ProgramsSI: Design Media Arts

Summer Institute


Registration for Summer 2024 Open, Virtual Program spaces still available, In-Person Program is currently at max capacity.

The Department of Design Media Arts (DMA) at UCLA is one of the nation’s top design departments, offering a comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in media creation, which 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 introducing design practices in the contexts of print, net, worlds, and motion. The program is taught by professionally trained and experienced instructors using the most current software and technology.

The Summer Institute culminates in a final exhibition and the creation of a portfolio-ready body of work that students may include in their college applications in related fields. It also provides students with a rare opportunity to sample college life in a cutting-edge design department, while earning four units of pass/no pass UC credit.


The DMA Summer Institute curriculum is based on materials covered in the department’s undergraduate curriculum. Each class is taught by one instructor and one program assistant; class size is limited to a maximum of 20 students.

Students explore a variety of media examining different practices and design methods applied to the domains of 2D image, net, 3D worldbuilding, and motion design. Broadly addressing a common theme, all four classes contribute to the creation of an integrated, multi-media exhibition at the end of the program.

Instructors for the DMA Summer Institute are graduate students and alumnx of the department’s prestigious MFA Program. Please visit UCLA Department of Design Media Arts for more information about our undergraduate and graduate programs.

2D Image

Students explore graphic design as image-making coupled with basic typography through a series of fun and fast-paced assignments and exercises for the print and digital media. All projects encapsulate the yearly theme while addressing principles of design such as form, data, composition, hierarchy, and creative intent. Students develop a design process and develop a visual vocabulary through hands-on experimentation and projects.


This course focuses on the web as a medium for creative expression and artistic intervention. Through examples and tutorials, students study the web in the tradition of art, activism, and creative coding. Using techniques like computer programming, collage, appropriation and strategies of artistic self-expression, students analyze these forms for their aesthetic and social potentials. References to relevant artworks are provided, both in and outside the field of web and interactive art.

3D Worldbuilding

Game engines developed originally for electronic games offer an exciting mode of interactive storytelling. Virtual spaces and their navigation can surround us in striking imagery and evoke complex moods. In this course, students learn the basics of how games and 3D media are developed, and they explore "worldbuilding" as a form of visual narrative, playfulness, and participatory experience. Students use the Unity3D game engine to build and dismantle 3-dimensional games.

Motion Design

In this course, students learn the exciting properties of time-based media—which is expressed as motion—and the methods for employing motion design in their own creative work. Exploring technical and experimental approaches to cinematography, animation, editing, and sound, students gain a basic understanding of video-making as a powerful medium capable of capturing, parsing, and imagining environments and stories.


Session A: In-person
July 7, 2024 – July 20, 2024
Session A Schedule

Session B: Virtual
July 22, 2024 – August 2, 2024
Session B Schedule

Portfolio Night

This is a great opportunity for Summer Institute students to engage in conversations about creating a portfolio-ready body of work to include in college applications. Portfolio Night will be held on Thursday, July 11 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided. Students may bring their own portfolios and are encouraged to ask for feedback from program assistants.

Extended Lab Night

One extended lab night is required for students on Thursday, July 18, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to complete their projects. Dinner will be provided.

Final Exhibition and closing reception

The two-week program culminates in a final exhibition of students’ works and a closing reception. This event is held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the last day of the program, Friday, July 19 in Broad Art Center room 1250. Family and friends are encouraged to attend.

Evening and weekend activities

Participants may attend optional evening or weekend activities offered by the residential supervision team at no additional cost.

Grades and transcripts

DMA Summer Institute students earn four quarter units of UC credit on a pass/no pass grading basis. Transcripts can be ordered online through MyUCLA; they are not automatically sent to students.


Due to the rigorous and intense nature of the program, the residential plan, which includes a meal plan, is mandatory for all participants. For a virtual tour of the UCLA residential halls, click here. Participants will be housed in one of the UCLA residence halls, comfortably furnished and conveniently located within easy walking distance of classrooms, libraries, and recreational facilities. Since the provision of housing is subject to availability, UCLA Summer Sessions cannot guarantee an assignment to a specific residential hall or room type. Details of the residential hall assignment will be provided prior to the check-in date.

Participants will have breakfast and dinner each day in the UCLA dining halls, recognized nationally for their excellent cuisine. For lunch, which is not included in the residential plan, participants may consider any of the UCLA eating establishments on campus. Lunches usually range from $10 to $20.


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.


Check-in will take place on July 7, at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. outside of Sproul Hall. Students may be dropped off at Sproul Turn-Around or for longer unloading, you may use the Sunset Village Parking Structure for up to 30 minutes.


Students may check out of Sproul Landing as early as 1pm, Friday, July 19, after the final exhibition at Broad Art Center. Students may stay in Sproul Landing until Saturday morning, July 20nd—but any later check-out should be noted in advance.


DMA Summer Institute includes the curricular component, hereinafter referred to as “required activities,” which allows participants to experience the academic rigor of UCLA, and the mandatory residential plan, which provides participants with an opportunity to experience college residential life. Required activities are listed in the schedule section and include class time, portfolio night, extended lab night, and the final exhibition. 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 residential supervision team when there are no required activities, so long as they abide by the terms of the Participant Agreement.

Precollege Summer Institutes are intended for highly motivated, mature high school students. Participants are considered to be maturing adults, capable of making their own decisions, as well as accepting the consequences for those decisions. 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 curfews will be enforced, the whereabouts of each participant outside of the program’s required activities will not be monitored.

residential supervision

A skilled team of UCLA undergraduate students and full time staff will be assigned to residential participants and will reside locally in the residence halls. All staff have undergone an extensive background check and training.

Their duties include:

  • Respond to incidents and emergencies.
  • Enforcing evening curfews and performing morning roll calls.
  • Coordinating and facilitating optional evening and weekend activities.
  • Responding to incidents and emergencies in a timely manner.

Important resources

To see more information about rules and regulations, medical responsibility and insurance, student conduct, and sexual violence prevention and response, please visit the UCLA summer session website.

Fees & scholarships

Students interested in the DMA Summer Institute may consider applying for the following two scholarship opportunities. The Summers Scholars Support is a need- and merit-based scholarship offered by the UCLA Summer Sessions Office. The Design Media Arts Scholarship is a need-based scholarship offered by the Department of Design Media Arts at UCLA. To be considered for both scholarships, students must submit materials to each program. For more information, click here.


Please visit the Summer Sessions website to find details about program fees and payment: DMA summer institute fees.


Registration for Summer 2024 Open, Virtual Program spaces still available, In-Person Program is currently at max capacity.


For questions about the program, please contact UCLA Summer Sessions, at