Explore Engineering at UCLA



The 2017 Explore Engineering Application is Now Open

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science invites motivated international high school students to Los Angeles, California, to participate in a rigorous pre-engineering and cultural enrichment program at UCLA.

Working in small teams, Explore Engineering at UCLA participants will design, build, and test their technical creations. Our world-renowned UCLA Engineering faculty and students run workshops, provide tutoring and mentorship in order to ensure that participants gain the knowledge and skill needed to complete the challenges. Participants will learn about careers in engineering and admission to UCLA while creating friendships and connections that will last a lifetime.

Explore Engineering at UCLA is an intensive three week hands on engineering summer program. Explore Engineering is much more than a summer session course with open enrollment. Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion from the dean of UCLA Engineering.

Program Benefits & Outcomes

  1. Prestigious UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science Program – only international high school program that offers an opportunity to work with UCLA Engineering students, faculty, and staff in our engineering facilities and labs.
  2. Gain a competitive-edge on peers applying to US institutions – participants will gain hands-on experience building technical prototypes that they can write about in their statement of purpose that US universities are looking for in their undergraduate applicants. Practical application of your math and science knowledge is highly valued by US institutions and companies. This experience will give you and edge-up from others who only have excellent test scores.
  3. Explore Engineering at UCLA participants who successfully complete the program will receive an exclusive signed certificate from the Dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
  4. Participants will participate in engineering design work that will be judged by Explore Engineering at UCLA faculty and staff.


Program Components

Technical Challenge

At the start of Explore Engineering at UCLA program, participants will be broken up into teams and presented an engineering technical challenge. Technical tutorials and mentoring delivered by UCLA engineering students will provide context and skill required to complete the challenge (1 mentor for every 5 Explorers). Teams will have an opportunity to design, build, and test their technical creations in preparation for the challenges at the culmination of the program. Participants will have an opportunity to work on one project through the duration of the program, but will learn about all four projects through peer to peer Friday presentations. Projects from the 2016 program included:

Circuit Design Challenge

Participants utilize electrical circuit design to design and build their SMART car projects. Explore students will gain an introduction to electrical engineering and programming to design and build a functioning circuit for competition.

Tower Design Challenge

Participants utilize 3D modeling software to design and build their projects. Explore students will gain an introduction to civil engineering to design and build a tower for earthquake shake table testing.

Microfluidics Design Challenge

Participants utilize 3D modeling software and printers to design and build their projects. Explore students will gain an introduction to bioengineering to design and build a microfluidics channel and droplet generator for competition.

Computer Animation Challenge

Participants utilize C++ and JavaScript to design and build their projects. Explore students will gain an introduction to computer science and graphics to design and direct a computer animation video for competition.

Presentations from UCLA Engineering Faculty

Each week of the program, students have the opportunity to attend a catered lunch presentation by a UCLA Engineering professor and to listen to and ask questions on their research. This great opportunity opens students’ eyes to the other fields of Engineering and its applications that they may not already be familiar with.

Industry Tech Talks

Participants are invited to meet engineers from several engineering firms. The purpose of these talks is to expose students to the amazing job opportunities at the engineering industry. Company employees get to share what they are looking for when they recruit and hire engineering students. Seasoned engineers will share personal insight and lessons learned along their engineering career path that they think might benefit a high school student who is just starting off.

Academic Workshops

Participants will have the opportunity to attend weekly Academic Workshops that include:

  1. Life of a UCLA Engineering student – a panel discussion by current UCLA Engineering undergraduates on why they chose UCLA, their experience applying to UCLA, and life as a college student at UCLA.
  2. UCLA Engineering Admissions – learn about the application process and what is needed to be a successful applicant to UCLA Engineering through a presentation by our UCLA Engineering Admissions Counselor.
  3. UC Personal Statement Workshop –  This workshop brings in UC readers to share what they are looking for in a strong and persuasive UC personal statement.

Evening Journals

Participants will spend a few minutes each day reflecting and writing about their experiences. These journals will help participants prepare for their presentation at the conclusion of the program. It will also provide them with valuable insight about their experience that can be leveraged when composing a statement of purpose for their college application or any other educational opportunity.

Explore Engineering At UCLA Finale

A culminating event and awards will be scheduled near the end of the program which will showcase the technical creations of each team. An exhibition challenge will take place and awards will be presented based on creativity and design achievement. Participants will work with mentors to prepare and deliver presentations on the work conducted by their team as well as sharing programmatic highlights. Family and friends are encouraged to join in the Explore Engineering at UCLA finale.

Experience the Campus



Housing and Cultural Exchange

Explore Engineering students will live in residence halls on UCLA’s beautiful campus. They will be supervised by UCLA Engineering mentors who will plan social activities and workshops for the students. Participants and mentors will share something unique from their cultural background through an activity or demonstration such as skits, story-telling, song and dance, etc… Students will participate in evening and weekend activities with domestic American students, where international students can practice their English and experience complete immersion in American culture.

