Caltech at a Glance

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering Institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges. Caltech's extraordinary faculty and students are expanding our understanding of the universe and inventing the technologies of the future, with research interests from quantum science and engineering to bioinformatics and the nature of life itself, from human behavior and economics to energy and sustainability.

Caltech is small but prizes excellence and ambition. The contributions of Caltech's faculty and alumni have earned national and international recognition, including 35 Nobel Prizes. The Institute manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, sending probes to explore the planets of our solar system and quantify changes on our home planet; owns and operates large-scale research facilities such as the Seismological Laboratory and a global network of astronomical observatories, including the Palomar and W. M. Keck Observatories; and cofounded and comanages LIGO, which, in 2016, observed gravitational waves for the first time.

The Institute has one of the nation's lowest student-to-faculty ratios, with 300 professorial faculty members offering a rigorous curriculum and access to varied learning opportunities and hands-on research to approximately 1,000 undergraduates and 1,250 graduate students. Caltech is an independent, privately supported institution with a 124-acre campus 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

Academic options (majors)

Cross-disciplinary research institutes and centers

Faculty (1)

Approximately 300 professorial faculty

More than 600 research scholars

3:1 student-faculty ratio


Nobel Laureates (2): 34 

National Medal of Science Recipients (2): 58

National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipients (3): 13

National Academies Memberships (4): 123


979 undergraduate students

1,261 graduate students

34% female / 66% male

99% placed in the top tenth of their high school graduating class

Class of 2020:

  • 6,855 applicants
  • 235 members of the freshman class
  • 44% female / 56% male

Affording Caltech (1)

Students receiving need-based assistance: 52%

Average need-based financial-aid package: $38,983

Average indebtedness for class of 2015: $20,677

Living Alumni

23,435 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
  • 19 spacecraft and ten instruments employed in active missions
  • Recently launched missions include the Mars Science Laboratory, Juno, Jason 3, and NuSTAR
  • More than 100 research and mission collaborations with Caltech faculty

Caltech Seismological Laboratory

  • Internationally recognized for excellence in geophysical research
  • Provides 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
  • Owens Valley Radio Observatory, California
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), Washington and Louisiana
  • Chajnantor Observatory, Chile

Employees (1)

  • Caltech: 3,900
  • JPL: 5,500


The FY 2015 budget, including Campus and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) totaled approximately $2.3 billion.

  • JPL: $1.8 billion
  • Campus: $591 million

Campus Budget Allocation:


  • Contracts and grants: 54.4%
  • Endowment payout: 19.2%
  • Gifts: 11.4%
  • Student tuition and fees: 6.4%
  • Other: 11.4%


  • Instruction and Academic Support: 42.9%
  • Organized research: 39.3%
  • Institutional support: 12.7%
  • Auxiliary: 5.1%

Caltech endowment valued at $2.09 billion


(1) 2016–17 academic year

(2) Faculty and alumni

(3) Includes trustees

(4) Faculty only