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 video. 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 print, net, worlds, and video. Broadly addressing a common theme, all four classes contribute to the creation of an integrated, multi-media exhibition at the end of the residency.
The DMA Summer Institute curriculum is based on materials covered in the department’s undergraduate curriculum. 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.
Graphic Design (Print)
Students develop a design process and critical visual vocabulary through experimentation and group critiques.They explore graphic design as image-making coupled with basic typography through a series of fun and fast-paced assignments and exercises. All projects encapsulate a yearly theme while addressing form, composition, hierarchy, and creativity.
Net Art (Net)
This course focuses on the internet as a medium for creative expression and artistic intervention. Through examples and small exercises based on a given theme, students study the web in the tradition of art and activism. Using techniques like 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 Net-based art.
Immersive 3D Worldbuilding (Worlds)
In this course, students learn the basics of how games are developed and explore Worldbuilding as a form of visual narrative, playfulness, and immersive participatory experience. Students use Unity3D game engine to build and dismantle three-dimensional (3D) games.
Motion Design (Video)
Video is a powerful medium capable of capturing, parsing, and imagining environments and stories. In this course, students explore the technical and experimental approaches to cinematography, animation, and sound. Students learn the exciting properties of time-based media and ways to enable their creative potential. Students gain a basic understanding of video-making and the strategies to create unique perceptual events.
During each class, students receive one-on-one instruction and work both individually and in groups to develop their own projects. Two classes are offered each day: 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. Lunch is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Students must bring money to purchase their own lunch on campus.
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 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided. Program assistants, who are current or recent DMA undergraduate students, will hold a portfolio night to exhibit their work. Students may bring their own portfolios and are encouraged to ask for feedback from program assistants. A representative from UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture will then give a short presentation on applying to Arts programs at UCLA.
Extended Lab Night
One extended lab night is required for students on Thursday, July 20, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 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 21 in 1250 Broad Art Center. Family and friends are encouraged to attend.
Evening and weekend activities
Participants may attend optional evening or weekend activities 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 9 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 must check-out on the morning of July 22 prior to attending program activities at 10:30 a.m. A room will be reserved to store their luggage during program activities. When the final exhibition concludes at 12:00 p.m., students may return to the residence halls to retrieve their luggage.
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 Office of Residential Life 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 staff
A highly skilled team of the Office of Residential Life staff, consisting of an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) and 20 Residential Assistants that have undergone an extensive background check and training, will be assigned to residential Precollege Summer Institutes, residing locally in the residence halls.
Their duties include:
- Enforce evening curfews (11:00 PM) and perform morning roll calls.
- Coordinate and facilitate optional ORL evening and weekend activities, which may include excursions to local attractions.
- Respond to incidents and emergencies.
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. To apply, click here.
Please visit the Summer Sessions website to find details about program fees and payment: DMA summer institute fees.
Registration for Summer 2023 will open on February 15 on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more at https://projects.dma.ucla.edu/SummerInstitute/2022/
For questions about the program, please contact Helen Tran, Assistant Director of DMA Summer Institute, at email@example.com.