Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities]


Applying and Admissions

Who should apply?

Disc* is designed for participants interested in the following: 

  • Taking an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the major debates around global urbanization and sustainability.
  • Understanding the potentials and limitations of design and technology interventions.
  • Managing a collaborative project that spans from conception to fabrication.
  • Building an academic portfolio to use when applying to graduate school or professional positions.
  • Designing a product, artifact, or intervention that affects environmental awareness or change.
  • Creating a network of like-minded peers and mentors that will last far beyond the summer.
Am I eligible to apply for the Disc* Program?

All domestic and international 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.

I don't have any prior design experience. Can I apply?

Disc* is open participants with all levels of design experience, from all academic backgrounds and all colleges or universities.

What are the dates of the program?

Disc*2022 begins on Tuesday, July 5 and concludes on Friday, August 6. 

How do I apply?

The online application launches on December 15. Students must complete this application, which requires a brief statement of interest and unofficial college transcripts, and submit a $50 application fee, in order to be considered for admission. 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. Please visit our International Students info page for more details.

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

The CED Summer Programs office will review applications on a rolling basis. Since the program does reach capacity each summer, we recommend early submissions. Applications will be reviewed beginning in February. Admissions decisions are emailed within two weeks 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)

Program Cost

What is the total cost of the program, including UC Berkeley Summer Sessions fees?

Approximate tuition and fees for the Disc*2022 are as follows:

  • Approx. $4,500 for domestic students who take the course for 1 unit
  • Approx. $6,960 for international students and domestic students who take the course for 5 units

For more information on total costs, including housing options, visit the Deadlines & 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 2020 deadlines are as follows:

  • Sunday June 7: 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 program fee and all Summer Sessions fees, minus a $100 cancellation fee. (For international students, the $400 International Service Fee is non-refundable.)
  • Tuesday July 7: 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 $475 withdrawal fee. (For international students, the $400 International Service Fee is non-refundable.)
  • Sunday July 19: Contact the CED Summer Programs Office to withdraw from the program without a refund.

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 graded pass/no pass. 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. We recommend confirming this before enrolling in the course. 


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 Programs participants in the past.
  • The CED Summer Programs Facebook Group is used by incoming Disc* students to trade house-hunting tips and share leads. Once you have enrolled you will be invited to this group.

See the Cost & Deadlines page for more information on housing options.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Is financial aid offered for the program?

A small handful of need-based stipends are available to accepted students. Applicants will have the opportunity to request a stipend while filling out the program application. Program applications must be submitted before April 2 in order to be eligible for consideration for a stipend. 


What should I bring for the program?

Students are encouraged to bring a laptop and a digtal camera or smartphone to class. 

What should I bring to studio and site visits?

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. For site visits, students are asked to bring a sketchbook, sun protection (a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), warm clothing for foggy temperatures in the 50's, a water bottle, a lunch and snacks, and their Clipper Card and Disc* handbook issued on the first day of the program.. Professional business attire or neat clothing is required for some field trips and final presentations.