International Development Summer Institute


June 21 - July 9, 2021
UCLA Course Credit: International Development Studies 1 (5 units)
Three Week Online Program

Program Overview

The UCLA International Development Summer Institute is a three-week, UC credit-bearing, intensive program for high school students passionate about developing innovative strategies to address some of the most critical issues the world is facing today. Through rigorous coursework, guided discussions and debates, an immersive project incubator lab think tank, workshops led by experts, and field visits, Institute students will be trained to develop policy memos, models, and interventions to address global issues in ways that are economically, environmentally, and culturally sustainable.

Global Poverty and Inequality: Los Angeles as a Living Lab

Today, it is widely understood that governments of “third world” countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America struggle to meet challenges posed by severe and endemic poverty, growing inequality, conflict, corruption, environmental degradation exacerbated by climate change, and numerous other constraints on their capacity to provide for rapidly growing populations. Yet, we must also recognize that inequality transcends the borders imagined to divide the so-called Global North form the Global South: marginalized and disempowered groups, communities, and entire nations even, exist within the wealthiest and most developed of countries. In fact, when it comes to issues as diverse as water scarcity and pollution, to community development in migrant neighborhoods, and to the solutions for these issues, Los Angeles itself is a microcosm of the developing world. Utilizing Los Angeles as a living laboratory, this program offers students a unique opportunity to study, analyze, and critically assess the social, political and economic forces that have shaped inequality in the modern world through an interdisciplinary lens.


Central Objectives

The UCLA International Development Summer Institute is designed to engage students with debates around the widening patterns of disparities of wealth, power, privilege, and access to social justice—as well as the policies, interventions, and forms of citizen engagement intended to address them—both between and within the countries of the Global South and North. The three week-long program is a perfect way for students to enhance their critical thinking, reading, writing, and presentation skills in preparation for university studies while working cooperatively to accomplish substantive goals that benefit the world. Within the immersive incubator lab think tank, students will work in teams to develop policy memos, social entrepreneurship business models, grant proposals, and more, culminating to presentations, projects, and papers that will span issues such as migrant and refugee rights in the Middle East, environmental justice in the Amazon, quality education in Africa, and access to healthcare for marginalized communities in the United States. The Summer Institute is perfect for students interested in international careers with organizations such as the United Nations and a host of diverse professional pathways including law, international relations, public policy, government, diplomacy, as well as for students interesting in studying accompanying subjects in college such as international development studies, economics, political science, history, law, public affairs, public health, environmental sciences, communications, and more.

 This program is designed for students who seek the discipline and training required for continued university studies and a career in international development, and who are committed to learning how to transform a passion for social justice into skills that can make an impact locally and globally.



An application is required for program admission. (See HOW TO APPLY section below for more information).

Program Eligibility

To apply for the International Developmment Summer Institute, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Enrolled in grades 8th – 12th during Spring 2021

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

Application Requirements

To participate in the International Development Summer Institute, you must apply and receive acceptance into the program.

The essay will be prompted on the registration form.

How To Apply

Application for the International Development 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, including your essay response (see Application Requirements above for more information)
  4. Submit your registration form.
  5. Allow up to two weeks for the program instructor(s) to review your application after submission. An email will be sent to you with the official decision.
  6. If accepted to the program, follow the steps in your acceptance email to make payment of the non-refundable registration fee and reserve your space in the program.

A space in the program is not reserved for you until valid payment of the non-refundable registration fee* is completed. Those who are not prepared to pay after program acceptance can submit their registration form and retrieve registration at another time to make payment, however you risk losing a space in the program if the program reaches capacity prior to the ability to pay.

This 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.

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

JUNE 21 - JULY 9, 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

JUNE 21 - JULY 9: International Development Summer Institute

UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.