Research and education are seamlessly integrated at Caltech because we believe that one of the best ways for students to develop confident and inquisitive minds is for them to be able to apply in the laboratory and in the field what they learn in the classroom. When you come to Caltech, you are treated as a scientist from day one. You don't have to wait to become an upperclassman or a graduate student. Over half of our students begin conducting research as early as their first year.
That's why over 80 percent of our students participate in undergraduate research. And those who do tend to agree that this is one of the best experiences at Caltech. Having the opportunity to conduct hands-on research alongside some of the top faculty in the world and in some of the most innovative research facilities is truly transformative.
While there are many ways for undergrads to get involved in research, such as informally asking faculty for permission to participate in a research group or doing a research project for class credit, the most popular way is to SURF—that is, to participate in Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships program.
At Caltech, we also don't confine you to our campus. For example, you could perform research nearby at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is a division of Caltech, or you could jet off to Switzerland to conduct research related to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. As a Techer, you will find opportunities in dozens of research centers and institutes staffed by faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates.