The MESA University Program is a UCSB undergraduate retention program for first generation college students within STEM field majors. Coordinated by the University of California, Office of the President, the MESA University Program maximizes undergraduate students' academic potential to prepare them for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Staff and faculty work together to increase students’ awareness and access to graduate degree programs and to promote community service through outreach events and mentoring.

Los Ingenieros students working on electronics project

"After 40 years, MESA remains a model on how to "get it right" for students in the fields of mathematics, engineering and science."

– Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Program Information

For students interested in participating in the program, here is what you can expect:

Students at a university/college campus are offered workshops and group study sessions covering core science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes, curricula and concepts to sustain high levels of academic achievement.

Peers are encouraged to enroll in the same course sections of core STEM classes and to develop communities where they study together and support each other.

MESA leaders impart college survival skills to incoming first generation students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, offering them an overview of personnel, processes, and key resources.

Students are exposed to engineering and other STEM fields through industry mentors, job shadowing, career fairs, national conferences, internship opportunities, and visits to industry sites.

The MESA staff support students by helping them find resources on campus, seek academic support when needed, monitor grades and academic progress, and identify and apply to internships, research experiences, and scholarships.

Students are encouraged to develop campus-based and international networks that provide access to partner chapters, mentors, and connect with professional organizations that offer leadership training, professional guest speakers, MESA and UCSB Alumni, and tours of STEM companies.

At UCSB, the MESA Center has “multipurpose space”, with other affiliated sites, which is used for study sessions, workshops, volunteer meetings, and information sharing.

We host several professional development workshops. Various topics include: strengthening your application components for internships, scholarships, graduate school and jobs; developing networking skills; health and wellness; and, graduate school versus industry, among others.

Participant Eligibility:

We support students who are first generation and/or low-income. Students must be enrolled full-time at UCSB.

Student Organizations

Students in this program are expected to participate in various campus student organizations as part of their undergraduate experience. Current partner student organizations we work to advise, support, and collaborate with include:

UCSB Edison STEM Research Scholarships

Please refer to the Student Opportunities section of our website for more information.

MESA Successful Transition Program (M-STP)

M-STP is a 3-week transition program for incoming first-year students and transfer students in the STEM fields. The aim of the program is to expose students to academic rigor, inform them about all the great resources available at UCSB, and help them network with other UCSB students, alumni, and industry partners.

Program Information

For students interested in participating in the program, here is what you can expect:

  • Short courses in:
    • Python & MATLAB
    • Math & Physics
    • Technical writing
    • College success
  • Seminars with:
    • Industry professionals
    • Alumni & Faculty
  • Community building activities
  • Mini project competition
  • Activities with current undergraduates
  • Academic courses taught by UCSB College of Engineering graduate students


Participant Eligibility:

  • Must be full-time UCSB STEM student
  • Must be first-generation college-bound, meaning neither of your parents/guardians has a 4-year degree
  • Priority is given to students who participated in MESA at their high school or community college



For further information, please contact the OEP main office via phone: (805) 893-3105