*Attention: Please read the following message regarding the Fall 2017 application cycle.*


Dear Campus Community:

We write to let you know about a change in BSP. In the 2017-2018 academic year, new members will not be able to join the program in Fall 2017, but will have to wait until Spring 2018. Why are we doing this? 

There are two reasons.

1) This year, the traditional campus-wide orientation of new students has changed from running throughout the summer (CalSO) to being reduced to a single week before classes start (Golden Bear Orientation). Informing students about BSP and getting them to apply poses a troublesome challenge in this limited timeframe. Instead we plan to use Fall semester outreach events to get the word out about BSP and how to apply for Spring admission. Those interested in applying will be encouraged to take IDS 96 – Studying the Biological Sciences in the Fall. We will announce and publicize the application due date on the BSP website with sufficient lead time to submit a quality application for the Spring.

2) Going into the Fall, we will be temporarily short-staffed. Maintaining high quality service for our current members is our top priority. Doing this while interviewing prospective new members and orienting those selected would be a difficult challenge.

Finally, please don’t think that this program change is a sign that there is a funding problem or that BSP is being phased out. To the contrary, BSP is stronger and more vibrant than ever.  Our application for the Spring 2018 semester will open December 1st. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at


BSP Staff



 BSP is a "strength-based" community of scholars. Although we recognize the very real need of students, we believe that selecting members based on their strengths (potential to contribute to the BSP community and society) rather than their need for support (e.g., financial and academic challenges), has resulted in a BSP culture where individual student success and reciprocal support of one another go hand in hand.

Using a written application and invited interviews we look for the following in our prospective members: 1) "distance traveled" - barriers and challenges they have negotiated, 2) passion for science, and 3) demonstrated commitment to service.

We use SATs and GPAs not as a threshold to include/exclude students but as an entrée to discuss an applicant's life circumstances. Measures of strength may also include a candidate's resilience, persistence, authenticity, willingness to seek and give help, and ability to re-strategize and re-group in the face of failure.

BSP membership is highly competitive. We recommend that serious candidates begin the application process early. Students not accepted are always welcome to submit an application for the following semester. Please email any questions to

Member Requirements

One of the biggest strengths of BSP is the active participation of its members in support of each other’s success. Some specific minimum membership requirements are listed below, but they just represent a baseline of participation. BSP members contribute to the community in a myriad of ways not listed here, both large and small, from tutoring their peers to making new students feel welcome. Members often say “you get out of it what you put into it” which aligns with our observation that the most active and engaged BSP members often have better long-term success in achieving their goals. We ask that all members consider how they can use their unique strengths, skills, ideas, and interests to contribute to the BSP community.

Minimum BSP Member Requirements:

  • Attend the All Student Meeting (1/2 day on a Saturday) at the beginning of every Fall and Spring Semester.
  • Meet with an advisor at least once per semester in their first year in BSP and at least once a year after that.
  • Attend at least the first session of each BSP study group in which they are enrolled in the corresponding class.
  • Complete John Matsui’s Fall 1-unit course, IB C96, and Spring 2-unit course, MCB 15, within their first two years of BSP membership.
  • Help clean and maintain the student room during use and when selected randomly for a group clean-up.
  • Follow all rules regarding the protection and maintenance of BSP resources and facilities.
  • Promptly respond to any communications and surveys from BSP staff during their undergraduate years and after graduation from Cal.