Travelling Scholarship Travelling Studio
Image by Kyle Barker AIA 2021 Rotch Scholar

Image by Kyle Barker AIA
2021 Rotch Scholar

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 six months studying architecture — and we pick up the tab. In the first stage of the selection process, a 48-hour time window (within one weekday or weekend) 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.

For more information, contact Patricia Olshan at polshan@architects.org.

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

Who is this for?

  • Emerging professionals who want to learn and advance their architecture work through a funded scholarship, while documenting global travels
  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens who have obtained a professional degree (BArch/MArch) from an accredited school in the last 10 years.
  • One year of full-time professional experience in a Massachusetts architecture firm as of January 1 of the competition year — or — an accredited degree from an accredited Massachusetts school of architecture as of January 1 of the competition year

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. Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Rotch Committee and the Rotch Board of Trustees will assess health and safety concerns related to travel. The scholar will work closely with the Committee to make a plan that fulfills the spirit of the charge while operating within the constraints of all precautions.

The study topic and itinerary are at the winner’s discretion (subject to Rotch Committee approval).

The winner is required to maintain and regularly update a digital record of travels (in images, drawings and text), that will be linked on the Rotch Travelling Scholarship website, rotch.org. This digital record could take any of the following formats: an Instagram handle, a Twitter feed, or a website/blog. Please provide information with your selected handle or website link.

A final report should include both images and brief text and be formatted in both hard copy and digital formats to be archived in the MIT Rotch Library with the other Rotch Travelling Scholarship reports. This record is also 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 (lulu.com is a suggested publisher). All reports are kept on permanent file.

Competition calendar

Jan, 14, 2022: Applications due
Jan, 18, 2022: Qualified applicants notified
Feb. 10, 2022: Start of preliminary competition — Choose any 48-hour time window within one weekday or one weekend.
Feb. 13, 2022: End of preliminary competition
Mid-Feb. 2022: Finalists notified
Mar. 11, 2022: Start of final competition
Mar. 21, 2022: End of final competition
Mar. 25, 2022: Jury for final competition