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Undergraduate Research

Why Undergraduate Students Should Do Research

Learn how Caltech's undergraduate research prepares you for graduate studies or a career by helping you apply classroom knowledge, find mentors, and more.

Why Undergraduate Students Should Do Research

At Caltech, you don't have to wait until graduate school to engage in research. As a research-driven institution, we emphasize hands-on learning opportunities for all our students. In fact, over 90% of Caltech undergraduates do student research, and about half get involved in their first year.

By joining research labs, you can dive into the depths of your chosen field, work alongside renowned faculty mentors, and contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Connect Theory with Practice

Undergraduate research seamlessly connects your classroom knowledge with real-world applications. For example, you may study molecular bonds as a chemistry major, and then you can join a project that synthesizes small molecules and develops new reactions.

This hands-on approach actively bridges the gap between theory and practice. And it won't just be in classroom labs: You can gain experience at our cutting-edge research centers that lead the scientific community in their work, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Contribute to Scientific Advancements

Engaging in Caltech's student research opportunities makes you part of the ongoing dialogue within your field of interest. Work alongside award-winning faculty members and peers as you conduct innovative experiments and explore uncharted territories. Previous students have tackled intriguing topics, such as inventing a moon dust shield for future lunar missions or working on a space solar power demonstrator.

You may even be able to co-publish your findings in reputable journals or present them at conferences. There, you can share insights with the broader scientific community and improve your public speaking skills.

Find Mentorship Opportunities with Caltech Professors

Because our undergraduate student researchers work directly with Caltech faculty, your professors become your mentors. They help guide you through your endeavors, challenge you to explore new avenues, and provide insights from their own experiences.

Your mentors can also help you navigate academic and professional pursuits. They may connect you with other researchers or write you a letter of recommendation for future studies, taking you one step closer to goals such as working in a research lab or attending graduate school.

Prepare for Graduate Study or a Career

Participating in student research at Caltech also allows you to explore different fields of study. By working in different labs, you can learn what type of research you enjoy most and the career paths you wish to pursue.

In addition, undergraduate research can sharpen essential workplace skills that enhance your résumé. Grow your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities by formulating research questions, analyzing results, and overcoming obstacles. Moreover, collaboration with faculty members and fellow students enhances communication and teamwork skills.

Finally, navigating the ups and downs of experiments instills confidence. It proves you can achieve results and complete projects, laying a solid foundation for your academic and professional journey.

Take Part in Undergraduate Research at the California Institute of Technology

At Caltech, there is no shortage of research opportunities for you. We have more than 50 centers and institutes on campus that can excite your passions from the moment you set foot on campus.

The university also provides fellowships, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, that support and finance your endeavors. Join us at Caltech, where you can collaborate with faculty on cutting-edge research that can impact the world.

Explore Student Research Opportunities in Caltech's STEM Degree Programs

Study at the California Institute of Technology, where our 3:1 student-to-faculty ratio means you get to know your professors and participate in their projects. Thrive in your classes and in the lab at Caltech.

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