Real Estate - BSc (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Download the course factsheet
UCAS Code:
For part-time please apply direct to the University.
BSc (Hons)
  • Full Time (3 years)
  • Part Time (5 years)
  • Sandwich (4 years)
Birmingham School of the Built Environment
City Centre

This course is accredited by:

Exemption towards the Home Inspectors Award

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Especially relevant for the would-be chartered surveyor in the current market, this course offers a detailed study of the built environment alongside an expert analysis of the acquisition, disposal, management and valuation of land and buildings. It is professionally accredited, benefits from close links with industry, and thoroughly prepares you for the enormously varied work of a general practice surveyor.

The average starting salary of a graduate of the Birmingham School of the Built Environment is £24,600 (DLHE 2012/13)

What's covered in the course?

The course gives you the skills to respond effectively and resourcefully to problems of land-use allocation, development appraisal, and property investment and management.

Addressing the realities and challenges of the current market, you look in depth at legal and development issues, and cover aspects such as law, valuation, and property investment. Your modules also investigate economics, technology, services, professional skills and surveying.

A study of marketing, business management and economics gives a solid contemporary business base to specialist topics. Final-year modules give you the crucial ability to think independently, critically analyse and evaluate information and express your thoughts coherently and professionally.

After successful completion, and before you can apply to become a Chartered Surveyor, you need to work for a Chartered Surveyor and study for the Assessment of Professional Competence qualification.

“Birmingham City University was the best university for what I wanted to study to become a property surveyor. The work was really great and I really enjoyed learning the theory, especially the law.”
Lisa Hastilow

Why Choose Us?

  • With full accreditation by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the course allows you to progress to the further study needed to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor.
  • You gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire development building process, alongside a solid awareness of environmental and planning procedures.
  • You will benefit from the opportunities to network and develop professional contacts through our strong links with industry.
  • You have the chance to undertake research for an industry client through the inter-professional project, delivered in conjunction with Birmingham City Council.
  • You enjoy a programme shaped by the requirements of the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence, thus improving your employability and facilitating rapid career progression.
  • Strong links with employers allow you to apply what you learn in a practical context through work placement opportunities. You will use industry-standard facilities and learn the latest skills. See below for a video illustrating some of the exciting placement opportunities we have on offer.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.

GCE A-level/ AS-level BBC at Alevel or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS level with a minimum of 2 A-levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including with a minimum of 12 credits achieved from any units awarded at Merit or Distinction
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 280 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Highers
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Unconditional Offers 2015/16

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2015/16 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

  • 300 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
  • or
  • be predicted DDM profile at BTEC level

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 30 points
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

Learn more about BCUIC

Additional Requirements

As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.

This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.

How to Apply

Full Time

Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: N230.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

Part Time

The first two years of all our undergraduate part-time routes are delivered as the HNC Construction. Once you achieve this interim qualification with a good merit profile, you then join the degree programme for a further three years. If you are considering part-time study, please first apply to the HNC Construction.

If you have already obtained a HNC qualification (or similar level of study), we may consider you for advanced entry onto the degree course and you should apply using the application form link below:

Online application for UK or EU students
Sep 2015 BSc (Hons) Part Time (5 years)

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BSc (Hons) £9,000 per year
Sep 2015 PT 5 years BSc (Hons) £775 per 15 credit module (HNC years 1 and 2); £1,125 per 15 credit module (undergraduate degree years 3-5)
Sep 2015 SW 4 years BSc (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BSc (Hons) £11,500 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Sandwich year

Where a full-time undergraduate student opts to extend the normal length of a Bachelor’s degree by an additional year in order to take a full-year work placement there will be no fee for the additional placement year.

Additional costs

You will be required to buy an essential text for use in exams and tests. Although hi-vis vests and hard hats are loaned to you, a pair of safety boots for site inspections is a necessary personal purchase, allow £50-£60 for these items. We are also proposing a field trip at the end of the second year.

Awards and Scholarships

Study with us, and we will give you the opportunity to go above and beyond your degree and take part in a number of award schemes and competitions, or access relevant scholarshipsScholarships include opportunities like the Building Birmingham Scholarship, which provides financial support for Birmingham residents who want to study relevant degree courses.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally–recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Open Days

Our next University-wide Open Day is on Saturday 20 June 2015. Registration will open Spring 2015 but in the meantime, why not sign up to BCYou! and receive email updates about the University.

Our Open Days provide you with the perfect opportunity to visit the University and discover just what we have to offer.

You can learn more about our courses, great teaching and links with leading employers - as well as our £260 million investment in facilities.

There is a non-stop programme of events and activities running throughout the day, so we recommend that you arrive at 9am to ensure you get the most out of the day.

Who is it for?

The day will cover all levels of study but is predominantly for undergraduate courses.

20 June Open Day

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

100% of 2012/13 graduates were in full-time work within six months of graduation (DLHE 2012/13)

Our graduates have found employment with utilities services, in private practice, commercial organisations, local and central government. They have undertaken a wide variety of work, including domestic, commercial and industrial projects. General Practice Surveyors might find themselves advising clients on commercial and residential agency, property valuation, property management, investment, planning and development.

Typical roles include:

  • Agents
  • Property referencers
  • Valuers
  • Development appraisers
  • Investment valuers and agents
  • Rating surveyors
  • Management surveyors
  • Planning and development surveyors
  • Property marketers
  • Consultant assistants
  • VOA 'cadets'
  • Portfolio and fund managers

Graduate employers include: Birmingham Property Services, the VOA, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, GVA, Colliers International, Jones Lang LaSalle, DTZ, Lambert Smith Hampton, Savills, Knight Frank, Harris Lamb, Cottons, Gerald Eve, Bruton Knowles, Vail Williams, Deloitte RE, John Shepherd, CPBigwood, Chivers Commercial, Picton Jones and Edward Symmons LLP.

Professional Development

Our innovative collaboration with Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design Team means you can gain work experience, work on key individual research projects, gain technical application skills, as well as win excellence awards and contribute to projects influencing future council policy.

A key part of the course is the Inter-professional Project - a final year module in which you apply the skills you have developed over your course to a live project for an industry client. Our students’ recommendations have informed council policy and the design of high-profile developments. The video below illustrates some of the real-world skills you can gain from the Inter-professional Project.


Excellent links with industry employers provide opportunities for voluntary work placements and permanent career opportunities.

Students have been found internships or work placements at companies such as CBRE, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, GVA, Knight Frank and Savills.

The delivery of the course is complemented by a range of visits to sites where you will be able to appreciate theory in context.

Full details on industry placement opportunities can be found on the School placements page. To get a taste of the exciting work experience opportunities you can enjoy with major employers, see our video on Willmott Dixon placements.

Further Studies

You will be encouraged to progress to postgraduate study within the school, which provides a range of relevant Master’s courses. Details can be found on the courses section of the website.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

86.8 per cent of leavers from the Birmingham School of Built Environment who responded to our survey entered employment (and/or further study), earning an average full-time salary of £22,000. Employers hiring leavers from the School include the Amey Plc. and Bovis Homes, offering positions such as Quantity Surveyor and Architectural Technologist. Other graduates have secured roles with Laing O’Rourke, Currie and Brown, Taylor Wimpey, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Birmingham City Council, Thomas Vale Construction, Bigwood Associates, and NHBC.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

This course is aimed at you if you are interested in the study of the built environment and in the acquisition, disposal, management and valuation of land and buildings. Essentially ‘real estate’ is about land and property. The work of a general practice surveyor does not represent a traditional nine-to-five occupation and, by the very nature of the profession, the work is enormously varied.

“The high level of staff commitment to the student experience is quite evident and witnessed in positive student feedback.”
External examiner, BSc Real Estate

The course has been designed to enable you to understand and solve problems of land-use allocation, appraisal and management. There is a strong emphasis on legal and development issues. The course introduces modules covering law, valuation, property development, business management, economics, technology services, mapping and surveying, and marketing and management. The course also equips you with a working knowledge of Sustainable Development. The comprehensive study project will allow you the opportunity to develop the theory and practice you learn in the real world.

Once you graduate, you will have a thorough knowledge of the entire building process as well as a broad understanding of environmental and planning procedures. After completion of this course, should you want to be employed in the property market, it will be necessary for you to work for a Chartered Surveyor and study for the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) qualification, before applying to become a Chartered Surveyor. This course provides exemptions towards the Home Inspectors award.