Weekly Workshops

Engineering Mentors will create workshops for the students. Workshops from 2016 included: resume writing, creating an effective PowerPoint, time management and balancing fun with academics

Weekend Trips around LA

Students will participate in weekend trips where they explore Los Angeles. Past trips have included: Santa Monica, Westwood movie premieres, The Grove shopping mall

Meet & Greets

Explore students will have the opportunity to meet and talk to domestic students living in UCLA’s residence halls. They will eat dinner together at one of UCLA’s dining halls.

Tour The Campus & Experience UCLA Campus Culture

In addition, there are multiple businesses within walking distance of the Campus, including: Urban Outfitters, In-n-Out, Trader’s Joe, Bruin Theater, and more.

Balance Fun and Work

With just under 4 million residents, Los Angeles is the second largest metropolitan city in the United States (US Census 2012). The City of Los Angeles holds many distinctions. LA is the entertainment capital of the world, a cultural mecca boasting more than 300 museums, and a paradise of good weather. From tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s collection of stars (numbering 2,482, and growing by one or two a month) to career opportunities like those presented in the expanding biotech industry, Los Angeles is the place to be. Explore UCLA Engineering students will balance work and fun with several opportunities to experience the Southern California lifestyle by participating in the following activities:

  1. Utilizing our campus recreation facilities
  2. Engaging in our evening social and leadership workshops
  3. Visiting Westwood (where our university students, eat, shop and play) during free-time, and
  4. Participating in our Friday evening and weekend social activities with domestic US students.

In addition, weekend excursions to LA tourist attractions will be made available at an additional cost.


Find Out More


Program Flyer Program Brochure Program PowerPoint Program Video

2017 Explore Engineering Eligibility & Application Information

Program Overview

Sample Day

7:00 AM | Wake up call
8:00 – 8:30 AM | Breakfast
9:00 – 12:00 PM | Technical project work
12:00 – 1:00 PM | Lunch
1:00 – 4:00 PM | Technical project work
4:00 – 5:00 PM | Walk back to the dorm, journal entry
5:00 – 6:00 PM | Dinner
6:30 – 9:30 PM | Evening activity (Leadership and social workshop, cultural exchange with domestic students)
10:00 PM | Floor curfew (check-in with residential mentors)
11:00 PM (12:00 AM) | Bed check (Friday & Saturday curfew)


Program length – 3 weeks.

2017 Session Dates:

Guaranteed Session: Monday July 24-August 11

  • Move in: Saturday July 22
  • Move out: Saturday August 12

Overflow Session: Monday July 3-July 21

  • Move in: Saturday July 1
  • Move out: Saturday July 22


Week #1 Day Day Day Day Day Social Event
Welcome & Dorm Move-In Project Introduction Project Introduction Project Work Project Work Project Work Cultural Exchange With US Domestic Students
Academic Workshops Faculty Tech Talks
Industry Tech Talk
Evening Evening Evening Evening Evening
Social & Leadership Workshop Weekly Residential Meeting Health & Nutrition Workshop Lab Report Workshop Movie Night
Week #2 Day Day Day Day Day Social Event
Example Excursion Project Work Project Work Project Work Project Work Project Work Santa Monica Trip
Santa Monica Pier Or The Getty Museum Academic Workshops Faculty Tech Talks
Engineering Student Panel
Evening Evening Evening Evening Evening
Lab Safety Workshop Weekly Residential Meeting Social & Leadership Workshop Project Presentation Movie Night
Week #3 Day Day Day Day Day Dorm Move-Out
Social Event Project Work Project Work Project Work Project Competition Finale Departure

Cultural Exchange With US Domestic Students

Shopping Mall

Academic Workshops Faculty Tech Talks
UCLA Admissions
Evening Evening Evening Evening
Housing Meet & Greet Weekly Residential Meeting UC Application Workshop Finale Preparation


Program costs, 3 weeks housing and meals:

  • Early Admission (December 1, 2016 — December 31, 2016): $7500 USD
  • Regular Admission (January 1, 2017 — February 1, 2017): $8000 USD
  • Late Admission (February 1, 2017 — program start): $8500 USD

Application Opens December 1, 2016

Contact Us

For questions about Explore Engineering, please visit the

Explore Engineering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

or email us at 


In English

In Chinese

Please contact William Herrera,  Explore Engineering at UCLA program director:

William Herrera
UCLA – Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science
6426 Boelter Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Please contact Professor Jenn-Ming Yang, Associate Dean, International Initiatives:

Dr. Jenn-Ming Yang
UCLA – Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science
3121C Engineering V
Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA