Travelling Scholarship Travelling Studio
Image by David Costanza 2019 Rotch runner-up

Image by David Costanza
2019 Rotch runner-up

How does this work?

The Rotch Travelling Scholarship is an annual two-stage design competition that results in one person, deemed the Rotch Scholar, traveling the world for at least six months studying architecture — and we pick up the tab. In the first stage of the selection process, a weekend-long preliminary design competition is held. Finalists from this competition go on to compete in the second stage, a 10-day competition culminating in a design presentation to a distinguished jury in Boston.

For more information, contact Caitlin Hart at

What are you looking for?

Juries seek “evidence of imaginative capacity.” Specifically, we look for:

  • Strong organizing conceptual principle or thesis
  • Quality of poetic and philosophical rationale
  • Inventiveness
  • Effective development of structure, circulation and materials
  • Thoughtful consideration of site and context
  • Representation of a complete architectural project, both physically and conceptually
  • Quality, completion, clarity and effectiveness of presentation

How much do I receive to travel?

The Rotch Scholar receives $40,000 or more to travel and study abroad for a minimum of six months. This sum, distributed in four payments, covers expenses incurred by the Rotch Scholar for the stated period of travel abroad. See below for payment distribution details.

What is my obligation if I win?

The Rotch Scholar must travel for a minimum of six months, beginning within the calendar year of award receipt. The study topic and itinerary are at the winner’s discretion (subject to Rotch Committee approval).

The winner must keep a journal/blog documenting his or her travels in images, drawings and text. This record is used by the Scholar Mentor on the Rotch Committee and the Rotch secretary to approve payment distribution.

Four payments are made to the winner of roughly half, two-quarters and a small final payment, which is withheld until the Rotch Scholar delivers a compilation of his or her travel research to the Rotch Trustees. The compilation must be a bound report and available to be printed on-demand ( is a suggested publisher). All reports are kept on permanent file.

Competition calendar

Jan, 15, 2021: Applications due
Jan, 18, 2021: Qualified applicants notified
Feb. 12, 2021: Start of preliminary competition
Feb. 15, 2021: End of preliminary competition
Mid-Feb. 2021: Finalists notified
Mar. 12, 2021: Start of final competition
Mar. 22, 2021: End of final competition
Mar. 26, 2021: Jury for final competition