Academic Connections International (ACI)

Are you a secondary school student, aged 16-18 years old, who would like to see what it’s like to study at a top U.S. university?

Academic Connections International (ACI) is a summer 3-week UC San Diego academic and residential immersion program which gives you the opportunity to take one academic course while also experiencing many other aspects of university life in America’s Finest City, San Diego. Study at UC San Diego with American teenagers, live in the dorms, and participate in a variety of field trips and activities around San Diego. Prospective ACI students must have strong academic records and advanced English proficiency.

What this program includes:

  • On-campus housing with American students
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at campus cafeteria
  • UC San Diego academic instruction each week
  • An opportunity to take various chaperoned field trips to local sites
  • Access to laboratory equipment as part of class work
  • Guest speakers
  • Project supplies
  • Transportation to and from scheduled field trips during the program
  • Constant adult supervision

The following courses are examples of the specific courses offered during Academic Connections International (ACI):

  • A Poetic Writing Practice: Analyzing, Writing and Reading
  • All that Glitters: The Sociology of Fashion
  • Animal CSI: Virus Hunters
  • Audiovisual: Music’s Place in Film, Television and Art
  • Body Language: How Cells Use Hormones to Communicate
  • Bugs or Features? Exploring the Cognitive Biases, Fallacies, and Heuristics
  • Critical Embodiment: Art, Process and Ecologies of Scholarship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Experiments in Music Composition and Theory
  • Foundations of Creative Writing
  • History and Practice of Hip-Hop
  • Itchthyology: An Exploration into Fish Diversity
  • Innovative Writing Across Media: An Introduction to the College Workshop (Bilingual – English/Chinese)
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • Introduction to Computer Programming – Python
  • Introduction to Fluid Mechanical Engineering: From a Straw to an Airplane
  • Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Introduction to Microeconomics
  • Language and Identity for Bilingual Writers (English/Spanish)
  • Medial Matters: Stereotypes and Social Change in Popular Media
  • Neuroscience: From Brain to Behaviors
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Introduction to Marine Biology
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Introduction to Paleontology
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Marine Invertebrates
  • The Metropolis and Me: A History of Immigration, Race, and Space in Southern California
  • and more!

Click here for a complete list of the courses offered during ACI. You will be asked to select your top three course choices. Of the three course choices selected, you will enroll in one course of study for three weeks.

2018 ACI Dates:

  • Summer 2018: July 8 — July 28 (3 weeks)

ACI has no official deadline, but spaces fill up very quickly. Students arriving directly from overseas, should plan to arrive on July 7th, 2018.

Admission Requirements:

Below, please find the minimum acceptance requirements for ACI. We carefully review the background and qualifications of each applicant to ensure that all students who are admitted into the Academic Connections International (ACI) program have a successful experience. Please do not submit an incomplete application.

Note: Please do not organize flights or pay your tuition until you have received an official acceptance to the ACI program.

Language Proficiency Requirement:

To be accepted to ACI, you must provide a completed English Recommendation Form from a secondary school English instructor, attesting you have a proficiency level equivalent to an internet-based TOEFL score of 80 or Advanced Cambridge level.

Additional Admission Requirements:

  • 2018 Academic Connections International Application.
  • Copy of transcripts in English for the two most recent years of academic studies. Students must have a strong academic history.
  • English Recommendation Form from a secondary school English instructor, attesting to a proficiency level equivalent to the internet-based TOEFL 80 or Advanced Cambridge level. This form is on page 3 of the 2018 Academic Connections International Application.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Questionnaire, Shuttle Service, Optional Housing, and SAT Workshop Form. These forms are included in the application and must be submitted after the student has been officially accepted into the ACI program.

Program Schedule:

  • 3 weeks
  • Monday – Friday classes, with evening and weekend activities
  • Schedule varies depending on course chosen
  • This program does not qualify for an I-20, and an F-1 student visa is not needed

Cost (in U.S. dollars):

  • Application fee: $200 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition: $6,300 (this price includes all tuition and fees, activities, mandatory medical insurance, on-campus housing and meals in dormitories with American students and chaperones on all field trips and in residence with the students at all times)
  • San Diego airport pick-up fee: $75*
  • Transportation to San Diego airport for departure: $75* (*available only to ACI students, as needed)
  • Additional housing for July 7, 2018: $85 (shared bedroom)
  • SAT Workshop included with the fee of the program.



Students are required to attend all classes on time each day. Students may choose to attend a Monday and Wednesday evening or Tuesday and Thursday evening SAT Prep Test-Taking Skills Workshop, for an additional fee of $100. The classes are limited to 35 students each and are on a first-come, first-served basis when you apply. There are six session to the workshop covering an overview of SAT and test taking skills, reading and verbal skills, mathematics, writing, final review, and exam.

There is very little unstructured time for Residential students. The purpose is two-fold; the program is scheduled to expose participants to as many aspects of UCSD and college life as possible during the three weeks and provide a well supervised, age appropriate, academic and residential program.

Weekday Schedule

7:00 - 8:30 am Breakfast
9:00 - 11:30 am Class - Lecture
12:00 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 4:00 pm Workshop - Laboratory - Study Session
4:00 - 6:00 pm Afternoon Activity
5:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner
7:30 - 10:30 pm Activity - Social Time and Meetings
11:00 pm Lights Out

Weekend Schedule

Students participate in a full schedule of on-campus recreational and social activities, which are supervised by the RAs and administrative staff. In addition to sports and games, weekend activities include special events such as dances, movies and a talent show. Off campus excursions are planned to Balboa Park, La Jolla Shores, Birch Aquarium, etc..  Students have "down time" in the mornings to catch up on laundry, studies, or just relax and spend time with friends. Meal schedule remains the same as weekdays.

Program Activities

Activities are planned during afternoon, evening activity times and on weekends. Each activity will be supervised by the RAs. The RA's goal is to offer different activities so all students can find something they enjoy doing each day. Activities include board games, arts and crafts, movies and athletics. At UCSD the "sun and surf" atmosphere creates the perfect combination for outdoor activities. Athletic facilities include a state-of-the-art campus complex with tennis courts, swimming pools, a track and field complex, playing fields and a climbing wall. Athletic facilities are shared with other programs and are supervised by our staff only during scheduled activity periods.


Students will stay at on-campus housing.

Students may request their own room on a first come, first served basis. In an effort to encourage students to experience residential life in a collegiate environment, however, we recommend that students have roommates, just as it will be when they attend college. Male and female students will be housed in separate residential halls.

Available departures

Unfortunately, no places are available on this program at the moment

California (USA)

California (USA)California is the largest US state by population, and the third largest by area. Southern California is home to such popular attractions as Disneyland, Hollywood and the beaches in Malibu that inspired the television show Baywatch, while the northern part of California offers the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the hills of San Francisco, the vineyards of Read more