Prospective and New Students

April 15, 2020 | 1:27 pm

Reunion and Parents Weekend at Homecoming, 2021

Jacobs Makerspace Open House
Saturday, October 2, 2021
11–1 PM
Tours at 11:30 and 12:30
Jacobs Hall 

Join the Jacobs staff and student leadership for an open house celebrating UC Berkeley’s Reunion and Parents Weekend at Homecoming! This is a great way to celebrate our return to campus and to learn more about the academic programming, design education, and opportunities available at Jacobs Hall.

Stop by for one of our half-hour Makerspace tours (11:30 AM & 12:30 PM), laser-cut your own Cal Bear pin at a demo led by our student supervisors, talk with student club leaders, and learn more about our newly launched Master of Design Program (MDes).

The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation: Who We Are

The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation is UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary hub for learning and making at the intersection of design and technology. We are part of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, but extend broadly across campus and serve as a multi-disciplinary space for all majors and interests, including the humanities and sciences, in addition to engineering. We welcome all levels of interest in design innovation and offer a variety of ways to involve yourself in design thinking. From our Design Innovation courses to public programs and speaker series, to one-day workshops — there is something for everyone at Jacobs. Read more about our program mission here.

Quick stats: 

1300 • students, faculty, and staff with active semesterly Maker Passes, which grant drop-in access to equipment and training
20 • academic courses held in Jacobs Hall each semester
30 • student clubs, with focuses that include robotics, drones, graphic design, and much more, in our design ecosystem

Jacobs Hall

Jacobs Hall was opened in 2015, on the North-Side of UC Berkeley’s campus. Spanning four stories, our light-filled building offers the largest, most utilized Makerspace on campus. Our flexible teaching studios were designed as expanding spaces, with open floor plans that allow for collaboration and intertwine and overlap with the Makerspace. Our top floor is our largest open space, where we host our rotating public programming and speaker series, our Design Showcase, and other student-led events.


Our flexible teaching studios support courses in design curriculum from across campus, as well as from our own hands-on design courses. Known as our DES INV courses, these classes offer students the opportunity to explore Design Innovation, and are open to all majors. These courses range from teaching key skills, like sketching and protyping, to larger, project-based courses where teams consider some of the most pressing real-world problems. Jacobs Hall also hosts courses taught by faculty in a range of departments, as well as student-led DeCals that focus on design. Read a full list of our upcoming Fall courses offered at Jacobs Hall here.

Jacobs is also the home of the Masters of Design Program, alongside the College of Environmental Design. Learn more about the program here.

Our Makerspace

Alongside our design curriculum is our thriving Makerspace, where students across campus can apply for a Maker Pass each semester. Whether you’re working on a project for a course at Jacobs, or a personal project, the Makerspace is open to all UC Berkeley students. Between all four floors, you’ll find our All-Purpose Makerspace, equipped with our 3D printers, Woodshop, laser-cutting equipment, and a wide range of hand tools and resources for prototyping; our Metal Shop, the Visualization Lab that now includes two Kuka Robot arms; a CAD/CAM Lab; Electronics Lab; an AV Production space; and our Advanced Prototyping Lab. Learn more about the Makerspace and resources for Maker Pass holders here.

We also offer remote fabrication and printing services, as part of Jacobs Project Support, a service we created to provide the Cal making community with access to advanced fabrication technology.

Left: two students collaborate on a 3D printed project in our first floor All-Purpose Makerspace Right: a glimpse of our Metal Shop, including a waterjet cutter and welding station.

Take a tour of Jacobs Hall with Eric Paulos, our Chief Learning Officer. Get to know our equipment and facilities, as well as some of our Design Specialists. 

Jacobs Design Specialists

One of the most exciting resources our Makerspace offers is the close proximity to our Design Specialists. Our Design Specialists team is a unique group of artists, designers, and makers, who not only train and advise our Maker Pass holders on the technical side of their projects, but also provide mentorship and discuss project ideas and possibilities. Our students have the opportunity to schedule 1 on 1 meetings with our Design Specialists, but they also work side by side with our students in the Makerspace, making them a quick and reliable resource.

Our Technical Lab Director, Joey Gottbrath, discusses the importance of our Design Specialists and Student Supervisors, and the impact they collectively have on creating a diverse design community at Jacobs. 

Student Life at Jacobs Hall

Our design community would not be the thriving space it is without the vast student impact and their creative participation. There are a number of ways students can be involved at Jacobs Hall, beyond taking courses. Below you’ll find information about some of the ways students can involve themselves in the vibrant design community here at Berkeley.

