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Berkeley 2020 Essay Prize Competition

Berkeley 2020 Essay Prize Competition

Country: USA
City: Berkeley
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The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment established in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design aims 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. Moreover, the theme for the 2020 Berkeley Essay Prize Competition is ‘How do civic buildings create community?

Typically, students enrolled in an accredited undergraduate architecture program or diploma in architecture program throughout the world may submit a 500-word essay proposal in English responding to the Question.  This year, architecture students must team up with undergraduates from allied arts and social sciences programs and submit proposals in teams of two.

Berkeley 2020 Essay Prize

From the pool of essay proposals received, the Prize Committee approximately selects 25-28 essays as particularly promising. The selected student teams become Semifinalists. These Semifinalists, then need to submit a 2,500-word essay, again in English, expanding on their proposals. A group of readers, composed of Committee members as well as invited colleagues, selects five-to-eight of the best essays and sends these Finalist essays to a jury of international academics and architects to select the winners.

There is a total prize of 35,000USD, minimum 9,000USD first prize. The Jury will decide on the allocation of the further prize.

Eligibility for the Berkeley 2020 Essay Competition

The 2020 Berkeley Essay Competition is open to undergraduate as well as diploma students from all over the world. Moreover, the students must abide by the competition rule:

  1. The competition requires a two-member team to submit all the proposals
  2. Students must be pursuing undergraduate architecture program or diploma in the architecture program
  3. Further, one member of the team must be from arts and social sciences programs.
  4. Moreover, the language of the Essay competition is English.
  5. Both finalists must provide proof of current registration in the form of copies of actual school transcripts. You are still eligible to compete if both of you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2019.
  6. Write a 500-word proposal for an essay on this year’s Essay Question.
  7. Also, provide one photograph of each of your chosen projects.
  8. Submit the essay and photographs online

Judging Criteria

The Prize Committee of the 2020 Berkeley Essay Prize Competition will score the essay on a numeric system. The members of the Berkeley prize Committee evaluates each essay in terms of the following criteria:

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

How to apply for Berkeley Essay Competition?

As students in undergraduate and diploma in the architecture program are eligible for the competition, the participants will compete in two stages. Only the selected participants of the first stage can compete in the second stage of the essay competition.

In order to participate in the first stage of 2020 Berkeley Essay Prize Competition, the candidates must register for the competition. Further, the registration requires the participants to provide proof of their current enrollment in undergraduate or diploma program. After completing the registration, the participants must upload their essay via the online system.


The Prize Committee of the Berkeley Essay Competition accepts the submission until 01 November 2019. Submissions after the deadline are invalid.


Type of Opportunity Competitions and Awards
Deadline01 November,2019
Open toAll Nationalities
OrganizerUniversity of California, Berkeley
Contact the organizer[email protected]



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