The USC School of Architecture offers multiple global study opportunities created to coincide with our specific architecture curriculum for both Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students. The School has incorporated exciting travel components into its curriculum to enhance opportunities for global knowledge exchange while keeping students on their academic track. Opportunities to explore office campus while a USC Architecture student, included: 

  • Semester-long undergraduate study abroad programs led by members of the USC Architecture Faculty. 
  • Maymester options for Graduate students consisting of field studies or international studio opportunities 
  • Occasional international and domestic travel opportunities as part of class research and field studies. 
  • Independent travel and study through the USC Architecture Traveling Fellowships 

Offerings change periodically in order to better meet the needs of the students and align with the mission of the school’s global initiatives and off-campus experiences. 

Undergraduate Student Global Experience: 

Semester-long study abroad programs offered by the USC School of Architecture are led by faculty members, with a targeted curriculum on the region's culture, architecture, urbanism, tectonics, and related topics and themes. Each semester abroad course load includes five seminar courses and a design studio while traveling. In addition, there is a required prep course the semester prior to traveling to prepare students for their time aboard. 

Process & Timelines: 

Applications will open in the fall for third-year B.Arch students to apply to travel during their fourth year. Interested students will be invited to attend an information session(s) about the destination for the next academic year, and be asked to rank their preferred travel locations. Spaces are limited and first choices are not guaranteed. Applications will be reviewed for academic standing, etc, Applications will close in the fall late, and announcements of placements before departing for the semester break. Students traveling the following fall will then start the Arch 406 prep course in the spring semester, commitment is required prior to week three of the spring semester. Students traveling the following spring will take their prep course during the fall term. Valid passport information must be submitted at the time of application, to aid in-country reservations and visa application support. 


Undergraduate semester-long programs have three options currently, all redesigned and reviewed post-pandemic to meet the needs and interests of the USC Architecture students and maximize educational opportunities of each region. The School of Architecture works with the USC Strategic Global Initiatives office to select destinations that fit into the curriculum needs, budget, and risk/safety policies of the university. 

Read the Global Studies Blog & Application
Study Abroad

The USC School of Architecture’s study abroad programs provide currently enrolled 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.


The AALU program is designed to be an integrated and immersive set of experiences, students will engage in the translative working forces of urbanism, landscape, and architecture. One of the truly compelling things about Asia is the depth of its rich and diverse history. Asia is endlessly fascinating because it’s not a monolithic society or culture. Rather, it has a complex history that’s redolent with many contradictions. On one hand, it’s an ancient civilization that is also an advanced industrial society. On the other hand, various countries are young and developing, grappling with the global economy and Western influence. Particularities of place, society, and culture will be explored in the context of architectural development. To enrich the learning process, students will interface with local universities through collaborative workshops, forums, and lectures. Office visits have been an important part of the AALU experience, with 9-10 offices during the course of the program. Previous destination stops have included Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, South Korea, and China. Itineraries are subject to change and will be confirmed the semester prior to travel during the 406 Prep Course. Independent travel opportunities during breaks or before/after the formal program have included trips to Thailand, Bali, Seoul, and Halong Bay.  


This semester abroad program, based in Mexico City and traveling to neighboring cities and countries, offers students an immersive study of historical and contemporary Latin American architecture and urbanism. Although the program primarily focuses on Mexico City, students and faculty will travel to other cities in the region, tracing the architecture of Spanish colonialism and situating the Mexican capital in the context of Mesoamerican urban cultures, European imperialism, and contemporary transformations.

The program aims to learn from the power inherent in indigenous architecture, the colonialist architecture that displaced it, and the postcolonial cities that rose in its aftermath. Traveling students and faculty will stay in the fifth largest city in the world and engage with students, researchers, and designers in the Mexican capital. These exchanges open the School to institutions and creative collaborations in Mexico, offering insights into the contemporary design thinking and urban cultures of Latin America. Ultimately, the program’s goal is to contribute to an urbanist, historical, and theoretical connection between contemporary Los Angeles and the older cities of Latin America.

Spring 2024 is the first outing for this program, stops are planned to include Cuba and Costa Rica to bookend the time traveling through Mexico. Destinations are subject to change for subsequent trips. 


This semester abroad program will explore the rich urban design morphologies of the Mediterranean Region - based in Rome and Barcelona, with current field studies planned to Venice, Florence, Vicenza, Naples, Italy; Marseille, Nimes, Monteepiller, France; and Granda, Cordoba, and Seville Spain. (subject to change) Their histories, cross-cultural relationships, and how they bear on architecture and visual form. The course will deep dive into the urban forms of Rome and Barcelona, cities both located along the 41° latitude, and will focus on both small and urban scale projects, finally looking at the modern and contemporary strategies in architecture, landscape, and urbanism.

The program aims to learn from the diverse cultures and histories of the Mediterranean, their politics, and key contributions to urban form and architecture. The program will begin in Rome and study its archetypal spaces and the development of urban forms. Existing academic partnerships and academic alliances in Italy will enhance the academic experience. Students and faculty would then travel to other cities in the region, tracing the patterns of subsequent cultures in adjacent contexts, terminating in Barcelona. In Barcelona, USC students and faculty engage with students, academics, and designers the Catalan capital of Spain.

The Mediterranean region is also at a turning point, where sustainability and climate change have reached a critical juncture. With environmental upheaval at the forefront, opportunities to learn from and contribute to current design thinking surrounding sustainability abound. Finally, the program’s goal is to understand the everlasting impact of early Mediterranean developments on cities and how their visual and material culture shapes contemporary architectural forms.


