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AI Master's Degree Program


What is the AI Master's Degree Program

Established in 1987, the Appraisal Institute Master’s Degree Program (MDP) offers individuals pursuing a master's degree (typically an MBA with a concentration in real estate, or an MSRE or MRED) at an AI-affiliated university to earn an MAI designation based equivalency credit for some or all the prerequisite education needed for Designated membership.

Note: course credit varies on the program from where the Student Affiliate earned the graduate degree, so certain AI courses may need to be completed. Please contact AI staff for a detailed chart that outlines equivalency credit for a specific graduate program affiliated with AI. 


Individuals become eligible to join the Appraisal Institute Master’s Degree Program (MDP) when they enroll in a master’s degree program university affiliated with AI and join as either Student Affiliates or Practicing Affiliates.

Practicing Affiliates are individuals interested in affiliation with the Appraisal Institute but are not ready/eligible to pursue Designated membership. Open to all valuers of real property including those seeking licensure or certification. (Category for: certified real property appraisers, licensed appraisers, trainee/registered/provisional appraisers, appraisal reviewers, tax assessors, or anyone considered a valuer of real property.

The Practicing Affiliate Category: An Overview of Affiliation with AI

Student Affiliates are college, university, or high school students who do not practice real property valuation.

The Benefits of Becoming Affiliated 

AI MDP Student Affiliate and Practicing Affiliate benefits include:

  • No annual dues while in pursuance of a graduate degree at one of the AI-affiliated universities.
  • Affiliation with a local chapter, where individuals can network with professionals in the appraisal industry.
  • AI discounts on education and publications without having to pay the annual Appraisal Institute national dues.
  • Insights, Perspectives, and Appraiser News Online (ANO) e-Newsletter at no cost (electronic versions).
  • Complimentary digital subscriptions to The Appraisal Journal and Valuation magazine.
  • Access to the Appraisal Institute Lum Library and research services.
  • The possibility of earning an AI designation.
  • Access to additional AI Benefits.

Note: Individuals who practice real property valuation must enter the Practicing Affiliate category upon initial admission to the Appraisal Institute. Practicing Affiliates are subject to AI Continuing Education requirements.

Is My University Affiliated? 

Click Below to Find Out! 


What Happens Once I Graduate?

Upon graduation, please submit official transcripts to AI Admissions—which will assist with the transition into one of three categories: Practicing Affiliate, Affiliate, or Candidate for Designation (depending on eligibility).

If a Student Affiliate or Practicing Affiliate is eligible and opts into the Candidate for Designation program, he/she will receive AI equivalency credit for some or all of the graduate program coursework (depending on the university) and may then pursue the prestigious MAI designation on an accelerated Candidate path. 

To earn the MAI designation, AI MDP graduates must:

A master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation may satisfy the General Demonstration of Knowledge requirement for MAI Designated membership. The thesis or dissertation must meet requirements outlined in The Official Guide to the Demonstration of Knowledge Requirement: General.

Note: If an individual is already a graduate of a program at one of the AI-affiliated universities, contact before applying to the Candidate for Designation program to discuss appropriate equivalency credit and eligibility.

Additional Guidelines for MDP Students

  1. Note: effective January 1, 2023, individuals seeking AI Designated membership who are not already Candidates for Designation, must complete all prerequisite education prior to entering the Candidate for Designation program (for new or readmitting individuals who are not currently Candidates). AI Admissions recommends these individuals enter the Practicing Affiliate category while completing all prerequisite education. For more information, please visit: Practicing Affiliate Overview.
  2. Please be sure to follow the exact course equivalencies listed on the university’s approved equivalency chart to receive equivalencies towards prerequisite education, including qualifying education. University courses must be passed/completed to receive equivalency credit for the prerequisite courses.
  3. If there is qualifying education on the approved university equivalency chart that does not have an equivalency, AI Admissions recommends the completion course(s) and passing of exam(s) through the Appraisal Institute.
  4. Failure to graduate with a master’s degree from an AI-affiliated university is the forfeiture of equivalency credit. Equivalency credit via an accelerated path to designation is only awarded to those who successfully complete their approved master's degree program.
  5. Please stay in touch with AI Admissions throughout the graduate program studies! AI Admissions will also reach out periodically throughout the year, and  upon nearing graduation, AI staff can help determine next steps. AI Admissions is here to answer any questions or address any concerns. Success in the master’s degree program is a top priority for AI Admissions!

AI Scholarships

The Appraisal Institute Education & Relief Foundation (AIERF) offers numerous scholarships to Candidates for Designation, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing degrees in the real estate field. Course credit varies on the program and an individual may need to take certain AI courses to obtain the designation, so AI Admissions encourage an individual to apply for an AIERF scholarship!

Universities Not Affiliated with AI

AI Admissions is happy to discuss affiliation with other universities, so please contact AI staff! But in the meantime, AI staff will gladly review graduate coursework from a program unaffiliated with the AI MDP to determine possible credit earned via an MBA (concentration in finance, real estate, or real property economics), MSRE, or MRED.

Launching An Appraisal Career

Here are some key tips to help launch an appraisal career. Check for the following with the state.

  1. If seeking state licensure as an appraiser, contact the state’s regulatory appraisal agency to determine the licensing requirements in the state(s) in which planning to practice.
    • If taking courses through the Appraisal Institute, please verify that they are approved by the state(s) where seeking licensure.
    • Verify if the state accepts online education or if it requires classroom-only education. 
    • If the state requires becoming a trainee, find out how many hours are needed to work under an appraiser before becoming certified and working independently.
    • Ask if any graduate or undergraduate coursework qualifies for equivalency credit towards the state’s licensing requirements.
  2. Visit the Become an Appraiser webpage for information on course packages, licensing, and education requirements for different levels of licensure.
  3. AI Admissions strongly recommends working as an appraiser trainee before entering the Candidate for Designation program to gain experience hours. One of the MAI designation requirements is the submission of 4,500 hours of specialized experience, so it’s good practice to gain experience hours while working towards completing all of the designation requirements.
  4. Prior to becoming an appraiser trainee, find a supervisor/trainer (a state certified general real property appraiser) who will provide the training needed for state licensure.  To find a supervisor/trainer, please consider the following:
    • Use the AI Find an Appraiser directory in order to contact local appraisers and inform them about the start an appraisal career. A great way to network and seek career opportunities is by scheduling an informational interview with an Appraisal Institute Designated member.
    • Affiliation with the AI Master’s Degree program allows the joining of a local chapter. AI Admissions encourages involvement with a chapter, as it provides great opportunities for networking and meeting other appraisal professionals.
    • Visit the Appraisal Institute Career Center to search for jobs and build a profile.
    • Visit the chapter’s website for job postings—which are frequently updated.
    • Inquire with the university’s real estate program (administrators and professors) about any career opportunities, as they may know of a licensed appraisal professional willing to be a supervisor.
  5. Take advantage of AI resources to help broaden knowledge of all thing’s appraisal by visiting the Lum Library and the website’s advocacy and news sections, reading issues of online newsletters, The Appraisal Journal and Valuation magazine, and browsing the online store, where a wide range of books are available for purchase.  





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