Academic Life


UCI COSMOS students are admitted into one of seven clusters for the duration of the program. Each cluster focuses on a specific topic within engineering, mathematics, or science with specialized curriculum designed by university professors in a variety of fields. A typical cluster consists of 18-26 students. For cluster topics, descriptions, and information, please visit our Cluster page.


The curriculum is designed by UCI professors and faculty with the goal of challenging our students to delve into and interact with their cluster topic in both depth and scope. Students create a research project that features Technical Writing and Communication, which provides them the opportunity to draft a technical/ scientific abstract, develop a project and poster, clarify understanding of key concepts, share ideas, and build teamwork. For more information on this project, please see the following section.

Project/Presentation Requirement

All participants, working in pairs or small groups, will produce a scientific/engineering project drawn from the subject matter in their cluster. Projects may be based upon field study during COSMOS. In addition, students will present their findings in poster format on the final Friday. The poster session is the exciting culmination of work done throughout the program. Students must participate in the research poster presentation, the capstone of the academic program, to be eligible to receive the COSMOS certificate of completion. Parents are welcome to attend this presentation!

Daily Schedule

Students learn from and engage with UCI faculty, scientists, and graduate students within the cluster they are admitted. A typical week consists of M/W/F lectures and Tu/Th lab and field days.

Reflections of COSMOS Alumni

…”I dived headfirst into the COSMOS experience, taking notes in lecture and brainstorming project ideas and doing lab write-ups late into the night. I learned about genetic mutations that cause cancer and how to model them mathematically.” – Julia

…”My four weeks here were spent with joy. I had several professors to learn from and a special faculty guest lecture each Wednesday that introduced topics that I had never touched upon before at school.” -Selena