Game Lab Summer Institute


Session A
July 12 - July 23, 2021

Session B
July 26 - August 6, 2021

UCLA Course Credit: DESMA 3 (4 units)
Two Week Online Program


Program Overview

The UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute introduces high school students to game-making as a form of artistic practice, teaching them the techniques and tools that will help them develop analog and digital games that reflect their own creative voice and vision. No previous game-making skills are required, but students with an interest in games and in the visual arts, in particular, will find the curriculum especially stimulating and rewarding.

The UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute is committed to diversity, and the program welcomes students of all cultural, racial, gender, linguistic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and physical abilities. Women in particular are encouraged to participate in the program (see Financial Aid, under Fees and Payment, for more information).

Students in the program develop a solid aesthetic and technical foundation in various aspects of game design--but just as importantly, they begin learning how to express their own, personal ideas through game-making and game art.

Taught by alumni of the internationally renowned UCLA Game Lab, the two-week program leads students through four, hands-on courses in game development. These workflow-oriented classes focus on:

  • Learning the fundamentals of game design
  • Creating compelling game characters
  • Building game worlds
  • Programming/coding games

By the end of the two weeks, students will have created complete games or game assets in each of the four classes. Students leave the program with game art they can include in their college-application portfolios.

The institute also provides students with a rare opportunity to receive invaluable feedback that will prove useful to academic and career considerations in the gaming field and earn four units of pass/no pass UC credit. PLEASE NOTE THIS MEANS THE UCLA GAME LAB SUMMER INSTITUTE IS NOT A GAME "CAMP". THESE ARE PRE-COLLEGE COURSES FOR COLLEGE CREDIT DESIGNED TO INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO GAME ART AS A CREATIVE AND INTELLECTUAL DISCIPLINE. 

About the UCLA Game Lab

The UCLA Game Lab is a creative research center that approaches game design and development as a discipline that combines technology and the arts. It specializes in using game technology for experimental and expressive applications and enables designers of all backgrounds to start making games.

Founded in 2009 by artist and game designer Eddo Stern, a professor in the Department of Design Media Arts, the lab is sponsored by the School of the Arts and Architecture and the School of Theater, Film, and Television. The lab’s mission is to foster the production of various game forms and game-related research along three areas of focus:

  • Game aesthetics - the experimentation with the look, sound, language and tactility of games
  • Game context - development of games that involve the body, interface, physical space and/or performance in new ways
  • Game genres - examination of the history and discourse of gaming and the development of game forms that explore new subject matter for games and push the boundaries of the medium

How to Register

Registration for the Game Lab Summer Institute can be done conveniently online using the steps below.

  1. Access the Summer Institute Online Registration Form starting February 15. Read all terms and conditions, then scroll to the bottom and “Continue to Registration”.
  2. Complete the first page of the online registration form by answering all mandatory questions, then, select “Continue” at the end of the first page.
  3. Provide responses to all questions on the second page of the online registration form, then “Submit”.
  4. Once your form is submitted, you will be redirected to the retrieve registration page, where you can select “Pay Now” to proceed with payment of the $350 non-refundable registration fee . Continue with the payment instructions to reserve your space in the program.

A space in the program is not reserved for you until valid payment of the non-refundable deposit* is completed. Those who are not prepared to pay after program acceptance can submit their registration form, log out, and retrieve registration at another time to make a payment, however, you risk losing a space in the program if the program reaches capacity prior to the ability to pay. An email with instructions to retrieve registration will be sent within an hour of submitting your registration.

The registration fee is not refundable under any circumstances including, but not limited to, drop for non-payment and withdrawal, even if you withdraw from the program before it begins.

If the program is full, you will not be prompted to make payment. When your application is accepted from the waitlist, you will be notified by email with instructions for methods of payment.

If registering after May 1, full payment of all fees including the non-refundable registration fee but excluding any applicable document and IEI fees is required to reserve your space in the program.

Students planning to apply for scholarships (see Financial Aid, under Fees and Payment, for more information) should be sure to register for the program first. As soon as scholarship awards and notifications are issued, all applicants are encouraged to promptly complete the enrollment process--thereby securing a permanent space in the program.


Program Eligibility

To participate for the Game Lab Summer Institute, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • 14 years of age or older prior to June 21, 2021
  • Enrolled in grades 9th – 12th during Spring 2021

Students who do not meet the minimum program requirements should not register and should consider other summer opportunities.

Commitment to diversity and inclusivity
The UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute is committed to the values of diversity and to fostering an environment of inclusivity for all students, faculty and staff, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, political affiliation, or religion. We expect students, faculty, and staff to respect these values and to help ensure that the Summer Institute is a safe and supportive environment for everyone.

How to Make Registration Changes

Already submitted the online registration form but need to make a change or finish your registration? You can easily do so by retrieving your registration. To retrieve registration, please complete the steps below:

  1. Access the Summer Institute Retrieve Registration Form here.
  2. You will need your five-digit registration number that was sent to your email address. Fill out the form, then “Submit”.









Program Dates

JULY 12 - JULY 23, 2021

JULY 26 - AUGUST 6, 2021

Important Dates

FEBRUARY 15 - APRIL 1: Summer Scholars Support for California High School Students Application Period

FEBRUARY 15: Registration Opens

MAY 1: Payment due in full

JUNE 15: Refund Deadline - Refund Deadline for Summer Institutes

JULY 12-23: Game Lab (A) - Session A

JULY 26 - AUGUST 6: Game Lab (B) - Session B

UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.