Program Overview


Each student should plan to attend two orientations: (1) a 1.5-day MEDS-only orientation on Thursday 8/03/2023 (at Bren) and Friday 8/04/2023 (at NCEAS) before summer classes begin on Monday 8/07/2023, and (2) a 3-day campus-wide UCSB orientation from Monday 9/25/2023 - Wednesday 9/27/2023.

Click here for the full Summer Orientation Schedule. For more information on the incoming MEDS student orientation, please visit the Bren Website.


Summer Intensive Courses

During the first 6 weeks of the MEDS program (August through mid-September), students will take 4 intensive courses:

For more detailed descriptions of the summer courses, see our Courses page.


All Summer courses will be held at the new NCEAS building (and new designated MEDS learning space!) in downtown Santa Barbara. The address is 1021 Anacapa Street.

NCEAS is ~11 miles (a 15 minute drive, without traffic) from the UC Santa Barbara campus, or a ~35 minute bus ride on the 24x line. The transit center downtown is ~3 blocks from NCEAS (a <10 minute walk).

A day in a Summer course

The Summer intensive session is designed to prepare MEDS students with the fundamental coding and computational skills necessary for all subsequent courses. These are full days of learning, running from 10:00am - 4:00pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and from 9:00am - 4:00pm on Wednesdays. Students generally should not expect additional assignments or MEDS-related work outside of these hours. In other words, courses will be structured so that all course requirements can be completed within the 9:00/10:00am - 4:00pm window while at NCEAS.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be watching lectures all day! Summer session days will be active, varied, and flexible, and students can expect a combination of course content (e.g. lectures, computational labs, individual and group tasks) and allotted time (on Wednesday mornings) for community-building, professional & career development activities, and more.

Class activities

Summer is a special time for our MEDS students to bond both in and outside of class. While the coursework will be rigorous, we will also have dedicated breaks and events for relaxing, mingling and socializing. Thursday Happy Hour on the third floor terrace is a great opportunity to not only get to know your classmates, but also other MEDS and NCEAS staff, researchers, and faculty. We also look forward to celebrating important MEDS milestones, like both the halfway-point and completion of summer session.


In Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, MEDS courses will be held at both the Bren School (UCSB campus) and downtown at NCEAS. Students will only have required courses / events at a single campus on any given day - i.e., to minimize travel, we will not schedule required MEDS events at both campuses on the same day. Students can expect a more traditional academic class schedule (e.g. 2-3 classes/discussion sections/seminars a day). You can add the MEDS google calendar here.


In Fall Quarter, MEDS students will complete 14 units of coursework.


In Winter Quarter, students will complete 14 units of coursework, three traditional academic courses and one 4-unit capstone project course.


In Spring Quarter, students will complete 14 units of coursework, three traditional academic courses and one 4-unit capstone project course.


In addition to the MEDS core curriculum (as detailed above), additional workshops will be held throughout the year. These include the following: