the second semester in the program and continuing as long as the student is in residence.

Students are encouraged to audit both workshops during their first semester.

Coursework in Major Area

At the beginning of the second year, each student proposes a set of three advanced courses that form a coherent package and enhance the student's research skills. Students are free to choose elective courses offered by the economics, finance, mathematics, or statistics departments. It may also be appropriate to choose courses in computer science, law, psychology, accounting, or other areas taught at UW–Madison.

Summer Paper

During the second summer in the program, each student completes a research paper on a real estate economics or finance topic. This paper may be either theoretical or empirical, and should contain elements of original research that extend the existing literature. Real estate faculty members may provide guidance during the paper's development. Each student also makes an oral presentation of the paper to the real estate faculty.

Faculty Research Interests

Research interests:
  • Corporate real estate
  • Real estate investment trusts
  • Mortgage markets and mortgage securitization
  • International real estate markets
Research interests:
  • Real estate finance
  • Consumer finance
  • Financial intermediation
Research interests:
  • General equilibrium theory applied to mortgages and securities markets
  • Repo markets
  • Housing and urban economics
  • Market microstructure
  • Real estate economics
  • International finance
Research interests:
  • Mortgage contracts
  • Brokerage
  • Economics of information and uncertainty
  • Experimental economics
  • Monetary policy
Research interests:
  • Mortgage finance and securitization
  • Real estate valuation and investment
  • Capital structure and contracting
  • REITs