How to Form a Team

There is no limit to how many teams may be formed at a given college or university. Intercollegiate teams are welcome and have been successful in the competition.

Team Composition

  • Each team must be composed of five graduate students. Undergraduates in the fifth year of a five-year pre-professional program, such as a BLA or BArch also may compete.
  • The team members must represent a minimum of three disciplines that grant three different degrees, one of which must be a non-design-related discipline. ULI does not consider team members’ undergraduate degrees when determining whether the team meets the interdisciplinary requirements.
  • For example, a team could consist of the following:

2 architecture (MArch) students
2 landscape architecture (MLA) students
1 business (MBA) student

1 architecture (MArch) student
1 planning (MCP) student
1 historic preservation (MHP) student
1 real estate finance (MS) student
1 real estate development (MRED) student

1 urban design (MUD) student
2 landscape architecture (MLA) students
1 planning (MCP) student
1 real estate development (MRED) student

2 business (MBA) students
1 planning (MCP) student
1 landscape architecture (MLA) student
1 architecture (MArch) student

  • Each student team member must be a currently enrolled full-time graduate student in a degree-granting program. Exception: Part-time graduate students may participate in the competition provided that they have completed one semester by the start of the competition and they will be a part-time student during the entire competition period of January 13 to April 30, 2020. During team registration, they must submit to ULI a verification of their status from a director of their program. They can request this verification via the online registration form.
  • Students from different educational institutions may form a single team, as long as all other individual and team requirements are satisfied. For example, if your university does not offer a landscape architecture program and you would like to have that discipline represented in your team, you can work with another university to achieve the mix you seek. For instance, the 2012 and 2013 winning teams were composed of students from several universities.
  • Students enrolled in dual-degree programs must designate which degree program they represent on the team for the purposes of the team composition requirements. For example, a student who is enrolled in a joint MRED/MArch program must state which discipline they are representing on the team.
  • The only exceptions to these formulas for team formation are at universities where the graduate degree itself is considered a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary degree. This is very rare, but if you think this might apply to your team, please e-mail before the application deadline.
  • Once the team has been registered with ULI, it must remain intact throughout the entire process. Replacement of students or advisers is allowed only in the case of extraordinary circumstances and with written approval from ULI. If a member of a registered team decides not to continue, the team must replace the departing member while satisfying the requirements for team composition.
  • Team members—students, faculty, outside professionals—are not required to be members of ULI.

Communication with ULI

  • Each team must designate one student member as the team leader who will act as a contact person with ULI.
  • Please note that because of the volume of requests, and in order to guarantee the standards of the competition, ULI does not accept any phone calls related to this competition. Questions and comments should be addressed to

Faculty and Professional Advisers

  • Each team must have at least one faculty adviser from its university. The faculty adviser can be either from the design program(s) or from the real estate/business program(s). This faculty member serves only in an advisory role, they may not be an active team participant or a direct participant in the production of any competition materials.
  • Teams can have a second optional faculty adviser. If your team has two faculty advisers, they should represent different disciplines.
  • Each team must have a program head approve its application. The program head might be a program director, department chair, or dean. The individual who approves the application does not have to be the faculty adviser. By approving the application, the program head confirms that all team members are full-time graduate students enrolled for the spring 2020 semester (or part-time or undergraduate exceptions as noted above) and that the university is committed to supporting the team’s efforts.
  • Each team has the option of using two outside professionals who agree to act as  additional advisers. Each professional should represent a different discipline. The purpose of these advisers is to provide a different area of expertise than the faculty advisers. For example, if the faculty adviser is an architecture professor, the professional adviser could be a real estate professional. If the faculty adviser is a real estate professor, the secondary professional adviser could be a practicing architect, landscape architect, or other design professional. If there is a local real estate professional with whom you would like to work, feel free to contact him or her directly. If you need help finding a local real estate professional, you may e-mail your local ULI district council for assistance (see the complete list of District Councils). If you need further assistance, please e-mail If outside design professionals are not available through the local ULI district council, we recommend you contact your local chapter of the American Institute of Architects or the American Society of Landscape Architects. The professional advisers, like the faculty advisers, must function only as advisers and not as active team participants.

Reasons for Disqualification

A team can be disqualified if:

  • it does not have the proper number or mix of students
  • it does not have a faculty adviser
  • it does not have the endorsement of its school/department/program head
  • its application is late
  • it does not include all the necessary documentation with the application