The Maker Launchpad — Program Overview & Curriculum

February 4, 2022 | 3:23 pm


The Maker Launchpad Summer Program is a six-week comprehensive prototyping program, offered by the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in the College of Engineering. The program welcomes all students regardless of their background in engineering, and emphasizes design methodologies and the required prototyping skills to bring projects to reality. The dates for the program are July 3–August 11, 2023. 

Students learn techniques to conceptualize, design, and prototype interactive, physical objects, and encompass a broad range of trending topics including laser-cutting, 3D modeling, 3D printing, soldering, basic circuits, and basic electronics. Students work individually and in teams on fundamental concepts and skills, and build an open-ended design project that synthesizes the different techniques learned throughout the program. 

Each student receives a Maker Pass that provides access to the tools and resources in our Makerspace, as well as a designated work space in the Jacobs Hall Studio. Our workspaces are flexible and designed to foster collaboration between students, faculty, and staff. Students can also access the other enriching resources at Jacobs, including career workshops, in-studio mentorships, engagement with faculty and industry leaders, a primer on introducing VR into your design practice, and much more!

Upon the completion of the summer program, students earn 6 academic credits, and Berkeley students acquire 2 courses to be used toward completion of the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation.

Please note that this is an intensive, full-time program for the duration of all six-weeks. Students may not enroll in other courses or have conflicting outside obligations during weekdays.


The program is open to anyone with high school completion, including first year college students, students not currently enrolled in college or university courses, students from outside universities and institutions, students interested in getting a jump-start to the Berkeley Master of Design program, and those not associated with a college or university who are simply interested in taking courses at UC Berkeley.


The Maker Launchpad is spearheaded by Jacobs Instructor Chris Myers. Chris has over 10 years of experience in Design Innovation education, and has worked to create an integrated program that will culminate in a unified, final project.

Students who successfully complete the Maker Launchpad program with a minimum grade of C– in each course (all courses must be taken for a letter grade) receive a certificate of completion and 6 lower division semester units (or 9 quarter units) of credit from the University of California, Berkeley. An unlimited number of UC Berkeley transcripts are available to all Maker Launchpad graduates. Students are responsible for understanding their home institution’s requirements regarding academic credit, transferability, and grades. Graduates may order their transcript using this link.

UC Berkeley students earn 2 courses (out of the 4 required) for the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation, one of the most popular certificates on campus.

The two courses offered are from our own Design Innovation (DES INV) course series, created by the Jacobs Institute’s faculty.

DES INV 22: Prototyping & Fabrication

This course teaches concepts, skills and methods required to design, prototype, and fabricate physical objects. Each week relevant techniques in 2D and 3D modeling and fabrication are presented, along with basic electronics. Topics include a range of prototyping and fabrication techniques including laser-cutting, 3D modeling and 3D printing, soldering, and basic circuits.

DES INV 23: Creative Programming & Electronics

This course teaches techniques to conceptualize, design and prototype interactive objects. Students learn core interaction design principles and learn how to program devices with and without screens, basic circuit design and construction for sensing and actuation, and debugging. Students work individually on fundamental concepts and skills, then form teams to work on an open-ended design project that requires a synthesis of the different techniques covered.