California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology is one of the world’s most renowned research institutions. Cal Tech was founded in 1891. California Institute of Technology is a private four-year university, offering both undergraduate and graduate programs.

California Institute of Technology Programs

California Institute of Technology is located in Pasadena, roughly 11 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The university is within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena and the Pasadena Playhouse District. Consequently, these two locations frequently serve as gateways for Caltech students.

The infrastructure at California Institute of Technology is uniquely designed, consistent with the character of the school, the local climate, and the school’s educational philosophy. The designs are also influenced by the traditional Spanish Mission architecture of Southern California.

Cal Tech aspires to expand human knowledge that benefits society through research and the integration of education.  The students of California Institute of Technology are taught to investigate the most challenging, critical problems in science and technology using a collegial, interdisciplinary approach. The university hopes to train creative engineers and scientists. Instruction at the institution is therefore, conducted in an atmosphere of research and close contact between faculty and the students.

The honor code is entrenched in the California Institute of Technology students’ life. This code dictates that no member of California Institute of Technology shall take unfair advantage of another member of the Caltech community.

Academics at California Institute of Technology

Cal Tech has six academic divisions, each with a strong emphasis on science and technology instruction and research. The university offers undergraduate majors and minors, which include:

  • Aerospace
  • Business, Economics, and Management
  • English
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Structural Mechanics

California Institute of Technology offers 24 majors (also known as options) and six minors across the six academic divisions. The university features an interdisciplinary approach to programs in:

  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Physics
  • Computational and Neural Systems
  • Engineering Control and Dynamical Systems
  • Geo Biology and Astrobiology
  • Planetary Astronomy and Geochemistry.

The most popular majors are Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.

Before beginning a bachelors program, Caltech requires students to undertake a core curriculum of:

  • Three terms of mathematics,
  • Two terms of chemistry
  • Three terms of mathematics
  • Two terms of chemistry
  • Three terms of physics
  • One term of biology
  • One term of scientific communication
  • Three terms of physical education
  • Two terms of lab courses
  • 12 terms of humanities and social sciences

To graduate in four years, students should expect to take 40 units per term. The school’s minimum course load is 36 units and maximum is 48 units.

California Institute of Technology is a small, close-knit institution with approximately 900 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students.  The social life at the institution centers on the eight student houses that are described as self-governing living groups. The houses utilize an admirable Caltech tradition where dinners are served by student waiters. Only first year students are required to live on campus, but more than 80% of the student body lives on campus, all four years. Each of the houses at the campus embodies a distinct personality and its own unique traditions. The students can choose to participate in more than 100 clubs representing a broad range of interests.

The Cal Tech Beavers are known to love pranks, and they have a long history of planning and executing elaborate pranks both on campus and across the country.  For instance, they once changed the Hollywood sign to read ‘Cal Tech’ by elaborately covering up certain parts of the letters.  In 1961’s Rose Bowl game, California Institute of Technology students altered the flip cards that were raised by the attendees at the stadium to display: ‘Cal Tech’. The event has since been christened ‘the Great Rose Bowl Hoax.’

Students at California Institute of Technology have the distinct advantage of learning near their lecturers. The student-faculty ratio is 3:1. The experience of studying at Cal Tech has been described as a scholarly intimacy that cannot be found anywhere else.

Tuition at California Institute of Technology

Undergraduate tuition is $47,577.  Fifty one percent of full-time undergraduate students receive some financial aid.

California Institute of Technology Accolades

  • California Institute of Technology has 34 Nobel Laureates under its hat.
  • One of the winners; Pauling received prizes both in peace and chemistry.
  • Crawford Price from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has been awarded to seven faculty and alumni.
  • The US National Medal of Science has been awarded to 58 members of Cal Tech.

Cal Tech at a Glance

  • Location: Pasadena
  • Private Research University
  • Undergraduate and graduate
  • Student enrollment: 1,900
  • Annual tuition: $47,577
  • For more information, visit:

California College Bound Program, Visit California Institute of Technology