The Sol Price School of Public Policy is offering a new bachelor of science degree in real estate development this semester. Price is offering the new undergraduate degree almost 30 years after it became an industry leader by founding one of the first graduate real estate development programs in the country in 1986.Director Christian Redfearn emphasized the importance of wanting to “change the culture of real estate.” Redfearn expressed his interest in opening up 21st century educational opportunities to undergraduates.“We wanted a larger real estate community. The world has changed and [the real estate] industry has changed so much,” he said. “We sat down and talked to potential employers in the field and created an academic plan to submit to the dean which was approved. We are [still] tweaking — we took the building blocks from the graduate program and asked, ‘How do we build around them?’”Associate Director Sonia Savoulian said the bachelor of science degree intends to introduce students to the world of real estate development.“[The undergraduate program is] much more about laying a foundation, while the master’s in real estate development is really more about adding advanced training intended to be for people who have already been working in the [real estate development] field,” she said.Specifically the undergraduate program starts with a broader prerequisite track than the more advanced and specified master’s program. The undergraduate real estate development program also relies heavily on finance and accounting training, while the undergraduate policy, planning and development relies heavily on courses related to policy and governance issues.Redfearn believes that the undergraduate program provides a well-rounded approach in preparing not only graduate students but also undergraduates for the rigors of the real estate profession. Redfearn stressed the fact that the undergraduate real estate development program should rely heavily on an interdisciplinary tradition.“We want to produce really good thinkers. [Our program] is not finance and it’s not architecture — it’s a very interdisciplinary degree,” he said. “Many students don’t realize the large range of subjects and issues that are covered by real estate development.”Redfaern said it is crucial for students to be able to synthesize large amounts of information.“There are all of these trends — you are essentially making a bet on the area and the city [at large],” he said. “I want our students to consider the bigger picture.”Savoulian reinforced the importance of the bigger picture the real estate development major takes into account.“Our students are curious about the nature of cities,” Savoulian said. “While financial knowledge is important, in the big picture, they want to play a role in creating places in cities, they want to understand the urban context.”Samantha Schroff, a freshman majoring in real estate development, said she was drawn to the new program because of her diverse interests.“I had so many varied interests in real estate, business, finance, community service and philanthropy, and I really had no clue how I was going to be able to bring them all together,” she said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “And then I attended the Price reception on Admitted Student Day, and Professor Redfearn and Managing Director Sonia Savoulian, announced the real estate development bachelor of science [degree]. I felt a huge sense of relief and excitement because the [program] just really seemed to fit all of my criteria and was going to be able to join all of my diverse interests into one cohesive program of study.”At the beginning of the semester, Redfearn took the new students in the program to explore downtown Los Angeles.“We took 25 incoming undergrads on a tour,” Redfearn said. “We started at Grand Park, [and] we talked about the role of public transit in cities. We visited the real estate property manager for the L.A. Times, [and] we thought about why Whole Foods is coming downtown and the demographics of cities. By the end of the day, 25 students who thought they knew what real estate was were blown away. We raised their awareness.”Schroff said the tour reinforced her decision to pursue the new degree.“It was awesome to see how planning, finance, city leaders and real estate professionals all come together to work on a development project, and it is neat to see how DTLA is having a revitalization similar to downtown Santa Ana in Orange County,” she said.