Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities]


JULY 3 - AUGUST 4, 2017

Applying and Admissions

Why should I attend?
  • Identify and explore the major debates around global urbanization and sustainability.
  • Understand the potentials and limitations of design and technology interventions.
  • Construct a project that spans from conception to design and fabrication.
  • Build an academic portfolio to use when applying to graduate school or jobs.
  • Design a product, artifact, or intervention that affects environmental awareness or change.
Am I eligible to apply for the Disc* Program?

All current college students who are in good academic standing will be considered for the Disc* program. Applications from recent graduates and graduate students whose research interests closely align with Disc* curriculum will also be considered. See the How to Apply page for more details on eligibility.

What are the dates of the program?

Disc*2017 begins on Monday, July 3 and concludes on Friday, August 4. The program does not meet on the Fourth of July holiday.

How do I apply?

The online application launches in mid-December. Students must complete this application, which includes a brief statement of interest and an unofficial college transcript, and submit a $50 application fee. See the How to Apply page for details.

I am an international student. May I apply to Disc*?

Yes, international students are encouraged to apply to the program. If admitted, international students will be directed to register for the 5 unit section of Disc* and submit the required materials in order to receive an I-20 form to apply for a student visa.

When will I find out if I've been accepted?

The CED Summer Programs office will review applications on a rolling basis and welcomes early submissions. Applications will be reviewed beginning in February. Admissions decisions are emailed within seven days from the date the application is received.

I am not eligible for Disc*. Are there any other design programs offered by CED?

Yes! The College of Environmental Design offers two additional summer programs - one for high school students (embARC) and one for post-baccalaureate students (Summer [IN]STITUTE). We also offer MAKERWORKSHOPS that are open to the public through the Cal Design Lab and the CED Fabrication Shop.

Program Cost

What is the total cost of the program, including UC Berkeley Summer Sessions and housing/dining fees?

Tuition and fees for the Disc*2016 are as follows:

  • $3,940 for current UCB undergraduate students
  • $4,042 for current UCB graduate students
  • $4,155 for visiting domestic students
  • $6,535 for visiting international students

For more information on total costs, including housing options, visit the Cost page.

What is the refund policy?

CED reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient enrollment; students already enrolled will receive a full refund.  For student-initiated cancellations, the 2017 deadlines are as follows:

  • Friday June 2: Contact the CED Summer Programs Office (summerdiscovery@berkeley.edu) to cancel your enrollment by this date and you will receive a full refund of the $3,200 program fee and all Summer Sessions fees, minus a $100 cancellation fee. (For international students, the $300 I-20 Processing Fee is non-refundable.)
  • Friday June 30: Contact the CED Summer Programs Office to cancel your enrollment by this date and you will receive a refund of all Summer Sessions fees, minus a $100 cancellation fee. (For international students, the $300 I-20 Processing Fee is non-refundable.)
  • Friday July 7: Contact the CED Summer Programs Office to withdraw from the program by this date and you will receive a refund of the Summer Sessions Course Fee (approximately $450 for domestic students), minus a Withdrawal Processing Fee (approximately $335 for domestic students).

Academic Credit

Can credit from Disc* later be transferred to another university?

Potentially. Disc* is offered as ENV DES 8: Summer Discovery, a 5 unit course with a letter grade, or ENV DES 98: Directed Group Study, a 1 unit course. Some institutions may count this credit towards the total number of units required for a degree; this can usually be confirmed by your admissions counselor or degree adviser.


Do I need to live on campus?

In consideration of the significant time commitment required by the program, Disc* participants are strongly encouraged to live on or close to campus. Disc* students do have several options for housing, some of which include meals. The following links will give you an idea of housing costs in the Berkeley area.

  • Many summer students find sublets in the neighborhood using online listings such as Craigslist. Keep in mind that many more options become available during the summertime.
  • Another option would be to take a room at the International House, which is a five-minute walk from the College of Environmental Design and offers meals. Many Disc* alumni strongly recommend the I-House!
  • UC Berkeley residence halls and Berkeley Student Cooperatives also become available to visiting students during the summer sessions.
  • Cal Rentals is an online subscription service is set up specifically to help summer student visitors find sublets around campus. You can also email them after March 1 to request their Summer Housing Bulletin.
  • HousingAnywhere.com is a platform originally created for international exchange and internship students that has been highly effective for Summer Institute participants in the past.
  • The CED Summer Programs Facebook Group is used by incoming Institute students to trade house-hunting tips and share leads. Once you have enrolled you will be invited to this group.

See the Cost page for more information on housing options.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Is financial aid offered for the program?

A small number of partial scholarships are available. Applicants who wish to be considered for a scholarship must send a request to the CED Summer Programs Office (summerdiscovery@berkeley.edu) and submit their application before April 1, 2017. Information on the scholarship process will be included with an offer of admission.


What should I bring for the program?

Students are encouraged to bring a laptop and a digital camera to class.

What is the appropriate attire for studio and field trips?

Students should wear comfortable clothing and shoes for regular studio course days. In studio, long hair should be pulled back, and students should refrain from wearing jewelry that dangles, such as long necklaces or large earrings. Sunscreen and re-usable water bottles are encouraged for field trips. Professional business attire or neat clothing is required for some field trips and final presentations.