Best Summer Programs in Dallas – 2024

April 12, 2024

best dallas summer programs

Tucked in the northwest corner of Texas and boasting a 118-acre urban arts district–the largest in the country–is Dallas. It’s packed with cultural gems like the Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Sixth Floor Museum. Additionally, the city is well-known for its architecture, including the iconic Meyerson Symphony Center and the Perot Museum—designed by Thom Mayne, a recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Celebrated for its arboretum, botanical gardens, and planned Trinity River redevelopment, Dallas also maintains an amazing number of natural spaces. And if you’re interested in business, look no further–Texas is home to the most Fortune 500 companies in the nation, with Dallas ranking as one of the top five cities. Whether you’re a local or the Lone Star state is calling your name, be sure to check out our list of the top Dallas summer programs for high schoolers.

1) Texas Christian University Summer Programs

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: 1-2 weeks
  • Cost: $650-2,000; the Neeley Supply Chain Technology Camp is free
  • Eligibility: Depends on program—some accept rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and college freshmen while others only accept rising juniors and seniors.
  • Application Deadline: March/April, depending on program.

TCU offers a number of residential Dallas summer programs for high school students. These include the Schieffer Summer Journalism Camp, the Discover TCU Nursing Camp, the Neeley High School Investor Challenge, the Neeley Supply Chain Technology Camp, the Neeley Analytics Academy, the Pat Doney Sportscaster Camp, and the College of Education InspirED Camp. Some highlights:

At the Schieffer Summer Journalism Camp, students work in TCU’s digital newsroom and broadcast news studio to produce stories. While learning to generate ideas and create news packages, they work with TCU journalism faculty and local professionals.

Furthermore, TCU’s Nursing Camp introduces students to the ins and outs of a nursing career. Over the course of the program, they’ll practice skills like wound care and patient assessment while interacting with patient simulators. Moreover, they visit a local hospital and complete a CPR course. This program is selective (only 30 students are accepted) and requires essays, transcripts, and a teacher recommendation.

Finally, Neeley Analytics Academy students will dive deep into what it takes to become a data analytics expert. They’ll also become savvier at market research. In addition to earning college credit, students explore how to collect, examine, and present data as well as how to utilize modeling techniques and machine learning. Neeley is looking for students with strong math and leadership skills. As such, students must provide transcripts, recommendations, and a personal statement.

2) Nasher Sculpture Center Summer Institute

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: One week
  • Cost: Free. Includes art supplies, meals, and a transportation stipend.
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and college freshmen
  • Application Deadline: April

Given that Dallas has one of the country’s top arts districts, it’s perfect for aspiring artists and museum professionals. Accordingly, The Nasher Sculpture Center’s Summer Institute provides an opportunity to learn more about the art world alongside other creatives. Over the course of the program, students engage with the Nasher Center’s extensive collection and learn about art careers. Additionally, they create their own projects under the guidance of professional artists.

As only thirty students are accepted–and these Dallas summer programs are free–admission is competitive. Interested students must demonstrate their passion for a potential career in art history, studio art, or art education. Furthermore, they’ll need to provide evidence of how they’ve pursued their creative interests outside of the classroom.

3) University of Dallas Summer Programs

  • Location: Irving, TX
  • Residential?: Art Academy: No; Music Academy: limited availability to non-Dallas/Fort Worth juniors and seniors; Arete: Yes.
  • Program Length: Art/Music Academy: 1 week; Arete: 2 weeks.
  • Cost: Art/Music Academy: $425 (plus $325 if living on-campus for the Music Academy); Arete: $895.
  • Eligibility: Art/Music Academy: Rising seventh graders through graduating seniors; Arete: rising juniors, seniors, and college freshmen.
  • Application Deadline: April

Interested in exploring different types of artistic mediums? The University of Dallas Summer Art Academy might be the perfect option for you. Here, you’ll have the chance to explore ceramics, printmaking, and drawing. Most of your day will be spent in the studio, and the program culminates with an art show.

