University of California, Berkeley

Summer [In]stitute in Environmental Design

DISC Summer Institue in Enviornmental Design Classroom Image

The College of Environmental Design’s Summer [In]stitute in Environmental Design is an intensive six-week program for anyone on the fast track to launching an environmental design career – in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning

Each program includes a lecture series, a design or planning studio, media workshops, and site visits. By fulfilling the program requirements, students earn a certificate of completion and graded credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript. All classes are held in Bauer Wurster Hall, CED's home on the UC Berkeley campus.

International students are welcome and encouraged to apply. No design experience is necessary.


  • Learn the fundamentals of environmental design
  • Experience the culture of design and planning studios
  • Craft a portfolio under the guidance of faculty mentors – for graduate school or job applications
  • Meet students on similar career tracks and connect with practitioners in the field
  • Earn college-level credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript

Summer [In]stitute alumni have been accepted to graduate programs at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Rice, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Yale, and at UC Berkeley.


The Summer [In]stitutes give participants from all academic backgrounds the opportunity to test their enthusiasm for the material and culture of environmental design. Summer [In]stitute participants explore the methods and theories of the fields, experience the culture of design and planning studios, connect to top faculty and practitioners, and build a portfolio for graduate school application.

The Summer [In]stitute in Environmental Design consists of three cohorts. Each participant will choose one of the following:

[IN]ARCH is an intensive program designed to immerse students in the foundational theories, philosophical principles and technical practices of architectural design. The program is structured as an introduction to studio culture and architectural discourse, and serves as a vehicle for further academic pursuits within the field.

[IN]ARCH teaches fundamentals of design, studio culture and architectural discourse with an emphasis on two linked but distinct components: studio instruction and media instruction. These are supplemented by a lecture series, field trips, readings and project reviews. The media component of the course provides historical/conceptual context for, and a practical knowledge of, various modes of representation. These techniques are both analog and digital, covering two and three-dimensional representational concerns through drawing, modeling and presentation/portfolio development. 

[IN]CITY immerses students in city planning and urban design. By attending daily lectures and engaging in studio work, participants acquire the skills necessary to inform planning proposals. [IN]CITY assignments are based on real projects with actual clients who represent a diverse group of stakeholder organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. These organizations actively aim to influence sustainable planning policy at the local, county and regional levels.

[IN]CITY students develop in-depth recommendations, analyses and proposals for these client projects, which run the gamut of planning practice: housing and design, bike mobility and transportation, public health and environmental justice, community development and gentrification, urban design, climate action and art in public spaces. In doing so, participants have an opportunity to influence planning in the Bay Area by exploring institutional, political, social, economic and environmental policy challenges.

[IN]LAND is an immersive program in which students are introduced to the fundamentals of landscape architectural practice through the process of making and experimentation as research into site potentials. Initial ideas are developed and transformed through rigorous investigation in a collaborative studio environment. Students develop a landscape vocabulary that engages with the concepts of ecology, public space, sustainability and multiple scales of design.

Throughout the course, students learn to express a site in terms of its organizational and relational characteristics while investigating a range of potential conditions over time. Individually and collectively, students pursue inquiries that are agile and flexible, and experiment with various mediums to uncover hidden aspects of processes, spaces and materiality.

Michaela Ballek, Director of Summer Programs
David Orkand, Academic Program Director

University of California, Berkeley

College of Environmental Design

212 Wurster Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720