The Fall 2015 Studio Lottery will be held Monday, August 31st. The following guidelines will help you navigate the Lottery and the results

Studio Option Descriptions:
Descriptions for studio options will be posted on the GSD Course Listing at You will find the studios’ scheduled meeting times there as well. Please note that the course bulletin is an active document; updates to the course bulletin will be taking place until lottery day, and in some cases, after the start of the academic term.

Lottery Day:
The order of presentations and information about studio field trips will be made available in the lobby. Dean Mohsen Mostafavi will offer his welcoming remarks in Piper Auditorium promptly at 9 am, after which Grace La, host of the Option Studio Lottery Presentations, will open the presentations. Please be on time and in your seat in Piper Auditorium no later than 8:55 am. 

To participate in the studio lottery, you must be enrolled in one of the following:
MArch I, 5th or 6th term; MArch II, any term
MLA I, 5th or 6th term; MLA II, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th term
MAUD or MLAUD, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th term
MUP, 3rd, or 4th term

If you are in MArch I or MLA I, you may take no more than one studio option outside of your department (except by prior approval of your Program Director). MAUD and MLAUD in their second term must take a studio offered in the Department of Urban Planning and Design. If you have any questions concerning your eligibility, please consult your Program Director. MLA II students must take at least one option studio offered by the Department of Landscape Architecture.

While the studio site visit is a requirement, if you should be unable or unwilling to travel, your critic will assign alternative work for you in lieu of participation in the trip. Please note that travel is always accompanied by certain risks. If the trip includes travel overseas, please keep in mind that immigration regulations are making it more difficult for international students from some countries, including many Asian nations, to leave the U.S. and then return. Please be sure to investigate and fully understand the implications of travel.

Students are responsible for obtaining the necessary visas for the trip, including all costs associated with these visa(s). Please proceed immediately with getting your visa. Do not delay! If you have questions about traveling internationally, including specific visa questions, please visit the Harvard Global Support Services table in the lobby of Gund Hall from 10:30 am – 12 pm on lottery day. See Global Support Services website for more information:

Please be sure to use your legal name exactly as it appears in your passport for all transactions such as airline tickets to avoid any confusion. For students selected for studios with trips, please bring a photocopy of your passport with you to the first studio meeting. Please also note that there will be one set itinerary planned and arranged for all students in a studio. Any modifications are the responsibility of the individual student (including costs incurred). Teaching Assistants are not permitted to travel unless they are enrolled in the course/studio that is traveling.

Students are expected to cover their own meals and incidentals for all GSD related travel. Incidentals can include visas, taxis, airport taxes, meals, fees, immunizations, and other costs associated with the trip. These costs are in addition to the amount of term bill listed. Students participating in international site visits will be term-billed $300 unless otherwise noted on the Student Travel Information and Costs handout. Students participating in domestic site visits will be term-billed up to $300. Note online information WILL CHANGE over the next week. An official handout will be distributed on lottery day with this information. 

Not all students in all programs will possess the capabilities necessary to undertake certain projects that may be proposed by critics. Studio instructors have provided information available at and will mention in their presentation if their project requires students to have a particular background.  This information should be taken into consideration when you rank your choices on the lottery ballot. Please note that appropriate background means that you are currently enrolled in a degree program in this discipline, or previously obtained a degree in this discipline. Failure to select studios that you are eligible for will result in you being randomly assigned in a studio in which you are eligible.

Lottery presentations:
Studio critics will present their studio option offerings on Monday morning. The presentations will be in random order as detailed in the Order of Presentation document. Presentations take place in Piper Auditorium and begin at 9:00 a.m. Critics are encouraged to be thorough in their descriptions, including pedagogic objectives, appropriateness to students in programs outside the department offering the studio, course schedule, critic attendance (for visiting critics), and travel plans. Please pay close attention to these details and consider them when you rank your choices on your ballot. Critics will be briefly available in the lobby and auditorium for questions after presentations are complete.

Lottery Ballot Procedures:
After all studio presentations are over and the lottery is announced ‘Open’, log on to GROPIUS After logging in to GROPIUS, click on the Registration tab, and then the Studio Lottery link on the left.

