At a Glance

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The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, where extraordinary faculty and students seek answers to complex questions, discover new knowledge, lead innovation, and transform our future.

Caltech's 124-acre campus is located in Pasadena, California.


The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.


Founded as Throop University in 1891 in Pasadena, California, and renamed the California Institute of Technology in 1920.

Research and Education

Academic Divisions

  • Biology & Biological Engineering
  • Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
  • Engineering & Applied Science
  • Geological & Planetary Sciences
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy

26 academic options (programs)

48 cross-disciplinary research institutes and centers


Approximately 300 professorial faculty

More than 600 research scholars

3:1 student-faculty ratio


Nobel Laureates: 32

National Medal of Science Recipients: 57

National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipients: 13

National Academies Memberships: 111


978 undergraduate students

1,253 graduate students

40% female / 60% male

98% placed in the top tenth of their high school graduating class

79% of Caltech alumni ultimately obtain a graduate degree

Class of 2016:

  • 5,537 applicants
  • 264 members of the freshman class

Affording Caltech(1)

Students receiving need-based assistance: 52%

Average need-based financial-aid package: $38,756

Average indebtedness for class of 2012: $15,090 (among the lowest in the nation for a four-year college or university education)

Second in the U.S. in return on investment of degree (3)

Living Alumni

22,756 in the U.S. and around the world

Global Facilities

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Founded by Caltech in the 1930s and managed for NASA since 1958
  • 23 spacecraft and 10 instruments employed in active missions
  • Missions launched in 2011-12: Mars Science Laboratory, Juno, Aquarius, GRAIL, and NuSTAR
  • More than 100 research and mission collaborations with Caltech faculty

Caltech Seismological Laboratory

  • Internationally recognized for excellence in geophysical research
  • Research centers for seismic studies, high-performance computing, and mineral physics
  • Preeminent source for earthquake information in Southern California and around the world

International Observatory Network

  • W. M. Keck Observatory, Hawaii
  • Palomar Observatory, California
  • Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, Hawaii
  • Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy, California
  • W. M. Keck Array, Antarctica
  • Owens Valley Radio Observatory, California
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, Washington and Louisiana
  • Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope, Chile (anticipated 2017)
  • Thirty Meter Telescope, Hawaii (anticipated 2020)


Caltech: 3,900

JPL: 5,000


The FY 2012 budget, including Campus and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) totals approximately $2 billion.

  • JPL: $1.5 billion
  • Campus: $557 million

Campus Budget Allocation:


  • Student Tuition and Fees: 6%
  • Gifts and Endowment Payout: 26%
  • Contracts and Grants: 57%
  • Auxiliaries and Other Income: 11%


  • Instruction and Academic Support: 37%
  • Research: 36%
  • Institutional Support, Utilities, Facilities, Maintenance, and Interest: 22%
  • Auxiliary Enterprises: 5%

Caltech endowment valued at $1.8 billion


(1) 2012–13 academic year

(2) Faculty and alumni

(3) Source: Bloomberg Businessweek