Penn State Smeal adds two STEM master's in corporate finance, real estate

Penn State Smeal Business Building  Credit: Jennifer Neal / Penn StateCreative Commons

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is offering two new accelerated master’s programs designed to address growing demand in the marketplace and give postgraduate students greater flexibility in customizing their academic plans to match their career goals.

The Master of Science in Real Estate Analysis and Development is a one-year residential program for students seeking a career in commercial real estate. The Master of Corporate Finance is a one-year residential program designed to prepare students for finance-related roles within organizations. The objective of both offerings is to enable graduates to advance more quickly in their careers by arming them with the specific skills needed in those fields.

“We’re very excited about these new programs and the unique positions they fill in the marketplace. The Master in Corporate Finance is one of the few finance programs in the country with a focus on corporate finance, and the MS in Real Estate Analysis and Development has a heavy emphasis on analytics and analysis designed to meet a growing need,” said Brian Cameron, associate dean for professional graduate programs at Smeal. “Plus both programs have a STEM designation, which benefits all participants and lengthens U.S.-based career opportunities for our international students.”

The STEM designation allows international students enrolled in either program to secure a two-year Optional Practical Training work permit extension beyond the standard 12-month post completion work permit.

The first class for both will begin in the summer of 2019 and each degree program can be completed in a little more than two semesters on the University Park campus. Students in both will gain a broad core of knowledge in their chosen specialty; analytical and critical thinking skills; interpersonal skills needed for effective leadership roles; and the ability to evaluate the ethical and societal implications of corporate decisions in their respective fields.

Brian Davis, clinical associate professor of finance and the faculty director for the Master of Corporate Finance program, said it’s designed for students coming from undergraduate disciplines other than finance — anything from marketing to supply chain to economics to engineering — who are interested in a career in business.  

“One of the important things that is perhaps a niche for Penn State is we are not requiring any extensive prerequisites for a student to be considered for the Master of Corporate Finance program,” Davis said. “We will start with the basics of finance, and we will build on those basics and prepare you for a job in corporate finance.”

The MS in Real Estate Analysis and Development was carefully designed to set students up for career success by a real estate faculty at Penn State that is renowned for its research and industry connections.

“We found that many career opportunities in real estate now require the specific analytic skills that you can obtain from a true Master of Science or even doctoral-level programs,” said Brent Ambrose, director of the Institute for Real Estate Studies at Penn State and the faculty director of the new specialty master’s program. “Graduates from our program will master a number of analytic tools and techniques that allow them to analyze large institutional real estate projects, investments in commercial real estate developments, and carry out intricate real estate research programs.”

The prestige of earning an advanced degree targeting specialized market needs is amplified by the degree coming from Smeal, which is routinely ranked among the best business schools in the nation. While separate from the Smeal MBA, the two new degrees share that program’s world-class faculty and overlap in core credits with two other Smeal specialty master’s programs — the Master of Accounting (MAcc) and Master of Management and Organizational Leadership (MOL) — giving students a wide variety of options for customizing a set of advanced degrees that will diversify their skill sets and accelerate their careers.

“Both programs are part of our rapidly expanding and integrated portfolio of resident and online professional master’s programs and graduate certificates,” Cameron said. “The integration of this portfolio allows for many curricular options and specializations that provide a unique set of options not seen at other universities.”

Program applications will be available in Spring 2019. In the meantime, interested students may contact the program directly at or

Last Updated January 15, 2019