Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities]



Remote Program

I'm in a different time zone. How will I participate in the course?

The Disc* teaching team will structure the course in such a way that students will be able to participate in both synchronous and asynchronous instruction regardless of their location.

What is the meeting schedule/time commitment?

Disc* participants should expect to spend at least 30 hours per week in class and working on projects and assignments.

What is the course structure?

The program will have four main components: Lecture/Seminar, Digital Workshops, Studio/Research, and Fieldwork (to be done in home city if possible). The program will include both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, assigned reading and discussion, group and individual work. Final work will be individual design/research projects.

What types of software will I be using?

The course will use innovative software for communication, design, and production, including but not limited to Zoom, Miro, and Mural for virtual collaboration, Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for graphic design, and Rhino and Google Cardboard for 3D modeling and virtual reality. Students will need to download and install all software before the first day of instruction. Students will be able to access all required software via a remote desktop connection for the duration of the program and with their UC Berkeley email will have access to free software download.

What materials will I need to participate?

You will need a personal computer. Smartphone and Google Cardboard optional.

How will I interact with the instructors and my classmates?

You will have both group and individual meetings through remote learning platforms (Zoom, Miro, Mural) with instructors and students from around the world. Final work will be displayed in a virtual gallery at the end of the program.

How will my work be graded/evaluated? How will mid and final reviews be conducted remotely?

Your coursework will be evaluated on a pass/no pass basis, with consideration of progress, consistency, completeness, attendance, participation, and overall quality.

Applying and Admissions

Who should apply?

Disc* is designed for currently enrolled undergraduates from any major 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.
  • Building an academic portfolio to use when applying to graduate school or professional positions.
  • Creating a network of like-minded peers and mentors that will last far beyond the summer.
  • Earning a certificate of completion and credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript.
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*2021 will start on July 6 and end on August 6.

How do I apply?

The online application launched 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. The application deadline is May 15. 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*2020 are $4,600 for domestic and international students.

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 deadline for a full refund is Friday, June 18.

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. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Is financial aid offered for the program?

A small handful of partial need-based stipends are available to accepted students. Applicants will have the opportunity to request a stipend while filling out the program application.


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