The real estate program in the Craig School of Business at Fresno State is small — two faculty members and about 25 students. But it’s making a big name for itself.

The Fresno State bachelor of science degree in business administration with a real estate and urban land economics option is one of the top 34 leading real estate programs in the country, according to Commercial Property Executive and Multi-Housing News.

The program is listed in the online resource’s “2019 Leading Schools for Real Estate” index along with programs that are similar in size, between 20 and 40 students, such as Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business; John Marshall Law School’s Center for Real Estate Law; and the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

“We must be doing something right,” said Dr. Andres Jauregui, associate professor and director for the Gazarian Real Estate Center at the Craig School of Business.

“Real Estate is a growing industry with multiple job opportunities for students with multiple sets of skills. Fresno State’s courses provide the basic understandings of how the real estate industry functions, which is particularly attractive to many companies.”

The real estate option, housed in the Department of Finance and Business Law, is rooted in business but teaches students real estate principles and practices including real estate finances, economics and law. Upon graduation, students have enough credits to take their real estate license or broker license exam or continue to graduate school.

“There are not a lot of real estate programs where students can go and get the credits necessary for the real estate license and a full understanding of what the real estate market is,” Jauregui said. “We offer that.”

The program works closely with the Gazarian Real Estate Center at Fresno State, which was established in 2006 with a gift by Dr. Arnold and Dianne Gazarian. The center gives students opportunities to apply their knowledge to real-world projects and experiences. It also provides information on the real estate market to the broader community and sponsors conferences, seminars and workshops in real estate and land use.

Recent graduate Mustafa Ali of Hanford, 42, is grateful for the relationships he built and the networking opportunities he got through the program. Ali comes from a family of real estate investors, and he was a small business owner. In his mid-30s, he decided he needed a college degree.

Ali chose to major in business and leaned toward accounting until he learned about the real estate option and the benefits of learning his way around the industry. Ali got his broker’s license and now works as an independent real estate broker. Even if real estate isn’t one’s primary career, it’s a good back up career, he said.

“I had a really great experience,” Ali said. “These professors go out of their way to prepare you better for what you’re going to deal with in the real world and try to pass as much knowledge on you as they can.”