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.
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) is a prestigious national program focused on increasing the number of underrepresented students who will pursue doctorate degrees in core fields in the arts and sciences. Fellowships include mentoring, research stipends, and travel support (conferences, graduate school visits, etc.).
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program is one of the "crown jewels" of Caltech. Since 1979, SURF students have had the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of experienced mentors working at the frontier of their fields.
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships Exchange Programs were developed in order to enhance and broaden students' undergraduate experiences by giving them the chance to live in another culture, conduct research in a different academic/research environment, and prepare for careers that will most certainly involve international cooperation and collaboration.
GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) is a large international collaboration led by Caltech whose main research goal is to study cosmic transients ranging from merging neutron stars and supernovae to small near earth asteroids. Each year, GROWTH SURF offers opportunities to undergraduate students to spend up to 10 weeks abroad at one of our international partner institutions in Germany, Taiwan, India, Israel, Japan, Sweden, or the United Kingdom.
Undergraduate students in physics, astronomy and engineering are invited to participate in the development of gravitational-wave astronomy through the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Project. This intensive summer program takes place each year at Caltech or one of the LIGO observatory sites, funded in part through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program of the National Science Foundation.
The Amgen Scholars Program is a national program aimed at increasing research opportunities for students committed to pursuing careers in the sciences. At Caltech, we provide visiting students the opportunity to conduct research in biology, chemistry, and bio-technical related fields under the guidance of some of the world's leading academic scientists. Research projects, along with scientific seminars, workshops, and networking events, prepare participants to pursue a Ph.D. or the joint M.D./Ph.D. degree and research careers in the sciences and biotechnology.
Caltech's WAVE Fellows program aims to foster diversity by increasing the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering Ph.D. programs and making Caltech's programs more visible and accessible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech.
Centers and Institutes
JPL/NASA Programs: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA offer several research opportunities for Caltech undergraduates.
- Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) SURF-to-WAVE: Offers opportunities for motivated undergraduates interested in carrying out a summer research project in nanoscience.