AICP Student Project Awards

The AICP Student Project Awards recognize outstanding class projects or papers by a student or group of students in Planning Accreditation Board–accredited planning programs that contribute to advances in the field of planning.

This awards program is intended to recognize exceptional work by the student(s). While it is appropriate to submit a project or paper on which a faculty member(s) has given guidance, the submission should be primarily the work of the students.

2017 Award Submission Information

Deadline: December 8, 2016

Submit project award information as electronic documents (either as e-mail attachments or links to documents online) to with "AICP Student Project Award—[NAME OF SCHOOL]" as the e-mail subject.

Award Categories

The AICP Student Project Award recognizes a student or group of students in a PAB-accredited planning program for an outstanding paper or class project in up to three categories:

  1. the project that best demonstrates the contribution of planning to contemporary issues
  2. the project best applying the planning process
  3. applied research


A project may receive this award one time. Members of the AICP Awards Jury, the AICP Commission, or the APA Board of Directors are not eligible during their terms of service. Members of APA staff also are not eligible.

  1. A nomination for this award may be submitted by:
    • either the Head of a PAB-accredited planning program,
    • or the duly elected or appointed Planning Student Organization (PSO) Student Representative of a PAB-accredited program.
  2. Projects completed in the previous three years are eligible. For the 2017 program, eligibility dates are from December 2013 to December 2016.

NOTE: A program may submit only one nomination for this award.  If an institution has both an undergraduate and graduate accredited program, a nomination may be submitted for each program, provided that the program does not submit one or more projects with a "blend" of undergraduate and graduate students.


Innovative: Originality of concept or appreciable refinement of existing techniques or procedures

Transferable: Potential application to other locations, projects, or areas of planning interest

Quality: Excellence of thought, analysis, writing, graphics, and character of presentation

Implementation: Effectiveness of the work (proposals have been carried out, show promise of being carried out, or demonstrate an effective implementation technique)

Comprehensive: Planning principles have been observed, especially in considering a project's effects on other public objectives

Digital Images

APA adheres to all copyright laws. They apply to all images used in the award submission as well as the final project.

  • Submit only images that are copyright-free and may be reproduced by APA without a fee, charge, or copyright infringement.
  • All images should have a caption and photo credit details.
  • Images should not be a thumbnail. A size of 1,000–2,000 pixels is most commonly used.

Submission Checklist

Please follow the checklist below. It will assist you in preparing your entry:

Document 1 — Entry Information (call this file: EntryInformation.doc)

  • Entry Name/Title — Complete Title of the Entry
  • School and academic level
  • Category — (a) contribution of planning to contemporary issues, (b) application of the planning process, or (c) applied research. Note: only one category may be selected.  The jury may consider moving it to another category if deemed appropriate.  The program contacts will be notified before doing so.
  • Nominator (Required) — NOTE: Only the head of a PAB-accredited university planning program or the school's elected/appointed APA-PSO SRC Student Representative may nominate an entry.
  • Nominator's Contact Information — Name, title, mailing and e-mail addresses, and daytime phone number. Indicate whether the Nominator of this entry is the head of the planning program or the official APA-PSO Student Representative.
  • The month and year this project was completed.
  • Contacts
  • Coordinator (Required) — Name, title, mailing and e-mail addresses, and daytime phone number of the person responsible for communicating with APA staff about the materials submitted and directly with project team members (details concerning the presentation and other recognition, if entry is selected). Unclaimed certificates, etc., will be shipped to the coordinator at the address entered here.
  • Project Contact (Required) — Staff may contact a student participant or project advisor with questions specific to the project or submitted materials.
  • Summary of Project (200-400 words) — Describe how this project meets the award criteria above.
  • Full names of all project team members, clearly indicating which are students, advisers, faculty, etc. This file will be used for award program, certificates, etc.

Document 2 — Project Description (call this file: NAR[short project name].doc)

Please describe the project more fully, including its outcomes and the role of students. Make sure to include: (1) he source and amount of any financial support this project received; (2) filename references to specific supporting materials (see below); (3) active links to online resources (if any); and (4) a description of what, if any, element of the submittal was not done by the students included in the project and describe who did that portion and why.

Document 3 — Letter(s) of Support (call these files: LTR[lastname].pdf)

All letters should be on the letterhead of the supporter's school, agency, or company and submitted in PDF format.

  • (Required) A letter of support from the school's Planning Program Head.
  • (Optional) Additional letters from agencies, organizations, or companies connected with the project.

Folder 1 — Image files (call this folder Images)

Include 5-6 separate image files that characterize this entry. Provide 1) a caption that provides context and shows the entry's positive results or intended results, and 2) photo credit details. All images must be digital, copyright-free images and conform to the digital image requirements appearing elsewhere on this webpage.

Final Project Report (if applicable) (call this file or folder: FinalReport)

Include the final project report either as an email attachment or URL for viewing by the AICP Awards Jury ( text and graphics files must be in these formats: .jpg, .gif, .ppt, .doc, .pdf, or .rtf.). Hard copy reports will not be accepted.

The URL must be active between the submission date and April 2017. If an entry is selected for an award, a permanent link should be established for linking from the AICP Student Project Award recognition webpage.

Other Optional Files (call these files: Other)

Reviews of the implementation effort, analysis of the results, newspaper clippings, editorials, promotional materials, etc.

Selection and Notification

Award winners will be notified as soon as they have been determined (anticipated in February 2017). A list of award winners will be sent to the contact at each school.

Previous Winners

Learn more about previous winners


Monica Groh
Director of Emerging Professionals