California Summer Programs and Camps for High School and Middle School Students

This page of the directory includes information about California summer educational programs for students. There are a variety of programs available in California. The focus of the programs vary and topics include art, technology, science, music, business, math, and more. Many of the summer opportunities are pre-college programs, which take place on college campuses in different locations around the state. Students participating in a pre-college program have the chance to get a preview of life in a college setting. Overall, California summer programs can enable students to learn about topics at in-depth levels, meet peers with similar interest, explore potential careers, and gain experience in a university setting. The postings on this page provide more information about California summer educational programs high school and/or middle school students.

California Summer Program Spotlights

UCLA Summer Science and ArtProgram for High School Students

UCLA Sci|Art Nanolab Summer Program

University of California Santa Barbara Summer Program for High School Students

UC Santa Barbara Pre-College
Summer Program

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Summer Academy for Advanced High School Students

California Summer Educational Programs

California College of the Arts Summer Pre-College Art Program for High School Studenets

California College of the Art Pre-College Summer Program – Bay Area, California
The California College of the Arts (CCA) Pre-College Program is a summer opportunity designed for high school learners. It takes place on CCA’s Bay Area campuses. The program is intended for juniors and seniors and recent graduates. The pre-college program enables students to experience life on a college campus, develop as an artist, gain confidence, and meet peers with a similar interest. Participants can embrace their interest in art and design and work on pieces that can be used in a portfolio. There are many different studio options available, including animation, ceramics, film, fashion design, photography, painting, and many more.
Participants: High school students and recent graduates.

Perception Science Program
UC Berkeley

Perception Science Program at the University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California
This program provides the opportunity for high school learners to engage in state of the art research in vision science. Students participate in every phase of the research process in this immersive experience and work with members of the UC Berkeley Whitney lab to develop and test new research ideas. Students also learn about computer coding and statistical analysis, which are significant aspects of science research. Overall, participating students learn about experimental design, neuroscience topics, statistical analysis, and scientific presentations during this unique summer opportunity.

UC Davis


University of California, Davis Summer Pre-College Program – Davis, California.
UC Davis provides high school students with a residency-based pre-college summer program. Students have the opportunity to gain experience on a college campus, learn about topics of interest, preview college life, work with staff members, and meet motivated peers at a leading research university.  Past program topics have included coastal and marine science, aquaponics, and equine science.
Participants: High school students.


UCLA Theatre Performing Arts Pre-College Summer Institutes – Los Angeles, California
The Department of Theatre at UCLA provides high school learners with the chance to enhance their acting, singing and dancing skills through well-developed sessions that are taught by the faculty members and industry experts. The summer program enables students to gain the experience that can help them prepare to participate in a university’s performing arts program. The program can help students to explore and consider career pathways in the performing arts.
Participants: High school students.

Cal Poly

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo EPIC Summer Engineering Camp – San Luis Obispo, California
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers a summer program known as EPIC (Engineering Possibilities in College). This camp is designed to help students learn about variety of engineering areas. Participants have the chance to participate in practical labs, gain hands-on experiences, learn from college professors and leading experts, learn about life on a college campus, and meet new friends. In addition, participating students have the opportunity to develop their own projects in high-interest areas through an experiential learning approach.
Participants: High school students and middle school students

UC Riverside

University of California, Riverside Summer Academy – Riverside California
The UC Riverside Summer Academy Program gives students the opportunity to take college-level classes, learn from university professors, and gain experience on a college campus. The program enables students to extend their learning beyond the academic year, gain insight into a subject at an in-depth level, explore potential college majors, and consider career options.
Participants: High school juniors and seniors


Economics Summer Program at Chapman University – Orange, California
The Economic Science Institute and Thomas W. Smith Foundation offer an economics summer workshop for rising junior and senior learners at Chapman University. Students who have not had a previous economics course have the opportunity to become interested in the foundations and principles of economics. Participants who have had prior experience with economics can enhance their interest in this field by examining new topics and analyzing new information. The program is designed to be a week-long experience during summer.
Participants: Junior and senior students


COSMOS Summer STEM Program – Campus Sites around California
COSMOS is a summer residency program for learners who have shown promise in academic areas related to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and who would like to pursue a career field in this area. The program provides participants with the chance to gain experience on a college campus, meet motivated peers, participate in hands-on activities, and learn from leading faculty members and science experts. The summer program involves intensive hands-on and laboratory activities to help students develop skills and enhance their knowledge in STEM areas.
Participants: Students completing grades 8 – 12.

embARC Summer Design Academy

embARC Summer Design Academy at the University of California Berkeley – Berkeley, California
The UC Berkeley College of of Environmental Design offers a summer program called embARC. This program enables high school students to learn about high-interest areas such as architecture, urban design, and sustainable city planning. Participating students engage in workshops, discussions, hands-activities, and a community project. The program involves an architecture & urban design studio, a community build project, environmental design discussions, and a digital design workshop. The program’s interdisciplinary approach allows students view significant areas of study with a unique perspective.
Participants: Students who have completed 10th or 11th grade in high school.

San José State

San José State Summer Music Program – San José, California
The summer music program at San José State is known as Summer in the City. It is a pre-college program that provides students with a chance to enhance their music skills and be surrounded by others who have an interest in music. Participating students have the opportunity to learn from faculty members and musicians. They also gain experience participating in an ensemble, a chamber ensemble, and music courses of interest. The program culminates with student engaging in performances. The program is divided into a high school session and junior high session.
Participants: High school and junior high school students.

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