California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Caltech, Cal Tech

#5 National Colleges

6.42% Admission Rate
Most Selective

938 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, lower transfer-in
  • Four-year, small, highly residential

By - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private research university in Pasadena, California, United States of America. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering, managing $332 million in 2011 in sponsored research. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes); in addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies, 4 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as NASA. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

"California Institute of Technology." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Pasadena, California

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City: Midsize (population of at least 100,000 but less than 250,000)

Far West (AK, CA, HI, NV, OR, WA)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Engineering 34.8%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 26.6%
Physical Sciences 22.4%
Mathematics And Statistics 10.4%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 5.0%
Business, Management, Marketing, And Related Support Services 0.8%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1557 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 800 795 790
Verbal 760 750 740

ACT Scores

36 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 36 36 35
English 36 36 35