Skip to main content

Design Thinking Bootcamp

Design Thinking is a proven way to identify and solve real-world problems and is one of the most sought after mindsets and methods in today's civic and business worlds. 

Human-centered, systems-based, and focused on skills such as creativity, teamwork, empathy, prototyping and testing, design thinking forms the basis of purposeful and cutting edge innovation.

The Design Thinking program is not running for Summer 2024. Sign up for notifications for this program here.


Design Thinking Bootcamp: Discovering How to Conduct User Research in Today's Marketplace

This Design Thinking Bootcamp will focus on user research via the ethnographic methods of participant observation and the ethics of conducting research online and offline. Students will learn practical skills on how to conduct online interviews and focus groups, design surveys, and develop case studies ethically and effectively. They will also hear about schools that offer design anthropology curricula and potential jobs & career trajectories where ethnographic methods are in high demand. The most important takeaway from the class is the ability to have a new critical look at familiar things. Students will also be able to listen, emphasize, and understand individuals and communities, who might be very different from themselves.

No prior knowledge is required. This 5-day online program involves both small-group activities and individual mini-projects with student presentations at the end. Due to the global epidemiological situation, the program is offered online and requires a personal computer with an internet connection to participate. Students will not need to purchase any additional materials. Upon completion, all students will be invited for a campus visit during the 2020-2021 academic year as soon as in-person instruction resumes.

Typical Day:

Day 1: Introduction. What is design thinking? What are ethnography, anthropology & design anthropology? A brief history, current debates, and ways you can get involved. Special Topic: Challenges of Remote Work and How to Collaborate Online.

Day 2: Practical Skills: Interviews, Focus Groups & Research Ethics during Social Isolation and Shelter in Place. 

Day 3: It’s fieldwork time! Digital Sessions & Practice: Online Interviews, Autoethnography, and Mapping the Design of Everyday Things.

Day 4: What’s next? How to Analyze, Understand and Report the Findings. 

Day 5: Final Presentations and Feedback.


Other Program Information 

Design Thinking Bootcamp Application

Stay tuned for Summer 2025.

Design Thinking Bootcamp Acceptance

Students will be notified of acceptance within 14 days of submitting their application until the program is full.

Design Thinking Bootcamp Cancellation/Refund Policies

Cancellation or withdrawal for any reason by a date set prior to the program launch will receive a full refund. This date will be set and announced prior to the program application opening. Refunds for cancellation or withdrawal after this date will be issued for serious illness (doctor's certificate is required) or extenuating circumstances only. Tuition is not refunded for students who are dismissed from the program.

All refund requests must be made in writing to UCSD Pre-College Programs at: You will receive a confirmation of your request. Refunds will take approximately 4-6 weeks to process. Refunds are issued in the same method of payment (check or charge) of payment to the program.