In order to evenly distribute the load on the Lottery Web Server, please delay the entry of your ballot on the system according to the schedule as follows (The time you enter your ballot has no impact on the outcome of the lottery):

Last name beginning A – F, please enter after presentations end
Last name beginning G – L, please delay 30 minutes after presentations end
Last name beginning M – R, please delay 1 hour after presentations end
Last name beginning S – Z, please delay 1.5 hours after presentations end

All ballots must be completed on line by two hours after presentations end. Students who do not submit their ballots online and in person by that time will be randomly assigned a studio.

You must select six studios on your ballot, unless you wish to be assured of a studio option from your department. In that case, list preferences from only your department; you will also need to select that option on your on-line ballot and check off that box on your paper ballot. You should inform your program coordinator when you drop off your paper ballot in the 4th floor lounge that you wish to be in a studio offered by your department only. LA and UPD students must rank all of the choices offered in their departments and may leave the remaining choices blank. Architecture students must list six preferences. Failure to do so will result in preferences being randomly assigned up to the correct number of preferences.

Your ballot is binding and cannot be changed after entered one time. Please review your choices carefully before hitting ‘Submit.’ As with any on-line transaction, please do not hit the ‘SUBMIT’ button more than once. Please report any technical difficulties to HelpDesk, and see Aimee Taberner in 415 if you need to modify your ballot after hitting submit.

Lottery ballots will be available on GROPIUS as soon as presentations have ended. You will need your HUID and PIN in order to complete the lottery form. Use any web-browser (Netscape, Explorer, etc.) on any computer inside the GSD, including those in the library, or room 516.

Submit your completed lottery form on-line and your paper ballot to the 4th floor lounge no later than 2 hours after the lottery presentations have ended. Students with missing or incomplete forms will be assigned randomly to a studio.

For technical issues with the lottery process, see Help Desk in the lower level of Frances Loeb Library. If you have questions about the lottery procedure or your eligibility, please see the Program Coordinator in your department immediately. Note that you will be allowed to enter the lottery only one time. Please make sure your choices are correct before submitting the form. If you need to change your entry, you must report to the Program Coordinator in person.

Notes: Assignment to the studio options is determined by a computer program, which seeks to maximize ‘Total-Highest-Choice’ across all students, limited by available studio spaces. No priority is given on the basis of department, degree program, or semester. Failure to submit a lottery form on-line will result in a random assignment to a studio. The lottery will be supervised by the Program Directors and witnessed by a Student Forum representative. The submitted on-line lottery form and lottery results are binding. Any exceptions to this rule will be made by Friday afternoon, by a committee consisting of the Program Directors and the Executive Dean. Students should submit a written appeal to your department’s Program Coordinator by 9 AM on Tuesday, September 1. Exceptions are seldom granted.

Announcement of Results:
By approximately 6:30 PM, results of the lottery will be posted outside departmental offices as well as on-line via GROPIUS.

Room assignments for first studios meetings may be updated online at that time. Please be sure to double check times and locations for first meeting times as they may change throughout the day. This information can be found at:

Studio desks will be available for occupancy on the evening of Tuesday, September 1, at approximately 8 p.m. Given the overall logistics, we cannot give an exact time, and we would greatly appreciate your patience during the process. Please do not enter the trays until the announcement is made that the trays are open. Laura Snowdon will email students not enrolled in thesis or studio during the first week of classes if there are any available desks available for sharing. However, please be aware that there may not be any extra desks this term.

Classes begin:
Classes begin on Wednesday, September 2, but most option studios, particularly those with irregular schedules, will be meeting on Tuesday, September 1 and information about the location of those meetings will also be available at

Final reviews and exams:
After the start of the semester the final review schedule will be posted on the Information for Current Students area of the GSD website. All students should plan on being present throughout the ENTIRE option studio final review period, December 9-11, as well as through the ENTIRE final exam period, December 14, 15, 16 and 17.

Updated 8/28/15


Resources: Registrar: Registering: Studio Option Lottery

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