PURPOSE: This paper gives an overview of the body of knowledge (BOK) which often forms the foundation of the curriculum development for real estate programs and discipline. It provides an overall background to understanding the expectations of the real estate profession on the knowledge, skills and attributes of real estate practitioners.

DESIGN/METHODS: Desktop analysis of literature was employed to achieve these objectives.

FINDINGS: The paper prescribes aggregation of knowledge, essential competencies and attributes that prospective real estate practitioners are expected to be certified in. This was done so that real estate education can align with industry requirements. The review showed that the BOK for real estate education focuses on three broad approaches/perspectives. These include the U.K. model, the U.S. model and a multi or inter-disciplinary approach to real estate education. The U.K. model allows real estate practitioners to have skills in legal and planning framework, as well as in building construction techniques but with little knowledge in the area of business and finance. They also appreciate their roles in the property development process. Contrarily, the U.S. model is anchored on applied finance and business. Their approach to knowledge of real estate is that of a business manager and has greater emphasis on finance and business management than building construction and surveying as found in the U.K. The multidisciplinary approach, which is a more diverse model, combines some of the components of the U.K. and U.S. models and advocated an interdisciplinary dimension to real estate education.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATION: The paper concludes that BOK in real estate education and curriculum development are marked with differences from one country to another and varied depending on the needs and characteristics of every environment and nation.

ORIGINALITY: This paper adds to the debate on the definition of the BOK for real estate education for which there is yet to be a clear cut direction either in academic or profession.