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.
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.
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.
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.
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 are offered twice: on Friday, July 13 and Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
All summer institute students will reside in a residence hall with following amenities:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students may move into the dorm at the designated check-in day for summer programming.
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.
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.
Yes, but high school students will not be housed on the same side of the floor as college-level students.
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:
For questions about the program, please contact: