Statewide, we offer a variety of academic clusters at four University of California campuses.  Each cluster consists of two science and/or math courses and a science communication course.  Courses are taught by active UC faculty and researchers.  Students participate in hands-on labs, field activities, lectures and discussions.  Students also work on a related research project.  Cluster sizes vary but typically range from 18-24 students and the student-to-faculty ration is commonly 5:1.

UC Irvine is located in Southern California minutes from Newport Beach in Orange County, approx. 40 miles south of Los Angeles.

UC Davis is located in Northern California, about 15 minutes west of the State Capitol, Sacramento.

UC San Diego is located in Southern California along the Southern California Coast.

UC Santa Cruz is located in Northern California, in the Santa Cruz mountains, just minutes from the Pacific Ocean, and approx. an hour south of San Francisco.

"My daughter learned a tremendous amount about her subject, about working in teams, about presenting information and about academics in a college environment. These are skills transferrable to whatever field she chooses to study."
- COSMOS Parent


COSMOS students participate in a selected “cluster”, with each cluster addressing advanced topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, ranging from a variety of engineering disciplines, biomedical sciences, computer science, ecology, marine science, materials science, mathematics, physics and astronomy, robotics, game theory, & more.

Below is an overview of clusters offered in 2019.  Refer to the websites of the specific campuses for more information about currently offered clusters and their focus.

UC Davis
  • Cluster 1: Quantum Mechanics and Applications to Nanotechnology 
  • Cluster 2: Physics & Engineering: From the scientific method to technological applications
  • Cluster 3: Introduction to Engineering Mechanics 
  • Cluster 4: Introduction to Astrophysics
  • Cluster 5: Computers in Biophysics & Robotics
  • Cluster 6: Mathematics 
  • Cluster 7: Introduction to Plant Microbiology
  • Cluster 8: The Internet of Things
  • Cluster 9: Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems
  • Cluster 10: Sustainable Transportation
  • Cluster 11: Future Foods: Sustainable Aquaculture & Aquaponic Food Production
UC San Diego
  • Cluster 1: Computers in Everyday Life
  • Cluster 2: Engineering Design & Control of Kinetic Sculptures 
  • Cluster 3: Living Oceans and Global Climate Change
  • Cluster 4: When Disaster Strike: Earthquake Engineering 
  • Cluster 5: Photonics: Light-based Technologies in Everyday Life
  • Cluster 6: Biodiesel from Renewable Sources 
  • Cluster 7: Synthetic Biology
  • Cluster 8: Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine 
  • Cluster 9: Music & Technology 
  • Cluster 10: Robot Inventors 
  • Cluster 11: Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles
UC Irvine
  • Cluster 1: Mimicking Natural Protein-Protein Interactions to Target Cancer and Other Diseases
  • Cluster 2: Computation and Machine Learning: Physics, Big Data, and our Understanding of the Universe
  • Cluster 3: Tissue and Tumor Biology and Mathematical/Computational Modeling
  • Cluster 4: Chemical Biology: Can You Make the Next Billion-Dollar Antibiotic?
  • Cluster 5: Sound for virtual reality: An exploration of 3D sound and movement using mobile devices and wearable sensors
  • Cluster 6: Biomedical Sciences – Clinical Translational Science: The Next Generation of Biomedical Research
  • Cluster 7: BioEngineering Your Brain: Controlling the World with Your Brainwaves
  • Cluster 8: Genes, Genomes, and Biocontrol
  • Cluster 9: Sustainable Civil Infrastructure: Engineering Needed for California's Future
UC Santa Cruz
  • Cluster 1: Number Theory and Discrete Math
  • Cluster 2: Nanochemistry and Nanotechnology
  • Cluster 3: Blubber, Feathers, and Fur: Exploring Animals in the Ocean and on Land
  • Cluster 4: Waves: The Physics of Sound and Astrophysics of Light
  • Cluster 5: Video Game Design: From Concept to Code
  • Cluster 6: Computer Networking and Robotics
  • Cluster 7: Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology
  • Cluster 8: Marine Mammals and Oceanography: From Prey to Predators
  • Cluster 9: Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing
  • Cluster 10: Semiconductor Materials and Devices Engineering