A Caltech education requires not just the depth of a major, but also considerable breadth in basic science, humanities, and social science. Caltech's core curriculum prepares students for the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary research in science and technology. This encourages a culture of problem solving, collaboration, and communication while providing valuable experience in all fields of science. Significant study in the humanities and social sciences is an important component of Caltech's core curriculum, giving alumni the ability to navigate the societal, political, and economic factors that influence, and are influenced by, their work.
Caltech students in all disciplines must complete the following courses:
- Freshman Mathematics: 36 units (covering Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra)
- Freshman Physics: 36 units (yearlong course)
- Freshman Chemistry: 15 units (classes) and 6 units (lab)
- Freshman Biology: 9 units
- Menu Class: 9 units (subjects include Astronomy, Environmental Science and Engineering, Energy Science, Geosciences, Information, and Logic)
- Additional Introductory Lab: 6 units (multiple options)
- Scientific Writing: 3 units
- Humanities and Social Sciences: 36 units in Humanities, 36 units in Social Sciences, and 36 additional units in either
- Physical Education: 9 units
- Substantive experience in problem solving, collaboration, and communication. Students will be able to:
> Manage increasing academic challenges while developing resilience and confidence.
> Develop and satisfy their intellectual curiosity.
> Collaborate effectively and ethically, recognizing diverse models of academic collaboration.
> Communicate to a range of audiences through a variety of media.
- A broad and rigorous foundation in the sciences. Students will be able to:
> Demonstrate understanding of foundational concepts from the sciences.
> Use disciplinary thinking, analytical skills, and a range of methods in the sciences.
> Apply their knowledge and skills to diverse problems within and across disciplines.
- Significant study in the humanities and social sciences. Students will be able to:
> Explore and expand upon learning in fields beyond intended areas of specialization.
> Appreciate and understand the contributions of the humanities, social sciences, and arts to human endeavors.
> Engage in informed analysis of cultural, political, and economic issues.