Design Discovery

Design Discovery is our two-week summer program that introduces high-school students, college students, graduates, and second-career professionals to a potential career in design.

In this in-person program, you will build skills, develop projects for a portfolio, and – most importantly – learn if a career in design is right for you. Sessions with SALA faculty, current students, design professionals, and your peers will introduce you to what an education in design looks like. 

You’ll be guided through the program by SALA alum and educator Sam McFaul. Holding degrees in Environmental Design, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture, Sam has unique design experience across disciplines. He is also a teacher, leading courses in visual art, architectural design, and drawing. You will also be assisted by current SALA students, who will share their first-hand experiences of design school. 

"I learned so much all while having a blast and creating some of the best experiences of any summer break I have had."

2022 participant


Apply now!


July 4 to 15 2023 



The program fee covers instruction and course supplies. In-person students are responsible for their accommodation and meals during the program. Accommodation is available on the UBC campus through Suites at UBC

Frequently asked questions

What will I be doing during Design Discovery? 

Some of the skills that you will be developing are hand drawing, drafting, model making, design thinking, site analysis, and learning how to assemble a portfolio. 

During the program students will work on a total of three design projects. You will also participate in design studios, seminars, and field trips. Students will not be taught how to use any software in Design Discovery, however students are free to use software to assist them with their design projects if they wish. 

Students are expected to be able to attend full-time hours (approximately 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for the duration of Design Discovery.  

Is Design Discovery in-person or online? 

Design Discovery is an in-person program, which means participants need to be in Vancouver, BC for the duration of the program (July 4 to 15, 2023) 

Do I need to participate in the full two week program? 

The program is designed in a progressive format, and students typically work on their final projects collectively in studio during the two weeks, and then put on an exhibition of their work that family and friends can attend. 

We strongly recommend that participants complete the full two-week program, and the full fee would still be required if you did not attend the full program.  

How does the application process work? 

Applications are non-competitive and we accept applications on a rolling basis. We will close applications once we reach capacity.  

How do payments work for Design Discovery? 

We ask for a deposit of $250 CAD at the time of application. This deposit guarantees your spot in the course. The remaining amount will be due May 15, 2023 or two weeks from time of application, whichever is later.  

Is Design Discovery graded/Is there a certificate? 

Design Discovery is an experiential program; participants are not graded on their work. The program does have a completion certificate which you can add to your records/resume, but it is not an official UBC certification. 

The program is not accredited, therefore UBC does not grant credits for course completion. 

Contact information

If you have any questions, please contact:

Tara Deans
Manager, Student Services and Recruitment