Selection is competitive but if you don’t apply, you’ll never know! The program will serve up to 180 students in 7 different STEM subject areas. Some courses have prerequisites to ensure success in the program. UCI faculty teaching for COSMOS will review all applications.


  • Rising 8th graders (will be in 9th grade in Fall 2021) through rising 11th graders (will be in 12th grade in Fall 2021).
  • Students who are not residents of California may apply, but COSMOS can admit at most 20 out-of-state students each summer.
  • Please contact the Statewide COSMOS office with questions about student residency status for application purposes.


  • Completed online application, including one personal statement
  • Two teacher recommendations (one required, second recommendation suggested) **STEM teachers preferred, others accepted
  • Uploaded high school transcript(s) (9th graders must also submit a copy of their 8th grade report card) *Upon acceptance, students will be expected to mail in an official transcript
  • Parent/guardian e-Signature(s) in the parent portal
  • Application fee ($30)–payable online with a credit card or check


  • 3.0 gpa* minimum; transcripts; emphasis on science/math grades (Do not send test scores, student resume, certificates of achievement of other affidavits of merit; these items will not be considered)
  • Personal Statement
  • Teacher recommendations (plan to ask your teacher well in advance if they would complete a COSMOS recommendation on your behalf)
  • The applicant’s interest, motivation, leadership, and school or community involvement
  • APPLICATION TIP: your essays are a key component of the application. Use good grammar and punctuation (texting language is inappropriate). Invest time in your essay answers! Proofread!

*Most admitted students have a 3.5 gpa or higher.

Special Note for 8th Grade Students:

Only graduating 8th graders achieving academic excellence in science or math courses BEYOND the typical 8th grade level will be considered for admission. *These students must be mature enough to participate in a four-week residential program away from home and live independently and responsibly. Only a small percentage of 8th grade applicants are admitted to COSMOS each year. Parents should consider if they are ready to have their son or daughter be away from home. Regardless of student age or grade level, parents are not permitted to visit the program.

*Applies to in-person programs.

Returning Student Policy:

Due to the high demand for participation in COSMOS, students who have already attended COSMOS are not eligible to apply at this time.