Hear from students about the impact Jacobs has had on their academic career

Student Leadership: At Jacobs, students have the autonomy to lead peers, work closely with lecturers and staff, and engage with the public in a myriad of ways. There’s an unlimited amount of ways to get involved, from running a Student Club or DeCal course, to hosting a one-time workshop, or working in our Makerspace as a Student Supervisor.

Student Clubs: Student-led clubs are an essential part of the Jacobs design community. Each semester we host at least 30 clubs, each with their own emphasis and goals on expanding design thinking and tech innovation. Whether you join a pre-existing club or start your own, student clubs give you the autonomy to connect with your peers to share, teach, and explore.

DeCals: Like student groups, DeCals are an important part of UC Berkeley life! DeCals are credit-bearing courses led by students, for students, and range in topics not generally covered in the curriculum. They range in light-hearted topics, like the introduction to cooking, as well as more focused topics within a major. At Jacobs, our students host a variety of DeCals focused on human-centered design and technological innovation.

Workshops: Workshops are a great way for students to share what they know, without the time commitment of a full-time club or DeCal. Some past workshops have included mold-making with chocolate, building a professional portfolio, and focused, intensive training in CAD/CAM and prototyping software.

Student Supervisors: Our Student Supervisors make up a small handful of students who are motivated by design innovation, and want to share that enthusiasm with other students. The Student Supervisors handle a number of tasks, from routine Makerspace maintenance to leading workshops for other students, and offering guidance on projects their peers are working on in the Makerspace.

Learn more about student life and opportunities at Jacobs on our Student Resource page.

Student Supervisor, Arianna Ninh leading a demo on how to build a Massironi Shelf

Student Projects

With a vast range of student disciplines, skill-sets, interests, and ideas, the project possibilities for our students are endless. We welcome students to use the Makerspace for personal projects, in addition to their course assignments. Because of this wide range, diverse use of our resources and facilities, the resulting student projects are, too, diverse. To see more student projects, please visit the Student Project page on our website.

b. Print: Made in our course Mechatronics Design, Andrew Ansell, Matthew Drake, Tony Kim, Joshua Ott consider using 3D printing for quicker, more reliable, and affordable on-demand braile printing.

isoDome: Made in the course Bending and Folding Structures, Steffan Cross, Eric Dell’Orco, Tina Piracci, Ben Taube use origami folding design to consider deployable acoustic pods to provide sound privacy in open-plan offices. 

Innovation Catalysts

When students and student groups want to take their projects past the semester, they are encouraged to do so through our grant program, the Innovation Catalysts Grant. These grants are selected through the help of our Student Advisory Board, where selected groups are then given access to materials, resources, funding, and mentorship for an extended semester. This grant is made possible by Deborah Weisser, Ben Gomes, and the Eustace-Kwan Family Foundation,. Read more about the Innovation Catalysts grant, here.!


Watch: The Brain Saving Catheter, a recipient group from the Fall 2018 Innovation Catalysts, led by students Tatiana Jansen, Justin Olshavsky, Robert Schultz, Aurko Shaw, Bridget Vaughan.

Public Engagement

Every semester we open our doors to the public for a variety of engagements, from our ongoing speaker series, to our semesterly design showcase, and even summer courses, open to all who are interested in learning about design innovation. We encourage you to sign up for our public newsletter to stay up to date on the ways you can participate in life at Jacobs Hall.

Speaker Series: Our speaker series and public programming offer the public, as well as our students, the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from some of today’s leading design thinkers. One highlight speaker series is our Design Conversations, which invites 3 speakers each semester to discuss their work within the framework of a larger, social context. More recently, this conversation has been facilitated around ideas of inclusion. Our Design Field Notes series aligns with our course DES INV 95, and invites a weekly speaker to share about their work and the path they’ve taken in their career.

Design Showcase: The highlight of each semester, our Design Showcase is a two-day event held the week before finals, where students come together and share the work they’ve accomplished over the semester. This event brings together the Jacobs community, as well as the broader campus community and Berkeley public. We welcome all members of the community to come and see what happens at Jacobs Hall! This is a great opportunity for students to share about their work outside of their peers, and for the public to learn more about the ways students are using design to change the world.

Summer Courses: Each Summer, we offer between 4-6 courses for hands-on learning about design innovation. Members of the general public can join Berkeley students in taking these courses, which vary in topics each year. These courses are great for students wanting to build out their toolkits and portfolios, as well as newcomers to design who are looking to pick up a new design skill. Visit our courses page to see the upcoming Summer schedule.

Students share their projects at our Fall 2019 Design Showcase

Students race their robots in DES INV 22: Prototyping and Fabrication’s semesterly obstacle course in Fall 2018’s Design Showcase.