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About CSS

Mission Statement:

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program provides a pathway to success for highly able students who aspire to pursue both undergraduate and advanced degrees as a Ph.D. and M.D. Ph.D. scientist in our increasingly interdisciplinary world. CSS is open to prospective undergraduates of all backgrounds who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing and broadening participation within science, technology, and math disciplines. The CSS program provides an accelerated academic start to undergraduate studies, an early introduction to undergraduate research, and continuous mentoring support for the scholars, allowing them to succeed in math and science at their full potential.
Hands-on experience in Carolina’s cutting-edge research labs prepares scholars to tackle the grand challenges of today — and tomorrow. Photo: Anna Wheless, Neher Lab


The CSS Program is modeled after the nationally-recognized Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In partnership with UMBC and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, CSS was one of the first programs in the nation to adapt the successful Meyerhoff model to a preeminent research university, demonstrating the value of building community, mentoring, and instilling high expectations of scholars. Together, CSS scholars are prepared to move into Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs after graduation and become part of the next generation of leaders in science and technology.

Program Benefits:

The CSS scholarship awards $10,000 to NC residents. It covers tuition, fees, and room & board for out-of-state students. All CSS scholarships are awarded on an annual basis and renewable for up to four years. Scholars may also apply for additional funding to support summer research opportunities, travel to industry conferences, and other academic enrichment endeavors, as the availability of funds permits.

The required intensive six-week Summer EXCELerator program before the students’ first year on campus gives them a foundation of strong coursework, teaches them the best practices of our most successful students, and coalesces them into a tight cohort of supportive peers. CSS covers all Summer EXCELerator expenses, including course tuition, room and board, and fees associated with program activities.

Each year, a vibrant and diverse group of approximately 20-25 outstanding scholars who are committed to scientific research and to each other live together during their first year to form a community and then continue to meet regularly throughout their time at Carolina.

Outstanding academic performance in math and the sciences is our goal. Students receive regular, intensive advising from CSS program coordinators, faculty mentors in STEM departments, and dedicated advisors within the University’s Academic Advising Program. CSS scholars also receive priority registration for STEM courses.

Research experience is one of the most important ways to prepare for Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. We help students find a research position in a lab at Carolina early in their time here, and we help match them with summer placements at other leading universities and research labs.

In their junior and senior years, CSS prepares scholars for the next step with assistance in the graduate school application process, including workshops on individual application components – such as cover letters, personal statements, and interviews – and GRE/MCAT test preparation.

Students who graduate in good program standing receive the designation of “Chancellor’s Science Scholars Laureate” on their official UNC transcript.