The bursary, administered by the RIBA and the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), has given more than £15,000 to the four schemes.
Sophie Handler, from muf, has won £5,000 to set up workable interventions in public space for older residents in Newham, east London.
The Architectural Association's Asif Khan and Julia King receive £7,240 for their refugee housing project on the Thai/Burma border.
And another student, Julia Bouvy from Oxford Brookes, has received £1,000 for her project to regenerate embankment life in west Africa.
John McAslan said: 'This is the third year of the bursary, which I am pleased to continue with the RIBA and ICE. Without doubt this year has seen the highest quality of entries and a fantastic range of projects both in the UK and abroad.'