Likewise, the Summer Music Academy is open to string, piano, and vocal students who would like to develop their musical prowess. As such, they’ll spend their days in masterclasses, ensembles, private lessons, and theory instruction. At the end of the program, they’ll put on a celebratory concert.

Finally, Arete is a unique introduction to the Classics. During this two-week residential program, students—alongside full-time UD faculty members—explore how one lives a noble life. To do so, they’ll discuss works like Oedipus Rex, Republic, and Henry V. Moreover, they’ll be expected to produce a paper by the end of the course. The college-credit-earning program combines work and culture–expect weekend field trips to the Modern Art Museum, the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, and a Shakespeare Dallas performance.

4) University of Texas at Dallas Summer Programs

  • Location: Richardson, TX
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: Coding Camps: 2-4 weeks; Research Internships/Workshops: 4-9 weeks.
  • Cost: Coding Camps: $150 (2 weeks), $300 (4 weeks); Research Internships/Workshops: $500-$1,500.
  • Eligibility: Coding Camps: high schoolers aged 14-18; Research Internships/Workshops: advanced high school students (preferably rising juniors and seniors).
  • Application Deadline: Coding Camps: first-come first-served basis; Research Internships/Workshops: rolling.

At the University of Texas Dallas, students interested in programming and computer science have myriad options. For starters, week-long beginner and advanced programs are available. These include such options as Gentle Introduction to Coding, Problem Solving in C++, and Advanced Python Programming, among others. Furthermore, there are both virtual and in-person options available. However, some do require prerequisites–for example, Object Oriented Programming in Java requires students to have intermediate Java skills.

In addition, if you’re an advanced student looking to immerse yourself in research, you’re in luck. In-person experiences include the STEM Bridge Program, where you’ll undertake small-group research led by professors, and the Summer Biology Research Workshop, a four-week camp in the laboratories of the School of Natural Sciences and Math. Alternatively, Research Workshops, which can be undertaken in-person or virtually, are similar to a college course and culminate in a final project or paper. Foundations of Computational Biology, Deep Dive AI, and Android App Design are three of sixteen potential topics. Finally, students can apply to a research internship in a CS lab, where they work 20-40 hours a week. Current options include the Multimodal Interactions Lab and the Quantum Computing Lab. Moreover, internships are highly selective and students should be familiar with their preferred research areas.

5) University of North Texas Summer Programs

  • Location: Frisco and/or Denton, TX
  • Residential?: Most are day programs except for the Mayborn Multimedia Workshop and International Summer Music Institute, which are residential.
  • Program Length: 1-2 weeks
  • Cost: $250-1,500, depending on program
  • Eligibility: Depends on the program, but most require students to be rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Some programs accommodate younger and/or older students.
  • Application Deadline: Varies, but most are in April.

UNT offers quite an array of week-long Dallas summer programs for high school students. Students might check out the Computational Linguistics Summer Camp, where they’ll learn to code in Python before applying their knowledge to language processing and neural networks. Intrigued by information and data science? The NextGen DATA Leadership Camp will familiarize you with data analytics and technological advancement. Furthermore, students attending the College of Engineering’s Future Mechanical Engineers Camp explore solar and wind energy, 3D printing, aluminum sandcasting, and injection molding, among other activities.

Humanities and fine arts more your speed? The musically inclined might pursue the International Summer Music Institute (auditions required), which offers private lessons, masterclasses, and performance experience to string and piano students. Those interested in visual arts and design should consider the two-week Creative U Summer Arts Program. Moreover, the Mayborn School of Journalism Multimedia High School Workshop introduces students to multimedia storytelling. It also includes the opportunity to attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, where students meet well-known authors.

Final Thoughts

Data analytics, computer science, art, journalism…they’re all waiting for you at one of the many fantastic Dallas summer programs. Whether you’re looking to explore a new subject or hone advanced skills, you’re sure to find your match in Texas.

Looking for more summer program resources? Be sure to check out the following: