UCLA Design Media Arts

Summer Institute


Design Media Arts

Summer Institute

The Department of Design Media Arts (DMA) at UCLA is one of the nation’s top design departments. We offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in media creation that fosters individual exploration and innovative thinking. Geared specifically for high school students, the department offers the DMA Summer Institute -- a two-week program with morning and afternoon classes in graphic design, web design, audio/video design, and game design. Taught by professionally trained and well-experienced instructors using the most current software and technology, the program culminates in the creation of an online portfolio students can use for college applications and an exhibition of students’ works. It also provides students with a rare opportunity to sample college life in a cutting-edge design department, while earning four quarter units of pass/no pass UC credit.


During the two-week program, students explore a variety of media in graphic design, web design, audio/video design, and game design. All four classes relate to and influence each other, and contribute to the creation of an integrated, multi-media exhibition at the end. Each class is taught by one instructor and one teaching assistant; class size is limited to a maximum of 20 students.

Graphic Design

In graphic design, students explore image-making, basic typography, and the integration of the two through a series of fun and fast-paced assignments and exercises. All projects encapsulate a theme while addressing form, composition, hierarchy, and creativity. Students develop a design process and critical visual vocabulary through experimentation, exploration, and group critiques.

Web Design

This course focuses on the web as a medium for creative expression and artistic intervention. Through examples and small exercises based on a determined theme, students study the web in the tradition of art and activism, using techniques like collage, the cut-up, the fake, and strategies of artistic self-expression. Students also analyze these forms for their aesthetic, narrative, and social potentials. References to relevant artworks are provided, both in and outside the field of web-based art.

Audio/Video Design

Video is a creative medium not only for recording and documenting, but also for creating environments all on its own. In this course, students learn exciting properties of video that make it such a powerful and communicative tool and the technical approaches to handmade films, animation, videography, and sound. Exploring light, shadow, and sound, students gain a basic understanding of video production, key-frame based animation, compositing, and strategies for using video to create unique perceptual experiences.

Game Design

Video games offer an exciting mode of interactive storytelling driven by the player’s experience. Complex moods can be struck through intangible logical systems. In game design, students learn the basics of how video games are developed and explore how the medium has changed over its short lifetime from the darkened arcades to the art game movement and immersive virtual reality. Students use Unity3d, the industry standard, to develop worldbuilding for interactive games.



Each day is divided into two classes: a morning class from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and an afternoon class from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. During each class, students receive one-on-one instruction and also work individually and in groups to develop their own projects.

Lunch is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Students must bring money to purchase their own lunch.

Extended Lab Hours

Extended lab hours are offered twice: on Friday, July 13 and Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm.

Final Exhibition + Closing Reception

The two-week program culminates in a final exhibition of students' works and a closing reception. This event is held on the last day of the program, Friday, July 20, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Family and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Grades + Transcripts

DMA Summer Institute students earn four quarter units of UC credit on a pass/no pass grading basis. Official transcripts must be ordered; they are not automatically sent to students. More information on grading policies and transcripts can be found at https://www.summer.ucla.edu/faq/grades.


The DMA Summer Institute curriculum is developed by Professor Willem Henri Lucas of UCLA Design Media Arts and Professor Silvia Rigon, Director of the UCLA DMA Summer Institute. It is based on materials covered in the department's undergraduate curriculum. Instructors for the DMA Summer Institute are graduate students and alumni of the department's prestigious MFA Program. Please visit UCLA Department of Design Media Arts for more information about our undergraduate and graduate programs.

Residence Hall Life

The program's on-campus housing provides students an opportunity to truly understand what it's like to be a student on our magnificent campus. Residence hall life on “The Hill,” which overlooks many of the nearby campus buildings and the vistas of Sunset Canyon, helps students get oriented faster and develop a close relationship with their program classmates.

On-campus housing includes daily breakfast and dinner from our award-winning dining program. Students will also be able to enjoy the heavenly California weather at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, where you can go for a swim or just lay back and soak up the sun.

Evening + Weekend Activities

The Office of Residential Life will offer optional evening and weekend activities. Resident Assistants (RA) are live-in staff members trained and hired by the Office Residential Life and are responsible for the administration and implementation of optional student development programs in a residential community. Under the supervision of a Resident Director, RAs help: enforce evening curfews and perform morning roll calls, coordinate optional activities which may include excursions to local attractions, and respond to incidents and emergencies.

Housing + Fees

Program Fee

2018 Summer Institute Fees


Required Supervised Residential Plan for High School Students

We require students to enroll in the residential plan (for a virtual tour, click here) because of the intense daily schedule. By living together, students will:

  • Live in the newest university accommodations: Sproul Cove, eight stories of residential space that will sit atop Sproul Presidio, a three-story support space that will feature a 450-seat multipurpose room, a 750-seat dining hall and a fitness center.
  • Share a double- or triple-occupancy room with another student in the program.
  • Have the opportunity to get to know better your classmates.
  • Spend more time working on final projects.
  • Eliminate safety and time concerns inherent in an urban commute.
  • Have breakfast and dinner each day in the UCLA dining halls, sites nationally recognized for their excellent cuisine. Students must, however, purchase their lunch each day at any of the eating establishments on campus.
  • Participate in planned social activities on selected evenings and on the weekend.

All summer institute students will reside in a residence hall with following amenities:

  • Rooms wired for internet access
  • Gender-specific shared bathrooms on each side of the hall
  • 24-hour front desk service and a secure facility entrance
  • Access to world-class recreation facilities
  • Laundry facilities available each floor


Participants will be assigned roommates based on age and gender and will be notified of the roommate assignment during residential check-in. In order to better foster a learning community that exposes students to peers from all over the world, participants may not request a specific roommate.


Sunday, July 8, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Check-in location is Sproul Hall. No early arrivals are accepted. Please arrive having eaten lunch.


Friday, July 20, by 11:00 a.m. The final exhibition will be held on Friday, July 20, from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Students will be able to store their luggage with the Office of Residential Life during program activities.

Housing Q and A

Are the residence halls co-ed?

The University's four high-rise residence halls are co-ed, with separate community restrooms and showers for men and women. Two students share one furnished room.

What amenities are provided in the residence halls?

Residence hall amenities include basic cable TV service and computer network connections in every room, plus laundry facilities on each floor. Each building has a computer lab/learning center and study lounges. 24-hour front desk services are available for mail and messages. Most buildings have a residential restaurant on the premise or nearby.

How secure are the residence halls?

Each residence hall has a 24-hour front desk service and a secure facility entrance. The doors are locked at night and can only be accessed by room key.

When can students move into their dorm rooms for the summer schedule?

Students may move into the dorm at the designated check-in day for summer programming.

When do students need to be out?

Students will need to be out by the designated check-out date. Upon check-out, students will need to turn in the dorm key, at the front desk.

Will my child be supervised in the residence hall?

Participants are expected to manage themselves with a high level of independence and self-sufficiency comparable to matriculated UCLA students. As such, only limited supervision will be provided. While optional evening and weekend activities offered by the Office of Residential Life may be available at residential halls and the evening curfew of 11 pm will be enforced, the whereabouts of each participant outside of the program’s required activities will not be monitored. Outside of the program schedule, participants may plan their time and travel on- or off-campus independently or choose to participate in evening or weekend programming activities offered by the Office of Residential Life so long as they abide by the terms of the Participant Agreement.

Are high school students on the same floor with college-aged students?

Yes, but high school students will not be housed on the same side of the floor as college-level students.

Scholarships + Contact


There are two different scholarships that applicants may apply for.

UCLA Summer Sessions offers a limited number of full and partial scholarships to qualified California high school students for the Summer Institutes.

UCLA Department of Design Media Arts (DMA) offers full or partial, need-based scholarships. To apply, please send the following materials in one packet:

  • A 2018 DMA Summer Institute Scholarship Application Form
  • A copy of your family's 2017 federal income tax return.
  • A Letter of Recommendation Form from a teacher or a school counselor commenting on your ability to successfully complete a rigorous creative program. Please allow your recommender at least two weeks to complete a letter of support.
  • All supporting documents must be submitted to the address below: UCLA Design Media Arts 2275 Broad Art Center Los Angeles, California 90095-1456 Attn: DMA Summer Institute Scholarship
  • Application must be received by 3pm on April 13, 2018.


For questions about the program, please contact:

  • DMA Summer Institute Info
  • Email: helen.tran@arts.ucla.edu