Enter the Berkeley Prize Competition 2017 (Total Prize of 25,000USD)

Enter the Berkeley Prize Competition 2017 (Total Prize of 25,000USD)

Deadline: November 1, 2016

The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment was established in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design to promote the investigation of architecture as a social art. Each year  the PRIZE Committee selects a topic important to the understanding of the interaction of people and the built world that becomes the focus of the Essay Competition. This year the topic is: Architecture Reveals Communities.

From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25 are selected by the PRIZE Committee as particularly promising. The selected individual students, or student teams, become Semifinalists. At the conclusion of the Essay Competition submittals, all Semifinalists are also invited to submit for a BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship.


  • There is a total prize of 25,000USD, minimum 5,750USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.


  • Open to all current full-time registered students in an undergraduate architecture degree program or undergraduates majoring in architecture in accredited schools of architecture worldwide. Diploma in Architecture students who have not yet completed their Diploma are also eligible;
  • Essays must be submitted in English;
  • Finalists will be required to provide proof of current registration in the form of copies of actual school transcripts. You are still eligible to compete if you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2016, but graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.

Judging Criteria

Judging for the essay competition is on a numeric system. The members of the Berkeley Prize Committee are asked to evaluate each essay in terms of the following criteria:

  • Does the Proposal address the Question?
  • How creative, or creatively developed, is the Proposal?
  • Would the Proposal be clear to a broad audience?
  • How does the Proposal rank in terms of writing style?
  • How socially significant is the Proposal?
  • What is the potential for developing this Proposal into a strong essay?

Each Proposal is given a score of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest). The top approximately 25 scoring Proposals become Semifinalists.

Application Process

Create an account to register.

  • Write a 500-word proposal for an essay on this year’s Essay Question, as posted;
  • Provide one photograph each of your chosen projects;
  • Submit the essay and photographs online.

Important Dates

  • September 15, 2016 – Launch of 2017 Essay Competition.
  • November 1, 2016 (Stage One) – 500-word essay proposal due.
  • Mid-December, 2016 – Essay Semifinalists announced.
  • February 1, 2017 (Stage Two) – Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays due.
  • February 8, 2017 – Launch of Travel Fellowship Competition for Essay Semifinalists.
  • Early-March, 2017 – Essay Finalists announced.
  • March 12, 2017 – Travel Fellowship Entries Due.
  • Mid-April, 2017 – Essay winners and Travel Fellowship winners Announced.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit Berkeley Prize Competition.