Course Modules

Year 1
Professional Practice Project 30 Credits
Real Estate Economics 15 Credits
Business and Accounting 15 Credits
Building Construction and Inspection 15 Credits
Principles of Valuation 15 Credits
Law for the Built Environment 15 Credits
Professional Practice Project 1 15 Credits
Year 2
Professional Practice Project 2 15 Credits
Planning and Development Appraisal 15 Credits
Residential Surveying 15 Credits
Law for Property and Planning 15 Credits
Landlord and Tenant Law Practice 15 Credits
Applied Valuation 15 Credits
Property Investment and Finance 15 Credits
Professional Practice Project 3 15 Credits
Year 3
Inter Professional Project 15 Credits
Corporate Real Estate Management 15 Credits
Portfolio Decision Making 15 Credits
Professional Practice and Managerial Skills 15 Credits
Advanced Applied Valuation 15 Credits
Valuation and Law 15 Credits
Honours Research Project 30 Credits

Part-time students are on the HNC route for two years and after successful completion, students will join the level 5 undergraduate programme.

Assessment Methods

The range of assessment methods adopted includes continuous coursework assessment, presentations and reports as well as examinations.

Matthew Smith

Programme Leader

Matthew is a Senior Lecturer in the Birmingham School of the Built Environment. He is Course Director for BSc (Hons) Real Estate.

Before joining Birmingham City University he worked for Colliers Bigwood and Bewlay, Chesterton plc and King Sturge & Co. in the fields of agency, insolvency and compulsory purchase but mostly in valuation and development appraisal.

Lisa Hastilow

Lisa has been working for leading global property advisor and surveying practice Jones Lang LaSalle since September 2008 and is training to become a Member of the RICS by sitting her Assessment of Professional Competence.

Birmingham City University was the best university for what I wanted to study to become a property surveyor. The work was really great and I really enjoyed learning the theory, especially the law. I was fortunate enough to win the regional Women in Property award in 2007 and was featured in the Property Week industry journal and the local newspaper.

I loved the course, the lecturers and the general atmosphere, and I made some great friends who I regularly keep in touch with. The work was hard but extremely rewarding. I always felt completely at ease in the campus and I always felt that if I needed any help regarding anything at all, there were people I could go and talk to who would listen and care.

The night life is great! There's lots to do and see, and even though I lived at home during my three years, I regularly stayed with friends, which was great fun. Birmingham is a great city and I really felt like I was in the thick of the excitement and activity, which was a real buzz.

Karolina Mucha

Property student Karolina has been delighted to find just how many local movers and shakers in the property industry learned their skills here at the University…

“I was recently invited to attend a networking event,” says Karolina, “where many of the property professionals from the local area gathered to discuss various aspects of the property industry. It was with great pleasure that I realised, after talking to several attendees of the event, that the majority of them studied at and graduated from Birmingham City University. After graduating, they all pursued a very successful career in the property industry and now enjoy a strong position within the property sector.”

It’s a discovery that’s filled Karolina with confidence – both in the quality of her education and in her prospects. Our alumni network is a fantastic way to make valuable contacts and so many of our graduates are keen to help the next generation of students learn and develop. “This experience made me feel proud of being a student at the Birmingham City University,” says Karolina. “I feel now that after I graduate I have good prospects in pursuing a successful career in the property industry.”

Rachel Hill

Ambitious Rachel Hill made the most of her 12-month sandwich placement – before graduating with first class honours. Her work placement not only equipped her with the hands-on experience to impress employers, but also counted towards a valuable professional qualification.

A head start with RICS accreditation

Rachel started as a Graduate Surveyor at GVA in 2008. After qualifying as a RICS member in May 2009, she’s now a Chartered Surveyor within the National Markets – Land and Development team. Rachel believes that the RICS-accredited course’s practical emphasis – both in scenario-based coursework and her placement - was a key factor in her success. “It prepared me for the challenges of working in private practice as a graduate,” she says.

A head start with real work experience

Rachel’s work placement was a great help in completing her final year – and in gaining her exceptional marks. “I had the benefit of the additional experience of working within the industry and understanding how the skills learnt could be put into practice in the workplace,” says Rachel.

A head start with professional certification

It’s also been the perfect way to show employers what she’s made of. Rachel was able to work towards her Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) before completing her degree, as the placement experience counted towards the first 12 months of her APC diary. “Being able to show to prospective employers that I had completed the first year of my APC and had experience in the industry also put me in good stead for graduate jobs once I had completed my degree,” she says.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

Facilities supporting your studies reflect the work environment you will enter; these include surveying equipment, true to life documentation and a computer-generated Virtual Suite.

Exemption towards the Home Inspectors Award

This course provides you exemption towards the Home Inspectors Award.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – a preferred route for those looking to eventually qualify (with further study) as a Chartered Surveyor.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

Further Information

For general enquiries, please contact Birmingham School of the Built Environment as follows:

Birmingham School of the Built Environment
Birmingham City University
Millennium Point
Curzon Street
B4 7XG

Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5400
Email: BSBE