Background Sterile protection against malaria, most likely mediated by parasite-specific CD8+ T cells, has been achieved by attenuated sporozoite vaccination of animals as well as malaria-naïve and malaria-exposed subjects. The circumsporozoite protein (CSP)-based vaccine, RTS,S, shows low efficacy partly due to limited CD8+ T cell induction, and inclusion of such epitopes could improve RTS,S. This study assessed 8-10mer CSP peptide epitopes, present in predicted or previously positive P. falciparum 3D7 CSP 15mer overlapping peptide pools, for their ability to induce CD8+ T cell IFN-[gamma] responses in natural malaria-exposed subjects. Methods Cryopreserved PBMCs from nine HLA-typed subjects were stimulated with 23 8-10mer CSP peptides from the 3D7 parasite in IFN-É£ ELISpot assays. The CD8+ T cell specificity of IFN-[gamma] responses was confirmed in ELISpot assays using CD8+ T cell-enriched PBMC fractions after CD4+ cell depletion. Results Ten of 23 peptide epitopes elicited responses in whole PBMCs from five of the nine subjects. Four peptides tested positive in CD8+ T cell-enriched PBMCs from two previously positive responders and one new subject. All four immunodominant peptides are restricted by globally common HLA supertypes (A02, A03, B07) and mapped to regions of the CSP antigen with limited or no reported polymorphism. Association of these peptide-specific responses with anti-malarial protection remains to be confirmed. Conclusions The relatively conserved nature of the four identified epitopes and their binding to globally common HLA supertypes makes them good candidates for inclusion in potential multi-epitope malaria vaccines.