Study Abroad

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The USC School of Architecture offers multiple exciting study abroad opportunities created to coincide with the specific architecture curriculum. Offerings change periodically in order to better meet the needs of the students and meet the mission of the school’s Global Initiatives.


From semester-long, undergraduate study abroad programs to graduate level overseas workshops, for example through the USC American Academy in China, to occasional international and domestic travel opportunities as part of on-campus class research, the School has incorporated travel components in its curriculum to broaden student’s horizons while keeping them on their academic track.


Other opportunities available to School of Architecture students include Traveling Fellowships through the Architectural Guild, humanitarian and research traveling opportunities through architecture-affiliated student organizations, and international and domestic internships. 


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Mission Statement - Introduction - Eligibility and Admissions - Instructions for Applying - Current Programs 


Application Submissions For 2019-2020 Programs Will Open Early November 2018


Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 12 noon


Mission Statement

The USC School of Architecture’s Undergraduate Study Abroad Programs provide students with interests in global architectural and urban study opportunities to extend the boundaries of their academic engagement beyond the USC campus. Students develop an understanding of the relationship between the built environment and culture that serves to build a broader, more thoughtful, critical framework for their own work. They can compare the development of architecture and urbanism in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or other travel locations, with that of the United States.



As part of our curricular goals for the undergraduate architecture program, the School of Architecture aims to provide the opportunity to study abroad for one semester to all students in good standing who wish to do so in their fourth year. We currently offer four different global programs, two based in Europe, one in Asia, and one in South America. A full semester of study is required in all programs, including courses in design, history, cultural studies, and technology.  The experience of these programs has had a powerful and memorable impact on students.  During almost every alumni gathering, be it Homecoming or an Architectural Guild event, former students reflect on their USC education and speak fondly of their semester abroad and how it affected their lives and professional work. The benefits of this experience last many students a lifetime.


One impact of this learning experience is the powerful difference it presents between a familiar context of the United States and the uniqueness that European, South American, and Asian cities offer. Experiencing these places allows one to think more creatively about urbanism and the rich possibilities the environment of a city offers its citizens for interaction and stimulation.  Resolving design problems within this foreign context also provides an intellectual and creative challenge that engages students directly in understanding the place at several different levels.  Each program includes four to five weeks of travel field studies along with seven to eight weeks intensively focusing on the design studio.  All programs emphasize collaboration with students and faculty of architecture in the locales of study.  


Students in the program are introduced to contrasting systems of spatial organization that challenge conventional assumptions.  They emerge with a more cosmopolitan understanding of the built environment and they leave with a sense of how history and culture have led to distinct physical patterns of settlement. Students understand more about designing both within the context of the United States and also globally by seeing and testing ideas first-hand how things can be accomplished differently in different contexts.  


Classes are taught in a highly integrated manner, which gives students another way of thinking about how information from other disciplines can affect the process of design exploration and design decision-making.  Furthermore, lectures, site visits, and design exercises are contributed by a distinguished group of local architects and educators as well as faculty from the USC School of Architecture.



Eligibility and Admission

The goal of each overseas study program is to provide a place for approximately 20 outstanding fourth year* architecture students each semester to extend the boundaries of their architectural studies beyond the USC campus.  Students develop an understanding of the relationship between architecture and the culture that serves to build a broader, more thoughtful, critical framework for their own work. They can compare the development of architecture in Europe or Asia with that which has occurred in the United States.


Every upper division Bachelor of Architecture student, and every upper division Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies student with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 is eligible to apply for one of the current foreign studies programs, both cumulatively and in their design studios. Students are asked to apply for all programs that they are interested in and rank their preference so that, if they do not get selected in their first choice program they are still be considered for their subsequent choices. The selection process involves a review by the Directors based on academic performance, interviews, and other distribution factors relating to each program and a final assignment by the Chair of Undergraduate Programs and the Chair of Global Studies.  


The schedule for application and selection is shown on the attached calendar of events.
*Please note: Students in the four year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (BS) degree are eligible only for summer and fall programs, due to conflicting final semester requirements.




Current Semester-Long Undergraduate Study Abroad Programs:

Click on Program Name for More Information

Summer Program in Latin America/Brazil        CANCELED FOR 2019

The USC School of Architecture Summer in Brazil was introduced in recognition the demographic changes that have occurred at this University; as a microcosm of its urban; regional and national context and the rising status of Brazil as a both a world class economic powerhouse and cultural entrepôt. These dramatic changes are reflected in the most recent USC Strategic Plan, which seeks to position our University as the “intellectual, creative and cultural wellspring” of Latin America as well as the Pacific Rim, to “ foster mutual understanding and encourage citizenship in a global context.” 


