The University of the West of England (UWE) is a modern, growing university in the thriving city of Bristol. UWE is one of Britain's most popular universities, with almost 30,000 students and 3,000 staff and is the largest provider of higher education in the south west of England. Students come to Bristol UWE from all parts of the UK, as well as a significant and growing number of international students from over 50 countries worldwide.
The Faculty of the Built Environment is one of the largest centres in Europe for teaching and research in the built and natural environments, and covers an unusually wide range of disciplines. There are 200 academic and technical staff and 2,200 students, working in five Schools and five Research Centres, enabling specialist research and teaching to be combined with a breadth of vision. Staff from different disciplines and professions work together in teams to develop a deep and sophisticated understanding of how different natural and human forces combine to shape the environments around us. Researchers and students relate their own work to other disciplines and professions through joint projects and assignments.
The Faculty's Graduate School was established in 2005. Its main purpose is to foster an active graduate community, encompassing students on postgraduate taught courses and students undertaking research degrees. There are currently around 700 postgraduate students (400 attending and 300 distance learning) on taught courses, and about 40 postgraduate research students. The Graduate School has dedicated space in the Faculty's building on the main campus, with teaching accommodation, a kitchen and informal areas. The work of the Graduate School is based on the Faculty's extensive research programmes, and on the innovativeness and high quality of its teaching.
The UK and international property markets have become more sophisticated in terms of occupier, investor and developer activity and it is increasingly symbiotic with financial markets. Consequently employers are looking for strategic and financial skills as well as real estate skills.
Commercial real estate makes a big contribution to the economy both as a resource for the production of goods and services and as an investment asset. A full understanding of the economy and society demands an understanding of the property market.
Real estate can be classified according to its function:
A development opportunity
The development of new buildings alters the environment in terms of aesthetics, social interaction and the use of resources. Property development decisions must therefore be made in the context of public and private costs and benefits. The ability to advise on development opportunities requires a thorough understanding of the needs of business occupiers – there space requirements, where they would like to locate their business, how much they would be willing to pay to occupy property, whether they wish to buy or rent their business premises. The requirements of investors both in terms of financing the development of new buildings and the purchase of properties let to businesses must also be appreciated. Government regulation of development in the form of environment and planning legislation must be understood. This programme will deliver the specialist real estate skills required to allow tactical and strategic advice to be given in a development situation. This will include a balanced analysis in the areas of finance, development and investment appraisal.
A factor of production
Business property in all its forms facilitates economic activity, whether factories, warehouses, offices, shops, leisure facilities, etc. Each business must decide how much they type, style and size of the space they need and where it should be located. These decisions are constrained by the price of business space and this price can either be an annual cost or a single initial acquisition depending on whether the business decides to rent or buy. Companies also use their property assets to raise capital to fund their business activities. Increasingly the requirement for business space is being questioned as organisations rationalise their resources. Space planning, facilities management, tele-working and hot-desking are viewed as viable alternatives to the traditional working environment in the retail, office and industrial sectors of the real estate market. To provide advice to clients from an occupier's perspective requires knowledge of financial and management techniques, the use of information technology in the business environment, and advanced property and estate management methods. Surveyors must be aware of changing requirements from property as shorter leases and more flexible work-space in order to advise on the strategic use of real estate.
An investment medium
Much of the country's wealth is tied up in real estate, mainly residential but also commercial property. Pension funds, insurance companies and professional investors hold major portfolios of commercial property. Property provides an alternative investment opportunity to equities and bonds and bringing property into an investment portfolio may reduce the risks faced by investors. Property investment is increasingly international and the ways in which investors can invest in property are increasingly diverse.
The place for real estate in any investment portfolio is justified using increasingly sophisticated appraisal techniques. Such techniques have been used to appraise other investment media for a number of years and are now frequently applied to the appraisal of real estate investment opportunities in order to provide comparative measures of performance. It is vital that real estate investment advisers and analysts are capable of applying these techniques to the appraisal of real estate investments, understanding their application and being aware of their limitations.
Real estate then is diverse and this means that, on the one and, its study draws on a wide range of academic disciplines including economics, finance, law, management and geography, but on the other hand the result is the opportunity to work in a wide choice of areas including planning, development, investment, property management and valuation. The MA Real Estate Management equips students with the skills to embark on these career paths. The course caters for students new to the study of real estate and those seeking to develop their existing knowledge in this area. The course provides students with a research-based academic knowledge and practice-based skills and techniques.
The Faculty has an expanding portfolio of local, national and international research activities. At any one time the Research Centres have 50 to 60 active research projects and the annual external income from research exceeds £1 million.
This research is fed back into teaching as many of the research staff run modules and supervise dissertations.
The Faculty also has excellent links with local, regional, national and international employers and this helps a very high percentage of students find relevant employment either before or soon after graduating. Many employers visit the University during the first semester and the University offers a careers service for advice and support with applications. Recent graduates have been recruited by DTZ, Taylor Woodrow, GVA Grimley, Persimmon Homes, Jones Lang Lasalle, Nelson Bakewell, Atis Real, King Sturge, Colliers CRE, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, CBRE, Donaldsons and Mouchal Parkmanin the private sector, The Audit Commission, Planning Inspectorate, Defence Estates, Devon and Cornwall Police Estates, various local authorities and housing associations in the public sector, and by corporates such as Somerfield. It also means that we can call upon expert practitioners to contribute to lectures and seminars. We have formalised some of these links by awarding Honorary Doctorates and appointing Visiting Research Fellows and Professorships to eminent individuals.
The Masters is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means that once the taught modules have been completed, students can begin work and, after two years of qualifying practice and completion of the dissertation, can take the Assessment of Professional Competence. If successful they become fully qualified Chartered Surveyors.
Course learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
-Apply contemporary financial appraisal techniques to provide detailed analysis and strategic advice to real estate occupiers and investors, demonstrating an in-depth knowledge
-Apply management techniques which affect real estate and be able to advise clients on the implications of these external factors
-Demonstrate transferable, cognitive, interpersonal and management skills that are required for advanced careers in real estate
-Execute a research-based approach to problem-solving and decision-making in real estate
-Judge and evaluate the quality (validity, reliability and generality) of evidence which is used to support claims about theory and current problems in practice
-Demonstrate an understanding of methodologies applicable to their own research
-Appreciate the complexity of policy issues and the role of values in their definition and solution
-Tolerate and operate within an environment of uncertainty
-Formulate, present and debate complex ideas and engage with contested concepts
-Reflect on their own educational progress and professional practice
-Demonstrate originality in the use and application of research
-Demonstrate the acquisition of such real estate management professional skills as specified in the module learning outcomes
-Critically evaluate, select and use analytical and problem-solving techniques and frameworks to support effective managerial decision making in complex and unpredictable situations
-Demonstrate a client focus and a critical understanding of relationships with a range of stakeholders in order to make sound judgements in the absence of complete data
-Communicate and present complex material effectively in both written and oral forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
-Initiate and manage the research process, utilising appropriate technologies
-Work effectively in teams
-Act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
-Self-direct and manage independent learning, exercising initiative and taking personal responsibility
"The course content, whilst specifically centred around the RICS's academic requirements, also offers a wide variety of content. For someone like myself, being a trainee building surveyor, it has been tremendously insightful in a wider professional context, offering the opportunity to extend and diversify my current skills and knowledge and ultimately propose greater career choice" Chris, graduate 2005.
For full-time students teaching is over two semesters; the first starts in October and ends in December with an assessment period in January, the second runs from February to April with an assessment period in May. There is a field trip in the second semester and several modules include site visits. The dissertation can be submitted in November or the following April. For part-time students, the taught programme spans two years with additional time for the dissertation. In the case of part-time study, work experience in support of RICS assessment can start as soon as the student is enrolled on the course.
The course itself comprises 180 credits which can be taken in full-time mode over one year or in part-time mode over two years. Each of the eight modules is 15 credits and the dissertation is 60 credits.
Teaching staff are actively engaged in research or professional practice, ensuring that students learn directly from the latest academic and business developments. Staff also lead projects to enhance teaching, learning and assessment strategies, web communication systems, inter-professional team building and to develop students' research skills.
