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UCLA Design Media Arts Summer Institute

July 11-22, 2016


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.

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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, hierarachy, 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

Videogames offer an exciting mode of interactive storytelling driven by the programmed interaction of bits. Complex moods can be struck through intangible logical systems. In game design, students learn the basics of how videogames are developed, and explore how the medium has changed over its short lifetime from the darkened arcades to the art game movement and eSports. Students use Unity3d, the industry standard, to build and dismantle games. Programming is embraced in the form of Javascript.

All four classes will relate to and influence each other, and will contribute to the creation of an integrated, final, multi-media project.

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Daily Schedule

Each day is divided into two classes: a morning class from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and an afternoon class from 1:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. During each class, students receive one-on-one instruction and work individually and in groups to develop their own projects. Experts from the field are invited to give guest lectures and provide input on students’ works.

Lunch is from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Students must bring money to purchase their own lunch.

Extended Lab Hours

Extended lab hours are offered on Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

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 on the last day of the program, Friday, July 22, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Parents are encouraged to attend.

Grades and 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 on the UCLA Summer Sessions Website.


The DMA Summer Institute curriculum is developed by Willem Henri Lucas, professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA. 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 classmates and program counselors.

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 program offers many extra-curricular activities, including trips to the local museums or a relaxing afternoon by the pool.

All activities are supervised by program counselors.

Detailed schedule will be posted soon.

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Housing + Fees

Program Fee (includes registration, course, and mandatory housing fees)*

Visiting Students:

Program Fee* $3,188

Documentation Fee** $50

IEI Fee *** $61

*All fees subject to change by action of the UC Regents.

**Summer-only students will be assessed a one-time document fee during their first summer term; summer-only students will not be subject to the document fee any following summer terms.

*** The IEI fee is a course materials fee that is charged in order to support the use of technology in education at UCLA.

Full and partial, need-based scholarships are available.


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, you 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-occupancy room with another student in the program.

- Have the opportunity to get to know classmates and counselors extensively.

- Spend more time working on final projects.

- Eliminate safety and time concerns inherent in an urban commute.

- Receive full supervision by an exceptional staff of UCLA students and full-time staff members.

- 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.


Students will be assigned roommates based on age and gender and have the option to indicate a preferred roommate on the registration form. Students will not be assigned as roommates unless both students indicate this preference on their registration form.


Sunday, July 10th, at 1:00 p.m. No early arrivals are accepted. Please arrive having eaten lunch.


Friday, July 22, by 11:00 a.m. If an additional night of stay is required for out-of-state and international students, a Saturday check-out can be requested but not guaranteed. Please contact UCLA Summer Institutes to request Saturday check-out.

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?

Yes, students will be supervised by the program counselors at all times, including in the residence halls. The 11 p.m. curfew will also be strictly enforced by the program counselors.

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.

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There are two different scholarships that applicants may apply for.

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For questions about the program, please contact: