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Program Overview

Mission & Vision Future Scholars & How To Apply Financial Resources Program Costs Peer Mentoring


CSUSM Aspiring Scholars will enroll in 2 CSUSM courses per semester for a total of 16 courses to complete the 4-year program. In addition, students will enroll in 3 units of Internship per semester, for 4-6 semesters beginning in year 2 of the program.

Curriculum adaptations and peer mentor support will be provided as needed. Students will be required to enroll in select foundational courses and will be given an opportunity each semester to select a course of their choosing.

Academic Courses by Year
Academic Year Courses
Year 1

Each Semester:
1 CSUSM foundational required course (3 units)
1 CSUSM course that aligns with students interests and career aspirations (typically 3 units)
6 units per semester
12 units per year

Year 2 

Each Semester:
2 CSUSM courses that align with students interests and career aspirations (typically 3 units each)
1 Internship course (3 units)
Up to 9 units per semester
Up to 18 units per year

Year 3

Each Semester:
2 CSUSM courses that align with students interests and career aspirations (typically 3 units each)
1 Internship course (3 units)
Up to 9 units per semester
Up to 18 units per year

Year 4 Each Semester:
2 CSUSM courses that align with students interests and career aspirations (typically 3 units each)
1 Internship course (3 units)
Up to 9 units per semester
Up to 18 units per year

Explore the CSUSM course catalog

CSUSM Foundational Required Courses 

GEL 101- The Student, The University, The Community: Designed to equip students with the basic skills, concepts, and knowledge necessary to become a lifelong learner. Examination of current theory and research regarding the information age, health and wellness, career development, and psychological assessment. Practical application of the theory and research. Includes information literacy and technology skills, group and teamwork, and learning styles. 

GEO 102 - Oral Communication: Introduction to the form and content of communication. Includes: the linguistic, psychological, and cultural bases of communication; various types of communication ranging from basic speech acts to forms of persuasion; the social and political significance of communication; and how communication operates within and across a wide range of social contexts. Students become actively acquainted with some of the potential proficiencies that may be brought into various social contexts. Requires active participation in classroom exercises and practicing public speaking. 

Individualized Pathways

In addition to foundational courses, students will choose from a wide array of courses that align with their interests and career goals. Their individualized pathway of courses will be created based on their Person Driven Plan, a plan that is driven by the student and created in collaboration with a support team.


The CSUSM Aspiring Scholars Program aims to prepare students for competitive integrated employment. A Person Driven Plan will be used to guide students in achieving their career aspirations. Given a range of opportunities, students will be required to participate in internships on and/or off campus. Internship options will be available beginning their second year. Developing vocational skills and preparing for employment in the field of their choice is a critical component of this program.

Student Expectations

Students accepted into the CSUSM Aspiring Scholars Program are a part of the CSUSM community and must adhere to all CSUSM rules, policies, and procedures. The CSUSM Aspiring Scholars Program does not provide 24/7 support or supervision.

Student Life 

CSUSM offers more than 100 organizations and clubs for students to get involved with including Fraternities and Sororities, Academic and Honor Societies, Sport Clubs, and so much more!

CSUSM Scholars are encouraged to participate in University Hour. U-Hour is every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 1pm and campus-wide events are planned where students can engage in extracurricular activities and connect with other students and faculty outside of the classroom. 

The University Student Union (USU) hosts many events on campus and is a great lounge space for students. There are a variety of food options to choose from, as well as an activity center which provides fun activities for students to participate in both inside the USU and out in the community. The center features video games, arcade games, board games, billiards, and foosball, as well as discount ticket sales. Learn more about the USU Activity Center. 

CSUSM Scholars are encouraged to visit the Kellogg Library—it is a great place to study on campus and offers a variety of services. The campus library houses public printers and copy machines and students can utilize an open computer lab, reserve group study rooms as well as check out equipment including charging solutions, audio equipment, dry-erase boards and markers, and more! Campus ID cards are issued by the student technology help desk located on the 2nd floor in the library. Library hours and events. 

At CSUSM, students have access to holistic medical services that include basic wellness care, psychological counseling, immunizations, and pharmacy. Access to the health center on campus is free to all enrolled CSUSM students—health insurance is not required. Some services such as psychiatry and non-routine lab work require a small fee. Learn more about Student Health and Counseling Services.   

The Clarke Field House is a great fitness center and is home to Campus Recreation (REC). Campus Recreation offers many free programs for all students to get involved in, including fitness and wellness classes, sports clubs, outdoor adventure activities, and other campus involvement opportunities. Learn more about campus recreation activities. 

Located in Commons 104, right next to the University Bookstore, the ASI Cougar pantry offers free groceries to all CSUSM students in an effort to decrease food insecurity on campus. The pantry stocks a variety of dry and canned goods, limited produce, milk, toiletries, and diapers. Enrolled CSUSM students can shop the pantry once per week. ASI Cougar Pantry hours of operation. 

Other useful resources: 


Beginning year-two, CSUSM Aspiring Scholars begin an employment or academic internship, that most closely aligns with their Person Driven Plan, either on or off campus. Scholars may work up to 20 hours per week; however, a minimum of 5 hours per week is required to meet program requirements. Ideally, each student will participate in a minimum of 2 semesters of academic internship(s) and a minimum of 2 semesters of employment internship(s) prior to completing the program.  

Peer Mentors

Peer mentors provide academic support and facilitate social opportunities in order for students to become more involved in campus life. In addition, peer mentors offer on-going guidance in the areas of career readiness, health and wellness, and independent living skills to students as needed.

  • Academic Support: Mentors help CSUSM Aspiring Scholars with organization, executive functioning, planning, accessing course materials and tutoring for academic classes. Peer mentors can attend courses with CSUSM Aspiring Scholars as needed. 
  • Social Engagement Support: Peer Mentors teach CSUSM Aspiring Scholars how to navigate campus, engage in student organizations, and facilitate participation in clubs and events on campus.  
  • Skill Development Support: Peer Mentors can support CSUSM Aspiring Scholars in developing career readiness skills and  independent living skills. 

Learn More