COSMOS, a PRE-COLLEGE Program, offers ambitious high school students the opportunity to learn from University faculty and experience a rigorous academic environment at a leading higher education institution. 

Our Mission

The mission of COSMOS is to motivate the most creative minds of the new generation of prospective scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will become leaders for California, the nation, and the world. The program aims to create a community of students who participate in and contribute to an intensive academic experience delivered by distinguished educators and scholars.

Our Partners
Core partners include the legislative, educational, corporate, and philanthropic sectors of California, including the State of California; faculty, staff, and students of the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges systems; master teachers from California high schools; and corporate and private funders and foundations who provide essential support to COSMOS. Talented high school students from the state's 58 counties, parents, and counselors complete the teaching and learning community that COSMOS brings together. Currently, five UC campuses serve as hosts: Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Cruz.

The California Legislature established the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) in 1998 (Assembly Bill 2536), intending to engage highly talented and motivated students in an intensive program of study, experimentation, and activities to further their interests and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science is modeled after the California State Summer School for the Arts. The Request for Proposal to host COSMOS was awarded to the University of California, and the program was launched at Irvine and Santa Cruz in 2000. Due to high demand, UC added additional campuses: Davis in 2001, San Diego in 2004, and Los Angeles in 2024. 

COSMOS helps California meet its need for a talented workforce by encouraging the brightest students in high schools across the state to continue their interest in STEM fields. COSMOS subsequently plays a vital role in supporting the mission of Education Partnerships to address the critical needs of STEM education and the University of California’s objective to help develop a talented STEM workforce that will enhance the state’s economic climate.

To remain competitive in the global economy, California must provide students with exciting opportunities to encourage their enthusiasm for mathematics and science. COSMOS supports California high school students with a nurturing environment that celebrates excellence and innovative thinking in STEM fields. The program also improves the linkage between high school, postsecondary education, and the workforce by connecting students to institutions of higher learning and research facilities. For COSMOS, innovation begins with education.

Advisory Board
COSMOS is guided by a statewide advisory board composed of select leaders with interests and experience in STEM education. The Board advises the COSMOS leadership in general, and the Executive Director in particular, on essential program strategies.

The Board meets semi-annually to review the COSMOS program and discuss new opportunities for advancing the program's mission.

 For more information, see Advisory Board.

"COSMOS is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you think this is a typical nerd camp, you better think twice!"
- COSMOS Alumni