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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- University of Utah will soon begin offering a master's degree in real estate development.
The state Board of Regents approved the change on Friday. The approval of the real estate development program will allow the school to begin marketing the degree and enrolling students.
"If you look to the past, one of the main drivers of Utah's economy has been the construction industry," said Scott Schaefer, associate dean for academic affairs at the university's David Eccles School of Business.
Schaefer, also an economist, said Utah's recession is "just a speed bump."
When the state's construction business picks back up again, the school plans to help meet an expected demand for those who understand private and commercial real estate development.
Jonathan Ellsworth, a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in city and metropolitan planning, may be one of the first to sign up. There hasn't been much work in that field and he's been working in a downtown consulting office writing environmental surveys for future developments.
"I didn't feel like (my degree) fulfilled my dreams," he said.
He hopes to finish the master's program as the economy picks up.
The University of Utah will be among a small number of schools that offer a master's degree in real estate development. Others include Massachusetts Institute of technology, Arizona State University, Clemson University and Columbia University.
The Ivory-Boyer Real Estate Center opened two years ago at the university. It's biggest venture has been the Utah Real Estate Challenge, a statewide collegiate competition that offers a $20,000 prize for teams that develop new development strategies.
Information from: Deseret News
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)