Summer Institute Online 2021

Summer Institute offers innovative online programs for students in grades 9–12 designed to prepare young actors, dancers, musicians, artists, designers and entrepreneurs to navigate their art form this summer. Each program focuses on new artistic ideas, practices and skills to build and strengthen portfolios.

Together, we can grow, learn, build and create in a virtual space. Join our creative community to collaborate with other young artists and make meaningful connections with mentors. Enjoy new creative challenges and get a head start on college preparations while earning 1.5 college credits in each two-week online program. Our virtual programs can be taken from any location. You do not need to be located in Philadelphia to attend.

You can register for more than one program. If you register for two programs, be sure to only select one program per session as two programs cannot be taken simultaneously.

UArts staff is currently working remotely. Please direct all questions and inquiries to


2021 Student Work Showcase

The online gallery of student work from the 2021 Summer Institute online program celebrates the focus, creativity and initiative of these young artists.

View the showcase.


Who can register?

Motivated students in grades 9–12 of all backgrounds who demonstrate the ability to succeed in the program can register. Summer Institute programs cover a variety of interests from visual and performing arts to writing. You’ll build your portfolio, explore artistic ideas and learn new skills while earning 1.5 college credits. You do not need to live in Philadelphia to attend. Programs are virtual and may be taken anywhere.



Programs are taught on Canvas, an online learning platform, and include live video meetings via Zoom. Each day may include discussions, demos, peer reviews, daily assignments and independent work time. Regular instructor feedback and check-ins are conducted throughout the day.   

Monday–Friday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m (ET)*

*Schedules may vary by program. Students will receive details regarding their daily schedule prior to the start of classes. Students are required to participate fully in their program, with no options for partial days or courses.


Summer Institute Programs

Summer Institute Art, Media & Design Programs for High School Students

Session 1: July 12–23 Registration has closed

Session 2: July 26–Aug. 6 Registration has closed

Two weeks | 1.5 college credits

A student works on their computer to animate a landscape

The Program

In the two-week Art, Media & Design program, your interests drive your experience. You’ll gain new skills and learn to think critically about art through college-level art and design projects and critiques in your selected workshop.

The Premise

Learn from the artists and creative professionals who comprise UArts faculty. Each workshop is designed to expand your perspective on contemporary art-making and support your artistic development. You’ll get feedback from instructors along the way and complete new work for your portfolio.


At the end of this program, students will

  • create new works suitable for inclusion in a portfolio.

  • learn skills in critical thinking and revision practice through critiques.

  • expand vocabulary and technical skills in their chosen visual arts subject area.

Outcomes vary by workshop - see descriptions below for detailed overviews.

Summer Institute Creative Writing Program for High School Students

A student writes at their desk in a classroom

The Program

This two-week program is an opportunity to broaden your experience and talent as a writer in a dynamic environment inspired by college-level discussion, prompts, and creative analysis. Develop your voice in a collaborative workshop setting focusing on several genres including fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Learn from award-winning published authors as well as professional editors as you sharpen your skills and hone your craft.  

The Premise

Instructors and guest writers will share advice for unlocking your truth and inspiring others with your writing, as well as tips and tools for submitting your work to literary journals, magazines and zines. You’ll receive individualized attention and critical feedback from mentors and classmates, and be inspired by a variety of writing prompts and observational exercises. Emphasis will be placed on a longer piece that will be workshopped by the class. The program culminates in a final reading where you’ll share the work you’ve created with family, friends, and peers.


At the end of this program, students will

  • complete for presentation a polished work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

  • learn skills in critical thinking and revision practice through peer review and workshopping.

  • build skills in writing autobiographically and/or writing from lived experience.

  • gain facility with imagery, narrative arc, plotting, symbolism, nuance, metaphorical implication, and character development.

  • hone skills in poetry, considering structure, rhyme, image, as well as the performative aspects of spoken poetry.


Summer Institute Dance Program for High School Students

Two weeks | 1.5 college credits

A dancer extends their leg into the air in a dance studio

The Program

This exploratory two-week program will expand your understanding of dance as an art form, a college major and a career. Participate in daily practices, artist talks, readings and viewings offered by a rotating selection of UArts School of Dance faculty and guest artists; all designed to help you reimagine dance for yourself. Through an expanded arts community, you will engage with technology as a tool for creativity as it relates to improvisation, choreography and performance.

The Premise

Start and end each day with a variety of live practices, designed to explore traditional and emerging techniques, enhance anatomical awareness, encourage risk taking and expansive movement choices, and promote restorative care while working remotely. Students will engage in daily assignments that introduce choreographic strategies for developing their own artistic voice. Emphasis will be placed on elements of design, enhanced by digital media, to expand projects in imaginative directions. The program culminates in a virtual exhibition of student and faculty work.


At the end of this program, students will

  • create a virtual exhibition of projects including video, writing, images, etc.

  • gain valuable skills in sharing, speaking and writing about dance.

  • demonstrate tools and methodologies used in both the making and performing of dances.

  • acquire an expanded understanding of contemporary choreographers, performers, practices and career possibilities.

Summer Institute Music Program for High School Students


A student plays the piano during a performance

The Program

This dynamic two-week intensive allows instrumentalists and vocalists to explore technique while interacting with master-level musicians. You'll work with renowned UArts faculty to uncover a range of creative possibilities through instrument workshops, listening sessions, master classes and clinics. Coursework will expand the musical and technological skills essential for honing your musicianship.*

The Premise

Meet and learn directly from recognized and established innovators in today’s music scene. Each day a different master class artist will present a unique workshop or clinic covering a variety of skills and knowledge. Meet twice daily with faculty, comprised of professional performing and recording artists, in instrument workshops. Receive an introduction to music technology, including notation software, Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and the basics of home recording. Listening sessions play a critical role in increasing your exposure to and command of repertoire and styles.


At the end of this program, students will

  • acquire new skills and confidence as a musician to support future auditions.

  • create connections to both a network of peers and actively touring and recording professional musicians. 

  • develop technology skills to support recording from home. 

  • demonstrate a richer understanding and appreciation of different styles of music making.  

*Students participating in this program will need access to a Mac computer to support software that will be utilized. Software will be provided by the university. 

Summer Institute Music Industry Program for High School Students

Two weeks | 1.5 college credits

A student uses a microphone and headphones in a music studio

The Program

This two-week intensive will familiarize you with multiple aspects of the music industry, including audio production, music business concepts and strategies, audio synthesis and  online radio protocol. UArts faculty and guest lecturers include professionals in the music and technology industries, from respected performers to master technicians. Elevate your musical expertise, ask direct questions of the pros and make professional connections for the future.

The Premise

A mix of online discussions, workshops and exercises will help you better understand the possibilities of the ever expanding music industry. This comprehensive program includes opportunities to compose, program and mix songs using digital audio workstations (DAWs), create your own music using digital synthesizers and broadcast an online radio program. Professionals with a variety of music business specialties will showcase the spectrum of occupations within the industry and cover topics including fIlm scoring, marketing, production, educational initiatives and session work. 


At the end of this program, students will

  • create composed and produced pieces designed to showcase their talents.

  • understand the differences between and application of a variety of microphones and recording equipment types.

  • understand the basics of music distribution, management, and copyright.

  • gain experience with basic networking through interactions with industry professionals on a variety of music business topics.

Summer Institute Screenwriting Program for High School Students

Two weeks | 1.5 college credits

A student reads a script on their desk, their hand turns the page

The Program

All great films and television shows begin with a great screenplay. In this two-week screenwriting intensive, you'll explore the art and craft of writing for film and television. Our faculty of award winning filmmakers and screenwriters will guide you through the concepts of story structure and character development as you generate ideas, create outlines, write dialogue, and ultimately craft a short screenplay.      

The Premise

Each morning you'll learn about cinematic storytelling strategies in Film & TV Story Analysis to examine the power of conflict, story structure, and how characters transform and evolve. Through lectures, discussions, readings, and guided screenings of successful films and TV shows, you'll learn what makes a great film or television story, and apply that knowledge to your own scripts. 

In the afternoon Screenwriting Workshop class you'll be introduced to the fundamentals of writing for film and TV, including formatting, dialogue, creating memorable characters and writing visually. You'll learn how to pitch an idea, develop an outline and write scripts. With live, online readings of your work, you'll receive the valuable feedback to turn your premise into a screenplay reality. 


At the end of this program, students will

  • write a short script (5-10 pages) for a film or TV/Web episode.

  • develop an ability to pitch story ideas and concepts orally and in writing.

  • recognize and analyze current and evolving narrative strategies.

  • learn critical thinking skills and revision practice through peer review and workshopping.


Summer Institute Theater Program for High School Students

Two weeks | 1.5 college credits

A student acts out a monologue on stage in front of a ladder

The Program

Experience what it means to be a theater-maker in the 21st century in this two-week program. Work across disciplines, discover new things about yourself as an artist and the larger theater community as you explore the process and craft of theater-making. Courses utilize technology to advance your creative making through virtual master classes, interviews and discussions, and full day immersive digital experiences with professionals.    

The Premise

Build a theater artist’s toolbox through daily warm-ups, classes and electives. Core courses focus on process, acting technique and artistry in conversation with complementary lessons in musical theater, dramaturgy, playwriting, film and artist management. Emphasis on community building provides a unique opportunity to get to know fellow students, UArts faculty, UArts undergraduates and professional theater artists. The program culminates in a final sharing for family, friends and peers.


At the end of this program, students will

  • demonstrate a richer understanding and appreciation of theater-making through command of a common vocabulary.

  • express a deeper level of comfort performing individually, with partners, and through technological means through exercises, monologues and/or scene work.

  • be able to connect the body, breath, and voice for a free, clear, strong, and authentic vocal expression through acting performance, presentation, public speaking and singing. 

  • be able to serve as an active and constructive member of a studio atmosphere, supporting and challenging classmates through discussion, collaboration and feedback.


Program Cost: $1,050 (includes a $25 non-refundable registration fee)



Read the Summer Institute Online policies.

Learn about Summer Institute scholarships.

Request Pre-College transcripts.

Pre-College Alumni: where are they now?

Philadelphia Virtual Campus Tours: Contact the Office of Admissions by email,, or phone, (215) 717-6049, to schedule a virtual tour, portfolio review or an information session.


Request more info

Contact Pre-College
Pre-College Programs
211 S. Broad St, Terra Hall 9th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 717 - 6430

Follow UArts Pre-College