Teaching methods are varied depending on the module; lectures, project work and tutorials all have a part. Flexible, open-learning techniques are employed, much of the material supplied for each module is done so over the internet and each module has its own web-page. The Faculty has invested in online and offline computer-based resources to support modules, and especially those offered by distance learning. You also have access to a vast number of journals and databases online through the Bristol UWE library. The library and some computer labs on campus are open 24 hours, and the Faculty's suite of computer rooms supports software for word processing, data analysis, spatial analysis, computer aided design and other specialist software required by our students.
Students are encouraged to do 'formative work' to prepare for assessments: this does not count towards final marks but the feedback received helps improve performance. Support is available for students who have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills.
Assessment is achieved through a balance of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January or May/June. Coursework will be a variety of essays, reports, surveys or presentations.
Schedule of modules
Modules are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, so some of them may change before the course starts or whilst you are on it, but the overall aims and broad content of the course will remain the same.
Module Leader – Danny Myers
The module is designed to provide students with an introduction to a broad range of economic concepts. These have been selected to assist with the general understanding of business decisions, government policy and environmental questions, as well as specifically informing the process of real estate appraisal and development.
Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation
Module Leader – Dr Peter Wyatt
This module examines the criteria on which property investment decisions are based, distinguishes property valuation and appraisal techniques, encourages students to appreciate the shortcomings of traditional methods of property valuation and appraisal and considers contemporary alternatives. The module considers valuations from the occupier, investor and developer perspectives.
Research for Policy and Practice
Module Leader – Dr Christine Lambert
This module explores the debates surrounding the approaches to research and develops skills in analysis and the formulation of research proposals and methods. The module provides a framework for enquiry to be used throughout the programme and in practice and is essential preparation for the dissertation.
Organisational Analysis and Change
Module Leaders – Penny Jones, Phil Kirk and Sarah Mackey
This module provides an introduction to organisational analysis and behaviour and the international and comparative dimensions of organisation enquiry. The module will enable you to reflect upon your own roles and experiences within organisations and is assessed though a supervised mini-project.
Finance for Managers
Module Leader – Nic Apostolides
This module provides an introduction to management accounting techniques by use of illustrative workshops and computer spreadsheets. The following skills will be developed: interpretation of financial statements, evaluation of company performance, investment appraisal, budgetary analysis, investment performance measurement.
Real Estate Planning and Development
Module Leader – Prof Stephen Walker
This module will enable students to: understand and evaluate the competing demands of commercial development and the planning system; acquire a sound understanding of the policy process which shapes the planning system and which acts as a framework for development; apply a balanced analysis of the financial appraisal techniques to a development proposal; evaluate occupier requirements in relation to building design and strategic use of real estate development; analyse the influence of environment and sustainable development issues on the planning and development process.
Property Investment Management
Module Leader – Mutale Katyoka
This module aims to provide an overview of the Theory and Practice of the management of investment and operational assets, to acquire a sound understanding of Modern Portfolio Theory and its relevance and applicability in contemporary investment and property management practice and to apply property valuation and appraisal techniques to strategic and tactical decision making within the context of a property portfolio.
Strategic Estate Management and Property Law
Module Leader – Stuart Powlesland
The recession of the early 1990s reinforced the importance of property management in corporations. As a result practitioners are sought who have wider experience of the built environment and business, and opportunities are increasing in this field from financial, investment and occupational sectors. The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of organisational theory, corporate structures and the application of advanced management techniques (facilities, space planning and resource management). The module provides an insight into areas of law that a real estate practitioner can expect to encounter. This includes the legal areas of contract, tort, land law and landlord and tenant. The module will provide the student with the ability to understand the requirements for contracts, remedies, negligence and statutes governing rights of landlords and tenants.
Module Leader – Ron Griffiths
The dissertation aims to: provide experience of advanced independent enquiry, working near the boundaries of current knowledge; develop a capacity to engage in sustained, rigorous enquiry; develop higher level skills of research design, project management and communication; foster a critical attitude towards the design and use of research in practice-orientated settings