Fall Program in Barcelona, Spain           

The School of Architecture Global Program in Barcelona (BCN) begins its eighth year in Fall 2017.  Students are immersed in the issues of urban design and architecture that have shaped the city and develop critical thinking and methodologies of analysis by designing in the urban context. Barcelona is a model of cultural activity and an impressive locus for new architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. Examples of public space and architecture from antiquity to the 21st century are studied in the context of a city which seeks to project its future in dialogue with engaging its past and present.  The course of study examines a culture committed to design and to architectural practices that engage and challenge traditional and modernist orthodoxies.  


Fall Program: Asian Architecture and Landscape Urbanism (AALU) / Eastern Asia

The AALU program will anchor in two countries, Japan and China, and will be based in two important cities in both of these countries.  Students will spend the first part of the program in Japan, and the second part in China. Participating students will engage in the translative working forces of urbanism, landscape, and architecture to mediate the spectrum between universal civilization and the indigenous particularities of place, society and culture.  To enrich the learning process, students of the AALU program will also interface with a number of local universities in the form of joint workshops, forums, and lectures.


Spring Program in Italy, MXP (Milan/Rome/Como)

Italy has epitomized the role of architecture and design throughout its history. The Anthony A. Marnell, II, Italian Architecture Studies Program (MXP) investigates the history, culture and form of Italian architecture and urbanism from the Romans to the present.  Field studies and the design studio both begin in Rome, with a study/analysis of the layers of ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Novecento and current architecture in the city, and a design workshop with faculty and students from the University of Roma Tre.  Other travel in Italy includes Florence, with its exceptional Renaissance architecture, and the Veneto region: Vicenza and Venice, to study urban form of Italy along with works of Andrea Palladio, Carlo Scarpa and modern rationalist: Terragni.  Field studies to Switzerland, France and Austria examine architecture and design in countries whose recent connections to northern Italy are increasingly important to Italy’s design direction for the future. A retreat in Como and Milan focuses more on Italia Rationalism and Radicalism as well and contemporary production in Milan, a very active metropolis.


Study Abroad Information Files

(Click on file name to download each file)

          Study Abroad Handbook


          Critical Dates For Study Abroad Applicants 2018-2019


          Estimated Budgets for the Study Abroad Programs


          Step by Step: How to Submit Your Application




Instructions for Applying to Study Abroad


DOWNLOAD PDF of Instructions Above

To submit Study Abroad Applications the School uses an online program, SlideRoom, to electronically gather application documents.  This allows students to keep the cost of printing down as well as making it easier for faculty and coordinators to evaluate applications. Please read the instructions carefully to ensure you do not miss one of the mandatory parts of this application process.


To apply you will need to create a user account for SlideRoom.  After your account is created you will need to click on the link, sent via email to you by SlideRoom, in order to activate your account. 


After logging into your SlideRoom account please click "Start a New Submission".  After clicking "New Submission" a window will pop up with Available Programs.  Please make sure you choose "Study Abroad Application 2018-2019" and click "Apply Now".  Please read the “About the Program” before completing the submission. You must complete the 4 parts of the online process in order to have submitted a finished application.


The Three Parts of the Application Process

Before Upload Page

I.  The Application Form: When you have created your account and begin the application process online, you will find the application form. It is integrated into the submission process and will not allow you to continue until it is completed.


Once at the Upload Page

II. USC Academic Transcript: Applicants must submit a copy of your Completed Course Summary* from OASIS. Please create a PDF of this include it in your pdf.

(*To get this report, go into your MyUSC, or directly to your OASIS account, and find the link to run the report titled ‘Completed Courses Summary’, which will likely be in a box on the page labeled ‘Course Information’. Let Eric Moore know if you have any questions about this.)


III. Statement Of Intent: In 500 words or less, please describe why you are interested in studying abroad.  If selected, what do you hope to learn from the experience?  Please respond in a typed essay, saved as a PDFs, and incorporate it into the uploaded application file.


Please Note: Applicant portfolios are no longer needed.


All application files and elements must be combined into a single pdf that will be uploaded during the application process. The application process only allows for 1 (One) file to be uploaded. This file must consist the transcript and the statement of intent.

See File Size note below.


Additional Notes

File Size: The size limit is 10MB and limited to a PDF file type. 

Fee: You will also be asked to pay a small fee of $10 total to submit the application using SlideRoom. 

Page size: Please use 8.5x11 (Letter) as the paper/page size when creating your PDF.

Combining Files: Reminder: you must combine the Transcript and the Statement of Intent into one PDF document. Make sure to label your file with your name: Last Name (family name) first, then first name.  Ex: Moore_Eric_Abroad.pdf

To Apply: Please go to this link to begin the application process through SlideRoom:




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Please Download and Email this Interest Form If You Want To Be Included On Updates For Any Of These Offerings




Each year there are typically a number of diverse offerings for travel related programs or course work available to all Graduate Programs in the areas of Architecture, Landscape, Building Science and Historic Preservation. Currently the majority of these opportunities are related to specific funded studio opportunities, such as recent studios with sites in Beijing, Hainan Island, and Shanghai.


Fall or Spring fieldtrips have also been offered in London and Madrid. Recently, in response to some portion of our students coming here from abroad, the School has begun offering summer travel programs related to the American landscape, particularly the Southwest as well. Previous summers have also offered offerings in Copenhagen Denmark; Shanghai, China; and Paris, France. Our graduate students are also encouraged to partake in the events, courses, and programs offered in conjunction with the American Academy in China each summer as well.


Certain student initiated research oriented course work (through Architecture 580 offerings) also allows students to gain credit for work in the field. There are also credit opportunities available for approved internships, just off-campus or nationally. Graduate projects and written research have been coordinated through the program directors to allow personal travel components to accompany a graduate student’s education.


Summer 2018 Off Campus Opportunities

For Summer 2018 we are looking to offer two to three international and a number of domestic opportunities to current graduate students and upper level undergraduate students. Currently these offerings are available for registration. Students have been notified when the offerings went live with additional information for the specific programs when they have expressed interest by form for each offering. If you are curious about any of these programs it is best to email the coordinating faculty member so they are aware of your interest.

For each offering the applicable faculty are listed, along with the current syllabi, budgets, and other information. Notifying a faculty member of your interest does not equal registration. You may express interest in as many offerings as you please, and commit by registering for your courses when the time comes. Space is limited for some of the offerings, so some faculty coordinators may ask for early commitments. Please make sure to clarify with him/her if you have any questions. For general information you may inquire with Eric Moore, Programs Coordinator for the School of Architecture at


Once you have expressed interest in a specific GSAP offering, and you been approved to participate by the faculty coordinator for that program, you have until the Wednesday after Spring Break (March 21st) to register to lock in your participation. The faculty coordinators will provide us with a list of the students who have priority and we will apply the appropriate D-Clearances. After registration, student will have a $500 commitment fee added to their USC E-Bill. This fee will be used for program expenses included in the program budgets. 


International Opportunities



China: Beijing, Shanghai,

Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Xi'an

ARCH 580, Field Studies, 4 units

ARCH 402, 605, or 705 Design Studio, 6 units

Clifford Pearson

Paris, France

ARCH 580, Field Studies, 4 units

ARCH 402, 605, or 705 Design Studio, 6 units

Olivier Touraine

Latin America/Brazil


ARCH 580, Field Studies, 4 units

ARCH 605, or 705 Design Studio, 6 units

James Steele


Domestic Opportunities


Heritage Conservation (LA)

ARCH 549, Fundamentals of HerCon, 3 units

Trudi Sandmeier


Domestic Offerings  



ARCH 549 - Fundamentals of Heritage Conservation (3 units)

Heritage Conservation (LA)

Faculty:  Trudi Sandmeier -


Schedule:        May 14-25, 2018


Budget:           Regular Tuition Per Unit– On Campus (No Additional costs)



This intensive three-week class introduces the principles and practice of historic preservation/heritage conservation in the United States. Classes are taught by noted experts from Southern California. In addition to examining the history and philosophy of the conservation movement, lectures and field trips to historic sites throughout the Los Angeles area will introduce participants to a broad range of legal, economic, aesthetic and technical issues associated with the documentation, conservation and interpretation of historic structures, landscapes and communities. Sites to be visited and studied include the 1923 Frank Lloyd Wright Freeman House, the 1908 Greene & Greene Gamble House, the Broadway Historic District, The Getty Conservation Institute and more!

More Information Here:






Off-Campus/ International Offerings 




Faculty:   Cliffors Pearson and Geoffrey von Oeyen 


Program Description:

China: Future/Past is a summer study-abroad program that will examine the architecture, arts, and culture of a country that continues to transform at a rapid pace, while feeling the tug of its rich traditions. Students will travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Xi'an, Guangzhou, and a number of rural villages in Shaanxi Province. While there, they will study the changing relationship between China's cities and its countryside and try to re-invent the country's villages for the 21st century.


ARCH 580 - Field Studies (4 units)

Hyper-Urbanism: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong - 2 weeks, 4 units.


Schedule:        Two-Week Field Studies Workshop. Dates: May 27 - June 9



This in-depth look at mega-cities will reveal the challenges and opportunities of rapid city development. Students will study the planning and design issues raised by such places, as they tour significant buildings, neighborhoods, and sites in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. They will also visit the studios of some of the most important architects, designers, and artists in China - including Ma Yansong, Pei Zhu, Atelier FCJZ, OPEN Architecture, Urbanus, Atelier Deshaus, O-Office Architects, Danwen Xu, ESKYIU, and others.


ARCH 402/705: Design Research Studio (6 Units)

Rural-Urban Connections


Schedule:       Six-Week Studio. Dates: June 10 - July 21



Based in Shenzhen and Xi'an, this studio will look at the relationship between China's cities and countryside - between change and tradition. With 250 million people having moved to cities in the past 30 years and another 250 million expected to move there in the next 20 years, the country faces the challenge of re-inventing its countryside for the 21st century. Students will visit villages in Shaanxi Province and Songyang County in Zhejiang Province. They will also spend time in Shenzhen, examining urban villages and the larger questions of urbanization in China today.



Last Year's Program Budget: DOWNLOAD HERE




Paris, France Program

Faculty:  Olivier Touraine -


Program Description:

The Paris summer program is composed of a 2 weeks, 4 units, travel trip in Paris and its areas (Arch 580), and then a 6 week studio, 6 units located in a fully equipped studio space in the East side of Paris. The program has been running for the last 2 years. 


Paris Program Budget: DOWNLOAD HERE


ARCH 580: Field Studies (4 units)

Paris, City of light. 2 weeks, 4 units.


Schedule:        May 24 - June 8 [16 days]



Architecture has always been a physical materialization of history and culture, as well as technology. Any architectural work, from a cathedral to a museum or an airport terminal, tells us much about the culture and history of a place at that time. A train station in Paris tells us about the 19th century, the Empire, the technology of transportation, the history of iron and steel technologies, and the development of political centralism.

Paris, like few other European capitals, tells us about its history through its architecture. The palette is very wide from Roman times (even pre-Roman) to today’s technology. The city has been layering its urban planning, its arts, its architectural materialization. All that is in front of us is ready to tell us stories, from peace to war, occupations, exterior influences, and the like.

Paradoxically, Paris is well known as the City of Light: a cultural and economic capital of the 19th century, it still manages to be alive and constantly renew itself. It is a capital of modernity and new technologies. The city is a complex being with many interactions. We live in it, use it and see it everyday day, but do we know about it? Do we understand it in its complexity?


Work will be produced in Paris (drawing, research, analysis). But the editing will be due 2 weeks after end of class.


Paris Travel Syllabus: DOWNLOAD HERE


ARCH 402abc/705: Design Research Studio (6 Units)

Paris, City of (de)light. 6weeks, 6 units.


Schedule:       June 11 – July 21  [41 days]



This summer you will work on the most unpopular building in Paris: Tour Montparnasse. Many monuments in Paris, and even worldwide, were extremely unpopular when completed as they mostly had a history of eviction and radical change or dictatorial will: Tour Eiffel, Sacre Coeur, or at a different scale the Hausman master plan for the city. But after time they became accepted and icons and symbols of the city. Such is not the case of the Tour Montparnasse built in the 70’s. It was unpopular then and remains as such today. First, because it was the first tower built in the inner ring of the city. Residents dislike it. And the local joke, which is correct, says that it is the best place in Paris to look at the city from its top restaurant, because from there you cannot see the tower. 

Currently a competition is going on addressing the issue of a lifting of the tower and most importantly the development of its base: a large plinth linking the train station, the shopping mall and the tower itself. The tower if of course full of asbestos, it is definitely not environmentally friendly. It rests as a glass monolith casted in a concrete ground with no transition level from the street, like the black monolith in “2001 a space odyssey” by S. Kubrik. The lower levels are linked to a large shopping mall, and somehow not linked to the train station just behind it. Our specific focus will be on the lower levels. Underground there is a maze of subway connections. On ground level there are retails space with very complex relationship to the streets. It is not a friendly space. But it became successful as thousands of people are transiting in a way or another every day. 

Movement for site visit or specific lectures in Paris would be in public transportation - 17 students maximum. Accommodations would be host or apartments shared by pair or group of 3 to 4. Advance arrangement with each of the offices and foundations would be made to ensure access. Knowledge of French language is not necessary but encouraged. Exterior critics will be English speaking.

