Students are required to live on the campus they are admitted to for the duration of the program to receive the program completion certification and be listed as COSMOS alumni.

Q: What is COSMOS?
A: The California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) at UC Davis is a rigorous, four-week residential program for talented and motivated students. COSMOS students attend clusters designed to introduce students to STEM subjects not traditionally offered in high school.

Q: Who may attend COSMOS?
A: California high school students who excel in mathematics/science are eligible. Parents/Guardians should discuss the student's maturity and readiness to participate in a month-long residential program on a public research university campus. 

Q: How do I apply to COSMOS?
A: Online application will be available in early January through - early February each year. Please see the official statewide COSMOS site https://cosmos-ucop.ucdavis.edu/app/main for detailed information on the application process.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA to be accepted into COSMOS?
A: The average unweighted GPA for applicants is around 3.8, with a particular focus on math and/or science grades. Achievement can also be documented through competition in science fairs or other activities.

Q: Are there prerequisites for the courses?
A: Most COSMOS clusters have prerequisites, and students who do not meet the prerequisites will not be considered for that Cluster. 

Q: Do "in progress" courses meet the prerequisite?
A: Yes, courses completed before the COSMOS start date meet the prerequisite and should appear as "in progress" on your transcript.

Q: What about Teacher Recommendations? How does it work?
A: Students can submit up to two 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. However, the student should check with their teacher to see if the email message was received and completed.

Q: What is a typical day at COSMOS like?
A: 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 study groups are planned for the evening, and special activities and supervised field trips are scheduled for the weekends. 

Q: Do I have to conduct research while at COSMOS?
A: Some of the Clusters require research as a part of the learning experience. COSMOS students are given an orientation to the campus library, and there is a Teacher Fellow for each Cluster to assist with any research-related questions.

Q: Are scheduled social activities required?
A: All COSMOS social activities, field trips, and programs require mandatory attendance.

Q: What are some academic requirements while at COSMOS?
A: Each COSMOS cluster requires different academic prerequisites and different amounts of research. Students should carefully review each Cluster's description before applying to determine the best fit for their educational experience. 

Q: How many students will attend the program at UC Davis?
A: COSMOS at UC Davis expects 200-250 students.

Q: Who are the COSMOS faculty and staff?
A: Faculty of scientists, mathematicians, researchers, and teachers, with most being university instructors. COSMOS staff includes a Program Director, Assistant Director, Residential Dean, Senior Residential Advisor, and trained undergraduate residential assistants (RAs).

Q: Are high school or college credits available for COSMOS attendance?
A: 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. In addition, COSMOS alumni can request recommendations for college from their cluster faculty.

Q: May I attend COSMOS more than once?
A: No, due to the high volume of applicants, attendance is once only per student.

Q: What is the level of supervision provided?
A: The safety and security of COSMOS students are the priority of all COSMOS faculty and staff. Students are responsible for their conduct, with administrative, instructional, and residential staff working together to provide supervision and appropriate guidelines. Students will meet with their RA daily, allowing for solid 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 can follow 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.
  • Students must check in with staff at designated locations and times for field trips.
  • In addition, students must follow a strict dorm schedule daily.

Q: Can my child leave COSMOS to attend outside commitments?
A: COSMOS cannot accommodate the individual schedules of over 200 active teenagers. The majority of COSMOS students are engaged in sports, church, band, clubs, and academic review courses, and we do not have the staff to monitor arrival and departure schedules safely. COSMOS is a total participation activity, and students benefit most from full involvement in the COSMOS program.  

Q: Can I authorize my child to have more/less freedom?
A: 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 without exception.

Q: What is the best way to communicate with my child?
A: Students are kept very busy at COSMOS and often don't have much time to devote to texting, emailing, or calling on the phone. Even if you don't hear from them, they love to hear from you. Students are not allowed to call, text, or email during designated class times, so consider this when contacting your child. Check the Admitted Students/Parents tab for more information.

Q: What should I do if my child is homesick?
A: Four weeks can be a long time 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 works hard to ensure students adjust. If you are concerned about your child's homesickness, please get in touch with 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.

Q: Does COSMOS have a Code of Conduct with Minors Policy?

A: Yes, please review UC Davis Youth program policy here: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/do-you-host-events-minors-see-new-policy