Prospective Students – FAQ's

The California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) at UC San Diego is a rigorous, four week program for talented and motivated students. COSMOS students attend clusters that are designed to introduce students to STEM subjects not traditionally offered in high school.

Students who excel in mathematics/science and are completing grades 8th-12th by the summer they are applying for are eligible. Parents and children should discuss the student's maturity and readiness to participate in a virtual program. A very small percentage of applying 8th graders are admitted to COSMOS each year.

Students who attend school at a CA high school are allowed to apply.

COSMOS 2024 is being planned for in-person for all sites:  UC San Diego, UC IrvineUC Davisand UC Santa Cruz from July 7th - August 2nd.


I acknowledge that in case sudden circumstances prevent in-person instruction of the planned curriculum, COSMOS may decide to change the instructional format, temporarily or for the remaining duration of the program, to, e.g., remote instruction in order to successfully complete the program for the affected students.

Tuition for 2024 is $5008.00 for California residents. Tuition covers all cluster materials, room and board, and transportation for field trips. 

Yes. California residents may be eligible for further tuition assistance based on family income. See COSMOS Statewide's Financial Aid tab for more information.

  • 2022 Financial Aid 
    • 100% aid for students whose annual, prior-year family income (with no itemized tax deductions) was less than $75,000.
    • Partial aid for students whose annual, prior-year family income (with no itemized tax deductions) was up to $150,000.
  • Aid is given on a case by case basis and determined by family income and household size.

Yes. Please see our 2024 Student Flyer in Spanish here.

Complete the 2024 online application and submit supplementary application materials by February 9th, 2024. Applications will be available at the COSMOS Statewide website from January 10th - February 9th. Refer to  the How to Apply Tab for more information.

For application FAQs, please visit COSMOS Statewide's site.

Acceptance notifications are emailed in early April. COSMOS is not able to give early acceptance status out. Students can log back into their application account to check their status. COSMOS will also email applicants to check their online application status.

The average unweighted GPA for applicants is around 3.8 with special focus on math and/or science grades. Achievement can also be documented through competition in science fairs or other activities. 

To calculate unweighted GPA please visit this Unweighted GPA Calculator

Most courses require prerequisites and students who do not meet the prerequisites cannot be considered for that cluster. View this information by selecting the desired cluster on our Clusters tab under Academics.

Yes, courses that are completed before COSMOS begins meet the prerequisite and should appear as "in progress" on your unofficial transcript during the application process and upon acceptance into the program, should appear in your official transcript.

Students submit one or two math or science teachers’ emails using the Teacher Recommendation tab during the application process. An email is sent to the teacher immediately after the student saves their application containing a link to the online form the teacher will complete and submit electronically. The student does not have to complete their application for the teacher to receive the link. The student should check with their teacher to see if the e-mail message was received and completed. One recommendation is required, but two are recommended.

During the day, the schedule consists of a cluster science and/or mathematics related course, and a writing/communications course. Students regularly attend lectures, labs or field trips. Recreation and fun activities are planned for the evening, and special activities and supervised field trips are planned for the weekends.

Sample Schedule for In-Person Format

Time Frame


7:45 AM - 8:30 AM


8:40 AM - 8:50 AM

Morning Announcements 

9:00 AM - Noon

Cluster Instruction/Lecture/Communication Series

Noon - 12:45 PM 


1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Cluster Instruction/Lab/Field Trip

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Free Time

5:15 PM - 6:00 PM


6:15 PM - 8:00 PM

Study Time/Free Time

8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Recreational Activities

10:00 PM - 10:30 PM

All COSMOS Students must be on their floor

10:30 PM - 11:00 PM 

All COSMOS Students must be in their own rooms

11:00 PM

Lights Out

COSMOS at UC San Diego is expecting to accommodate a maximum of 250 students.​​​​​

For COSMOS Summer 2024

More information will be provided about housing accommodations at a later date. 

Faculty consists of scientists, mathematicians, researchers, and teachers with most being university instructors. COSMOS staff includes a program Director, Assistant Director, Residential Dean, Assistant Residential Dean, Administrative staff, trained undergraduate cluster assistants (CAs), Senior Residential Advisor, and trained undergraduate residential assistants (RAs).​​​​​​

COSMOS is a widely recognized academic enrichment program that does not grant academic credit. Students applying to the University of California can list COSMOS under "Special Program Participation" on their UC application. COSMOS students can request recommendations for college from their cluster faculty.​​​​​​

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants, attendance is only once per student.

Please contact the UCSD COSMOS office via e-mail at or call at (858) 822 - 4361.


Parents - FAQ's

The safety and security of COSMOS students is the priority of all COSMOS faculty and staff. Students are responsible for their own conduct with administrative, instructional, and residential staff working together to provide supervision and appropriate guidelines. Students will meet with their RA on a daily basis allowing for strong connections and an opportunity to address concerns. The Student Handbook addresses these issues in more depth and can be used as a guideline on whether a student is capable of following these policies away from home.
Some safety policies include:

  • No traveling on campus alone-students must use the buddy system.
  • Students must be accompanied by a COSMOS staff member or a pre-approved family member if leaving campus.
  • On field trips, students must check in with staff at designated locations and times.
  • ​​​​​Students must be in their dorm suite by 10pm.

COSMOS is not able to accommodate the individual schedules of 275 active teenagers. The majority of COSMOS students are active in sports, church, band, clubs and academic review courses and we do not have the staff to safely monitor arrival and departure schedules. COSMOS is a full participation activity and students benefit most by full involvement in the COSMOS program. NO EXCEPTIONS CAN BE MADE.

The COSMOS policies were designed to help us ensure each student's safety and manage a large group of teenagers on campus. There is one set of rules for all students, regardless of their age or "freedom" allowed at home. Older students, or students who are used to operating more independently should consider this before coming to COSMOS.​​​​​​

Four-weeks can be a long time to be away from home for students and parents and should be discussed prior to COSMOS admission acceptance. The first week is often the most difficult, and staff work hard to ensure students are adjusting. If you are concerned about your child's homesickness, please contact the COSMOS office so staff can help the student adjust to life at COSMOS. Nearly all students who initially experience homesickness ultimately enjoy their COSMOS experience. In all cases, contact COSMOS staff prior to arriving to take your child home. Although that may be the best course, the staff is trained to help students and parents adjust.

Family weekend is pending for Summer 2023: COSMOS will not have information about family weekend until May of 2023. If allowed, Family weekend is designated as a time to visit with your student. Students may visit or leave campus with family or a designated adult for a few hours or the weekend. Many students do not go home during the weekend and the residential life staff provides supervision and activities. Early or late check in is not available. More information is provided after acceptance. The four COSMOS sites have slightly different weekend visitation schedules. 

Assistencia en Español disponible por telefono.

If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to email us at