There will be visits directly related to the studio Topic. They should not be considered as “travels” but rather as specific information about the studio assignment.


Paris Studio Syllabus: DOWNLOAD HERE






Mexico City, Mexico; Sau Paulo Brazil, Brazil - Latin America Program

Program Details Updated Soon

Faculty:  James Steele -


Program Description:

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and fifth largest in the world, with one of its fastest growing economies. Its growth is due to its extensive agricultural and manufacturing potential, skilled workforce and rapidly developing scientific and technological sector. Sao Paulo is the undisputed generator and crucible of that growth, and unquestionably equals or surpasses other world cities, such as New York, London or Shanghai, today, in terms of sheer dynamism, vibrancy and opportunity.


ARCH 580: Field Studies (4 units)

2 weeks, 4 units.


The is based at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) with accommodation next door at the Transamerica Higienopolis, Rua Alagoas, 974, Sao Paulo, Brazil. After Orientation on Monday June 29, classes will start on Tuesday the 30th. The Graduate Studio portion of this Program will be affiliated with the Grupo Metrópole Fluvial, a project run by the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and led by Prof. Alexandre Delijaicov. (see: The Field Studies Courses, including field trips to architects offices such as Pritzker prize winner Paulo Mendes de Rocha will be based at FAAP. There are optional field trips to Brasilia and Minas Gerais, including Ouro Preto, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janerio available at extra cost.

Schedule:        TBD


ARCH 705: Design Research Studio (6 Units)

6weeks, 6 units.


Schedule:       TBD

Description: COMING SOON


A Previous Year's Syllabus: DOWNLOAD HERE


A Previous Year's Program Budget: DOWNLOAD HERE



Additional Information

If you have questions about how participating in one of these offerings fits in with your academic track, feel free to contact your Academic Advisor, or for program logistics and information please contact Programs Coordinator, Eric J. Moore at


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In addition to our semester-long study abroad programs, short-term off-campus workshops, and courses offering travel components, more opportunities may be available through Traveling Fellowships, student organizations, internships, and other non-curriculum based opportunities.



Traveling Fellowships:

Through the USC Architectural Guild a number of Traveling Fellowships are available for students to apply and receive funding for travel-based research projects. Each fellowship has specific qualifications and application processes.


As far as what the proposals can be about, the sky is the limit! Two previous students joined forces to craft an investigative road trip across the United States.  Another fellow went off to France to study vertical gardens and to discover how the concept could perhaps grow in America.  Students have the opportunity to come up with their personal travel itinerary, a plan that they've only ever dreamed about.  By applying for a fellowship, they can be one step closer to realizing their dream and enriching their academic experience and life.  Being selected as a traveling fellow can be life-changing and fortunately, the opportunity is available right here at the school.


For more information on current Traveling Fellowship opportunities click HERE.



Student and On-Campus Organizations:

Students can find many opportunities to study and add supplemental educational experiences through the many Student and off-campus architecture affiliated organizations and clubs. Many student organizations participate in off-campus activities like the LA River Cleanup, local conventions and conferences, and lectures held throughout the southland.


Some organizations have offered travel opportunities beyond Southern California. The Global Architectural Brigade of USC recently visited a town in Panama where they helped with the research, design, and construction of a socially and ecologically sustainable housing prototype in slum area of Curundu.  Representing USC School of Architecture, a small group of students attended the ELEA (Encontro Latinoamericano de Estudiantes de Arquitectura) conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala to attend workshops, presentations, and lectures, about current architectural issues, with Lationamericano students from across the Americas.


Domestically, students affiliated with AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) and GASA (Graduate Architecture Students Association) have attended the ACSA Convention in Portland, Oregon, and the AIA convention in San Francisco, California. Through the USC Architectural Guild, students have had the opportunity to take public transportation to visit construction sites on hard-hat tours, and be among the first to tour completed Guild Member affiliated building projects such as the Los Angeles Creative Arts High School and a sneak peek at the then almost completed LA Live complex.


Internships Off-Campus and Abroad:

Internships at domestic and international architecture and building industry firms can add great value to a student’s education. These opportunities are at the students’ discretion to research and coordinate. Previous students have procured internships in Shanghai, China at M.A.D.A.spam, in London, England at ARUP,  and in Downtown Los Angeles at Gehry Partners, to name a few.


Visiting Scholars 

USC School of Architecture welcomes requests for Visiting Scholars from other academic institutions nationally and internationally.  Each request will be reviewed by the Dean’s Office as well as the Chair of Graduate Studies. For more information click HERE