Paris, to an extent shared by few other places, tells its history through its architecture. The palette runs from Roman (and even pre-Roman) times to today’s contemporary examples. For many years the city has been layering its urban planning, its arts, and its architectural materialization: everything we see is ready to tell us stories about peace and war, commerce and culture, ideas and inventions, stability and change. This course will require a multifaceted understanding of a designer’s relationship with history and space. It is almost a police investigation: discovering the facts of the city but understanding its motivations too. In Paris, architecture is unquestionably linked to urbanism, technology, and ideology. Your search to discover and comprehend these links will add dimension to your education as an architect.


For the Western imagination, Japan is a place that’s both alluring and enigmatic yet frequently misunderstood. Two cultures: one characterized by stillness, contemplative silence, aesthetic tranquility, an affinity for nature and nuances of seasonal change—the rock garden at Ryoanji or viewing the cherry-blossoms in Aoyama. The other by flux —a perpetual motion machine constantly moving and changing, chaotic, dense, artificial and hyperreal—the neon-glow of Akihabara or pulse of Shibuya Crossing. Tradition and modernity, nature and culture, stillness and flux, clearly, Japan is a study in juxtapositions and contrasts. Yet, while these differences are evident in daily life, incongruous and extreme at times, Japanese culture and society is more complicated (and bewildering at times) than this, replete with nuances that require close scrutiny and reflection. And, while first impressions and sound bites are tempting, even revealing at times, the intent of this course is to probe beneath the surface like a forensic scientist, not only to identify differences but to uncover continuities, discontinuities and ambiguities that foster a deeper awareness, appreciation and understanding of the unique nature of the cultural sensibility of this island nation.

Travel Fellowship

Independent travel/ research opportunities

Traveling Fellowships provide USC School of Architecture undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to further their global knowledge base. Many Traveling Fellowships are available for students to receive funding for travel-based research projects. Being selected as a traveling fellow can be a life-changing journey and a truly enriching part of the academic experience at USC Architecture.

See the USC Study Abroad Blog for more information on destinations and research questions from previous fellows.

Process & Timelines:

Applications will open in the fall semester, with a window for committee review, staff feedback, and coaching before finalists are selected to present to the selection panel. Presentations will take place in the early weeks of the spring semester. Selected fellows will make travel arrangements with the USC Architecture business office. Travel research is expected to occur in the summer after the fellowship has been awarded (unless otherwise noted).


Students propose their own itineraries to support their research question(s). Destinations* (select fellowships require study in specific regions) are reviewed and approved by the School of Architecture and the USC Office of Strategic and Global Initiatives as part of the planning process, and adjustments may be recommended or requested. Students should look at the DOS/CDC Travel Alerts; Alert Level 4 travel is not permitted, and an alternative location must be selected; Alert Level 3 is discouraged, alternatives should be sought after when possible, if no alternative can be located additional planning and approvals will be required, Travel Alert Level 2, students can generally travel to with little to no issue.

NOTE: Students are responsible for obtaining all required visas, travel documents, vaccines, etc.


The Avi Efraim Gesundheit Traveling Fellowship provides financial support to a third-year student in the School of Architecture to travel for research purposes as part of his/her architectural studies. The traveling fellowship endowment remembers and honors the life of Avi Efraim Gesundheit (1978-1996), a second-generation Trojan enrolled in the USC School of Architecture class of 2001

The Gesundheit Family / USC Architectural Guild Graduate Traveling Fellowship and The Jaime and Susan Gesundheit Graduate Travel FellowshipS

The Gesundheit Family / USC Architectural Guild Graduate Traveling Fellowship and The Jaime and Susan Gesundheit Graduate Travel Fellowship provide financial support to a graduate student in the USC School of Architecture to travel as part of his/her studies.


This endowment remembers and honors the life of Patrick M. Martin (1976-2012), a third-generation Trojan graduate, USC School of Architecture class of 2000.


The Patrick Martin Memorial Traveling Fellowship provides financial support for a third-year undergraduate student. Preference is for a student enrolled in the Mediterranean Global Studies Program (but not required), who wishes to continue their travels in Europe and the Middle East to research and contrast Italian design and architecture (historic or modern) with other architectural design in countries elsewhere. It is required that at least 50% of total time is focused on Italian architectural, design, and culture heritage in Italy.

Chase L. Leavitt Traveling Fellowship

Established by USC Architecture alumnus Chase Leavitt (B.Arch 1967) in 2000, this endowment provides annual funds to be given to a fourth- or fifth-year student for travel and study outside of the United States.

Jon Adams Jerde Traveling Fellowship

Established by the Jerde Family and the USC Architectural Guild in honor of Jon Jerde (B.Arch 1964), the fellowship commemorates his experience as one of the first USC Architectural Guild Traveling Fellowship recipients. This endowment provides annual funds to a fourth- or fifth-year student for travel and study outside the United States.

William and Neoma Timme Traveling Fellowship

An endowed traveling fellowship established by Robert H. Timme, FAIA, FAAR, architect, scholar and Dean of the USC School of Architecture from 1996-2005 in recognition of his parents, William and Neoma Timme. The endowment is supported by the USC Architectural Guild and provides annual funds for a student or students in the School to study gardens and urban settings. The award may be made to either undergraduate or graduate students in any program at the School. 


A traveling fellowship to support fourth- or fifth-year undergraduate students in the School of Architecture who have an interest to conduct travel-based research in sustainable architecture and to have immersive cultural experiences abroad.