Virtual Reality | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Virtual Reality

Create virtual objects and experiences and explore VR as an interactive storytelling and marketing medium.

student wearing vr technology


Apply now for summer 2020!

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike screen-based experiences, VR places the user inside a 3D world. There are many possible applications of VR in education, healthcare, entertainment, fashion, business and engineering. 

students testing out vrThis course is designed to explore introductory approaches to using VR as an interactive storytelling/marketing medium that can prepare high school students for advanced studies in various fields and industries. The course will provide historical context, hands-on instruction in the NYU IDM XR Lab, and presentation of current VR developments. Students will learn about different types of VR experiences and devices. They will become familiar with core terminology including immersion, presence and freedom of movement. 

Based on student interests, they will create virtual objects and immersive interactive story-driven laptop designing a gameexperiences using the Unity authoring environment. Core concepts of VR production and interaction will be introduced, including 3D asset use and creation, scene development, immersive user experience design, and exporting to target platforms.

Syllabus & Curriculum

In this course students will get hands-on experience in creating Virtual Reality (VR) applications. In addition they will be provided with historical frameworks and contemporary contexts for the application of VR.They will be introduced to basic 3D asset editing and production, animation creation and audio editing. Students will come out of the course understanding how to create 3D virtual worlds and interactivity within them. They will be introduced to the Unity authoring environment and the C# code language. 



Morning (classroom) 

  • Introductions & Course Overview

  • Installing Unity Editor and other necessary applications (Microsoft Visual Studio, 3D software [Maya or Cinema 4D] and image editing software [Adobe Creative Suite])

  • Bookmarking web resources: Mixamo, Google Poly, Unity Manual, Steam VR, Free Sound

  • Introduction to the Unity interface, menus and navigation tools


Afternoon (XR Lab) 

  • Playing some popular VR games and applications using HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest

  • CLASS discussion of the experiences. 

    • Did students feel immersed?

    • Did they feel comfortable?

    • What were the most compelling parts of the experiences?



Morning (classroom) 

  • Write a quick draft of a story, dream or experience that you could imagine taking place in VR

  • CLASS Discussion of writing samples

Afternoon (classroom) 3D modeling

  • Introduction to basic 3D modeling and how to find additional 3D assets in Google Poly, the Unity Asset Store and on Mixamo

  • Importing 3D assets into the Unity environment

  • Basic animation of a simple 3D object

  • Rigging and animation of a humanoid through Mixamo

  • Importing humanoid model and animation

  • Importing Audio

  • Setting up Lighting

  • Creating your VR Player

  • Opening Microsoft Visual Studio and taking a look at a basic C# Script



  • Begin finding 3D assets and audio clips related to the writing exercise in yesterday’s class 

  • Begin modeling simple 3D assets (as necessary)

  • Optimizing assets

  • Create a new Unity project and import all assets


Afternoon (XR Lab) 

  • Rendering files to VR headsets

  • Head Tracking, Position Tracking, Degrees of Freedom

  • How to avoid motion sickness. Latency, Judder, Refresh Rate

  • The importance of using teleportation

  • User Interface in a 360 environment. The 90° rule



Morning and Afternoon (classroom) 

  • Writing a basic C# Script

  • Analyzing the Steam Interactivity Sample Scene

    • throwing, picking up and other basic interactions with objects

    • controlling another object

    • a simple bow and arrow game

  • Reverse engineering more complex C# Scripts in this Sample Scene



  • Using the Steam Interactivity Sample Scene, replace the default assets with your 3D assets 

Afternoon (classroom)

  • Based on what has been covered on interactivity and scripting, create a flow diagram that represents the story idea from your writing sample from Class 02

  • Class Discussion of flow diagrams

    • Feasibility of the project?

    • Immersive qualities?

    • Why express this in VR instead of as a screen-based experience?

    • Will there be more than one scene? 



Morning: (classroom)

  • A lecture on the history of VR, beginning in the 1950s and discussing VR’s many potentialities in industry and entertainment today

  • Class Discussion

    • Thoughts on VR pioneers

    • Other potentials with VR not discussed? 


Afternoon: (off campus)

  • Field Trip to the RLab,the nation’s first city-funded center for research, entrepreneurship and education in virtual and augmented reality and related technologies. 

About: NYCEDC and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment selected NYU Tandon School of Engineering as the administering institution and a consortium of participating universities, including Columbia University, CUNY, and The New School to manage and operate the RLab space, along with a workforce development center at CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx. The new multi-university center is critical to the City’s plans to establish New York City as the next global leader in immersive technologies and will create hundreds of new jobs in the field.


Morning and Afternoon:

  • Create your final Unity Project and import all necessary packages, software development kits (sdk), and visual and audio assets

  • Set up VR player in your scene 

  • Check Stats (CPU, Batches)

  • Follow flow diagrams (produced in Class 05) in building and scripting interactivity in student projects

  • Instructor works assists each student in building their project throughout the class session


Morning and Afternoon
(classroom and XR Lab) 

  • A discussion on Playtesting

    • Why it’s important

    • Protips

Morning and Afternoon (classroom and XR Lab) 

  • During the morning, half of the students in the class [who are ready] (Group 1) will playtest projects in the XR Lab and the other half of the students (Group 2) [still working] will continue to work on their projects in the classroom

  • In the afternoon, students in the lab will return to the classroom (Group 1) and based on playtest feedback they will adjust and develop their projects. Students from the classroom (Group 2) will now playtest their projects in the afternoon.



Morning (classroom) 

  • A discussion on Documenting and Recording VR experiences

    • creating storyboard documents

    • creating a video walkthrough 

Morning (classroom and XR Lab) 

  • Group 2 students work on iterations of their projects based on playtesting feedback from yesterday

  • Group 1 students work on documentation and recording of their projects in XR Labs


Afternoon (classroom and XR Lab)

  • Group 2 students work on documentation and recording of their projects in XR Labs

  • As both groups finish documentation, students work in cohort groups to help each other assemble project documentation into google slide presentations



student wearing vr and performingMorning (classroom and/or XR Lab) 

  • Students finish all documentation of their projects, and prepare them for afternoon slide presentations

Afternoon (classroom or lecture space)

  • Students present storyboards and video walkthroughs of their projects to instructor and visitors

Who Can Apply?

  • Rising 9th through 12th grade students interested in learning at the intersection of art, design, and technology
  • Academically prepared, highly motivated students who are willing to take initiative
  • Students with a passion for learning software and hardware skills and tools and applying them to developing creative expression

student using vr technology


Program Details

Choose one of the following sessions when you apply *

  • Session 1: June 22, 2020 - July 3rd, 2020 
  • Session 2: July 13, 2020 - July 24, 2020  
  • Session 3: August 3rd, 2020 - August 14, 2020

*Orientation for all sessions will take place the Sunday before the first day of your program, starting at 4pm. 

Application Deadline:

Preferred Deadline: February 28th, 2020

Final Deadline: March 14th, 2020

Program Costs

  • Tuition: $2,000 + $100 Program Fee (special events and activities) per two-week sessionstudent using virtual reality
  • Housing is available at an additional cost of $558 for 2 weeks
  • Meal plan is available at additional cost of $340 (10 meals/week for two weeks) and is required with housing

Questions? Contact us at or 646.997.3524 or check out our Tandon Summer Programs Blog for general information about housing and international applications.