Caltech investigates the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology. As a student here, you'll be engaged and involved in that work. We're a small, collaborative community defined by our passion for STEM. We believe the best way to learn is by doing. And we treat our undergrads as scientists from day one.
Caltech is hard. Our coursework will push you outside your comfort zone, even if STEM is your comfort zone. No matter how much math you've taken, you will face problem sets here that you can't solve on your own. We expect you to work with your classmates to find answers. We want you to think critically at every step. Because that's what it takes to become a great scientist.
But at Caltech, a great education is more than excellent STEM classes. The humanities and social sciences are essential. That's why they're part of our core curriculum. They're what allow you to see beyond a problem at hand, to think deeply and critically about the context and the broader impact of your work. Whether you work in STEM or not, you'll become a rigorous thinker and skilled communicator.
Our faculty care about teaching undergrads. Our 3:1 student-faculty ratio means you'll learn directly from some of the world's foremost minds in science, engineering, and humanities. And you won't just learn from them in the classroom. You'll be able to work alongside faculty, post-docs, and grad students as a fellow researcher.
It's an education that will test your resolve. It's also one defined by close collaboration, mutual respect, interdisciplinary teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, and continuous learning.
I interact with professors 1:1 to discuss papers I'm writing for their class or upcoming presentations I'm organizing. Their willingness to make time and provide helpful feedback on my work has helped me develop my logical thinking skills and improve my scientific communication.
Core Curriculum and your first year
Solving tomorrow's science and engineering challenges will require creativity, collaboration, and the ability to search across disciplines for the solution. We designed the first-year experience and core curriculum to help you develop those skills.
Before you dive into your academic option (what other schools call a major), you'll start with the core curriculum. The core is a set of courses that will give you a strong foundation in basic sciences, humanities, and social sciences. It's challenging by design, so your first two terms here will be pass/fail.
As part of your first year, we also offer unique freshman seminars, research tutorials, and frontier courses our students call "pizza seminars," all to expose you to the cutting-edge work happening at Caltech.