International citizens and the Application Process
For international citizens (non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents), the application will prompt you through a specific set of questions pertaining to Caltech being need-sensitive in the review of your application. More information about what need-sensitive means at Caltech can be found below.
International citizens must have completed Caltech's required academic preparation during their secondary school career.
We accept applications from students who have completed the approved curriculum provided by their home countries. These include, but are not limited to:
- IGCSE, AS, and A Level curriculums: The most competitive international applicants whose schools offer the IGCSE curriculums usually present three A Level exams with grades of at least an A or B.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): Competitive applicants whose schools offer the IB curriculum will typically have scores of 6 or 7 on their IB exams, including their "predicted" grades. The IB Mathematics HL track will meet Caltech's calculus requirement.
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- Cambridge Pre-U
- Other local public options
Please note that we do not automatically grant credit for AP, IB, A Level, Pre-U, or college courses taken prior to enrollment. Each student accepted to Caltech will take a math and physics placement exam prior to enrolling. Based on the results of these exams, you may place out of courses and be granted credit for those courses. For more information, please see the Registrar's website FAQ.
First-Year Application Requirements
The following is a list of materials required for a complete application for first-year admission. If your application is missing any one of these components, it will be considered incomplete.
- Common Application or Coalition Application with Caltech Questions: Caltech does not have a preference between the Common Application or the Coalition Application. We advise that you use the best platform for your application process.
- $75 application fee or fee waiver (by request)
- Standardized tests - In June 2020, Caltech enacted a two-year moratorium on both the requirement and consideration of SAT and/or ACT test scores as part of the undergraduate admissions process. As of July 2021, the original two-year moratorium was extended an additional third year. SAT Subject Tests were completely eliminated in January 2020.
- Teacher evaluations
- Secondary School Report: This is a document that is sent to Caltech by your high school college counselor. It provides context about your school that helps the Admissions Committee evaluate your application holistically.
- Academic transcripts
- Duolingo English Test or TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL IBT) scores: Required of all international citizens unless 1) your native language is English, or 2) you have studied for two or more years in a school where English is the language of instruction. The latter must be completed prior to the application deadline. As of June 2020, Caltech added the Duolingo English Test as an accepted exam to demonstrate a student's English language proficiency. We do not accept IELTS scores.
- International Financial Aid Statement of Intent: When an international citizen applies for freshman admission, the application prompts questions to confirm their understanding of our financial aid policy and thus confirm their financial aid intent towards Caltech. Caltech is need-sensitive for international citizens because the total amount of financial aid funds is limited for these students, and we remain committed to meeting the demonstrated need of all admitted students. See our Financial Aid section below to read the full extent of our financial aid policy for international citizens.
Applying Early Action vs. Regular Decision
Caltech offers two rounds of admission: Early Action and Regular Decision. Early Action is non-binding and non-restrictive. If you apply to Caltech during Early Action, you can apply to as many other schools as you wish as long as you are not violating their policies. You are not required to attend Caltech if you are accepted during the Early Action round.
Financial aid is not offered to international citizens who apply under Early Action. If you wish to apply for financial aid, you must apply under Regular Decision.
For more information about the Early Action and Regular Decision admission plans and their deadlines, please visit our Application Deadlines page.
Financial Aid for International Citizens
Caltech is need-sensitive in its admission process for international citizens. The total amount of financial aid funds is limited for these students, and we remain committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of all admitted students. This limitation may result in financial need being a factor in the Institute's admissions decisions for international applicants who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents.
To that end, when a student applies for first-year/freshman admission and indicates that they are an international citizen, the application prompts questions to confirm their understanding of our financial aid policy. There is no separate form for this step; rather, the student must answer and affirm their understanding through the questions asked on the application.
When a student is answering these questions on the application, they should keep in mind the following:
- An international citizen who plans to apply for financial aid at any time during their undergraduate career here must apply for it at the time that they apply for admission. An international citizen who does not receive assistance for their first year at Caltech is not eligible for aid for any other academic period during their undergraduate career. Exceptions may be made for citizens of Canada and Mexico.
- An international citizen who applies for aid and is offered financial assistance for the first year will be eligible to reapply for financial aid in subsequent years.
- An international citizen who applies as a freshman applicant through the Early Action plan should not expect financial aid. If you are an international citizen who plans to apply for financial aid, you must apply through Regular Decision.
- Caltech does not offer merit-based scholarships or financial aid. We meet 100% of demonstrated financial need.
For more information about how to apply for financial aid as an international citizen please see the International Financial Aid Statement of Intent, visit Financial Aid's website, or email their office at firstname.lastname@example.org.