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The California Institute of Technology, popularly known as Caltech, is one of the nation's premier institutes of engineering, science, and technology. Caltech is a private educational institution located in Pasadena, California whose scope extends into both deep space and deep underground on our own planet. The institute operates both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA and also the Seismological Laboratory, which aggregates seismic activity in California and worldwide. In fact, Caltech's scope is nearly universal where STEM matters are concerned.

Overview of California Institute of Technology

Caltech's research efforts are wide-ranging and comprehensive. Students and other scholars work on areas including, but not limited to energy and the environment, social sciences, physics, neuroscience, computing, and chemistry. Indeed, within each broad category there are numerous centers and institutes that are dedicated to sub-specialties such as chemical innovation in energy, economic and management sciences, and theoretical cosmology, to name a few.

The institute has been known for its many prize-winning scholars. Their accolades include numerous Nobel Prizes (39), the National Medal of Science (58), 75 members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 107 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows, among many more.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Midsize
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 3:1
Graduation Rate 92%
Year Founded 1891

Student Enrollment

Total Students2,233


Undergraduate Student

Male 521
Female 427

Graduate Student

Male 707
Female 578

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Male 5,866
Female 2,342


Male 235
Female 281

Acceptance Rate7%

Male   4%
Female 12%

Enrollment 247

Male 119
Female 94
Application Fee $75
High School GPA Recommended
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline January 3
Common Application Accepted Yes

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

This exclusive, private institute is not cheap. Tuition is $54,600 per year and the total cost per student is $75,000. These are high figures for many households, but Caltech's students are able to offset the up-front cost of their education with scholarships, loans, and grants. Once those financial instruments are implemented, the average net price of a year at Caltech is often just over $30,000.

Low-income students are able to offset their costs and see a net price between $1,376 and $2,714. Students from the wealthiest families, on the other hand, face a net price that averages $45,404. There are many ways for students to reduce their costs, and Caltech students are very savvy at saving money.

In fact, approximately 49% of Caltech students receive aid in the form of grants and scholarships. They receive up to an average of $42,500 which covers over half of their total educational cost. Thus, a Caltech education presents a more affordable picture with terrific returns after graduation.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $26,361
Average Total Aid $42,540
Students Receiving Financial Aid 64%
Room & Board $16,644

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $54,600
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $54,600
  • Books and Supplies - $1,428
  • Room & Board - $16,644
  • Other - $2,091


Caltech has a stellar reputation, which is verified not only in the success of its graduates but also by the numbers that reflect academic excellence. This private, non-profit institution has a student body population that barely exceeds 2,000 students, of which 55% identify as male and 45% identify as female. Undergraduate students number less than half of that total with a population of 948 students. The graduate school educates the remaining 58%, or 1,285 total students.

The school also has one of the nation's best student-faculty rations, 3:1. Students are thus able to work closely with the institute's top-caliber faculty in the pursuit of a strenuous curriculum as well as independent research projects.

The institute's academic excellence is reflected in other metrics, such as its retention rate, graduation rate, and acceptance rate. Caltech's retention rate is a stellar 98%, meaning that the vast majority of incoming first-year students remain for their second year. This shows their confidence in the school and curriculum, and then most walk the stage for graduation. In fact, most students remain on campus to graduate. 81% of incoming students graduate within four years and 92% complete their degrees within six years.

These graduating students work hard and are strenuously vetted prior to their initial admission. With math SAT scores falling in the 790-800 range and verbal scores in the 740-780 range, new students are among the cream of the crop. In fact, Caltech's admission rate is a stringent 7%.

Student Population Total

Student Population 2,233

Evening Classes : No
Distance Learning : No

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Engineering Majors 84 Total Graduates / 35%
Mechanical Engineering 30 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 24 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 13 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 11 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 64 Total Graduates / 27%
Computer Science 64 Graduates
All Physical Science Majors 54 Total Graduates / 22%
Physics, General 23 Graduates
Chemistry, General 13 Graduates
Astrophysics 6 Graduates
Geology/Earth Science, General 4 Graduates
Mathematics and Statistics 25 Total Graduates / 10%
Mathematics, General 13 Graduates
Computational Mathematics 12 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 12 Total Graduates / 5%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 10 Graduates
Neuroscience 2 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 1%

Outcome & Salary

Caltech offers terrific outcomes for its graduates. They are not only privy to one of the nation's best technical educations, but they frequently enter jobs that provide an ample return on their initial educational investment. In fact, Caltech grads enter the workforce earning high salaries that average around $84,000, before bonuses. Their mid-career earnings rise quickly to over $151,000.

The overall return on investment (ROI) for a Caltech education is quite rosy. The projected 20-year earnings potential for a graduate is over $2.5 million. Thus, if a student is able to finance the up-front cost of education, they are sure to pay off their loans quickly and begin pocketing their full paychecks very soon.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $84,100
College Grads Average Salary $111,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $151,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,110,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,626,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $105,444
10 Year Projected ROI $1,004,556
20 Year Projected ROI $2,520,556
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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