cityLAB Summer Institute




UCLA's cityLAB Summer Institute is an innovative combination of new technologies, urban explorations, and spatial analyses realized through a hands-on engagement with the city of Los Angeles. Active, project-based learning is emphasized in studios, seminars, guided tours, and fieldwork. We focus on how different technologies gave rise to the global metropolis of Los Angeles and also created various social, economic, and cultural divisions within the city. The Institute takes the city of LA as a "learning lab" for critical exploration and social engagement from the level of individual neighborhoods to large-scale infrastructure projects. Sites of investigation include: Playa Vista's tech hub, downtown LA, and historic neighborhoods such as La Placita, Chinatown, and Boyle Heights.

Creative forms of collaborative research and communication from digital mapping and information visualization to film-making and social media introduce a range of tools to delve into and document urban life as well as provide students with concrete, transferable skills. Students will develop an online digital portfolio that illustrates and documents their investigations and projects. The students' experience will be augmented by guest lectures and opportunities to engage with LA's start-up culture through visits to local companies and campus partners, including UCLA's Summer Accelerator.

The program is open to all majors.

Program Eligibility

To participate in the cityLAB Summer Institute, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Currently have a high school diploma (or equivalent)

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

Application Requirements

The cityLAB Summer Institute is by instructor consent only. To participate, you must apply and receive acceptance into the program.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete the following:

  • Short essay answering the following: Please describe why you want to take this course and how it relates to your personal or academic interests. 500 words or less.
  • Upload copy of current transcript or studylist

Students will be notified within 2 weeks of an acceptance decision.

NOTE: Students should compose the essay before beginning the online registration process. There will be text fields on the online registration form of which the response text can be copied.

How to Apply

  1. Access the Summer Institute Online Registration Form. 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. Once your form is submitted, you will be directed to the Retrieve Registration page. Select “File Uploads” to upload your transcript or studylist (see Application Requirements above for more information)
  6. Allow up to 2 weeks for the program instructor(s) to review your application. An email will be sent to you with the official decision.
  7. If accepted to the program, follow the steps in your acceptance email to make payment of the non-refundable deposit ($150 for domestic students, $400 for international students) and 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 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 deposit 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 you withdraw, this deposit will appear as processing fee charge on your BruinBill account.

If the program is full, you will not be prompted to make payment. When your application is accepted from the wait list, 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 deposit but excluding any applicable document and IEI fees is required to reserve your space in the program.

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”.

Many changes and additions can be made using retrieve registration including: Payment submission of the non-refundable deposit

  • Uploading required documents
  • Dropping a current program
  • Adding a second program
  • Switching to a new program

Important Dates

APRIL 1-30: Financial Aid Application for Current UCLA Students Available

MAY 1: Full Payment due for All Summer Institutes

JUNE 15: Refund Deadline for Summer Institutes