California Institute of Technology

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Updated August 6, 2020

In 1891, a small vocational school called Throop University was established, but in 1920 it became an independent technical school called the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Today, Caltech is one of the leading academic and applied research centers for scientists and engineers. Caltech is noted for its commitment to supporting graduate students with an impressive drive, creativity and intellectual capacity. Private funding, generous philanthropy and fundraising campaigns have resulted in Caltech being able to actively support advanced scientific research and education.

In 2009, the Caltech Innovation Initiative started providing seed funds that amount up to $250,000 for student scientists and engineers to pursue groundbreaking research that lead to marketable products. Students do everything from designing safer aircraft to medical devices that track vitals. This is one of the reasons why graduate students flock to Caltech's Engineering and Applied Science department, which includes aerospace, materials science and applied math. It also includes the most popular programs of medical, mechanical, electrical and environmental engineering,

Caltech Accreditation Details

Caltech is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and College (WASC), which is one of the six regional academic agencies that accredit universities. The WASC is recognized by the Department of Education. Caltech is also accredited by the California State Department of Education's Office of Private Postsecondary Education, which allows it to train veterans through the Veterans Administration (VA) and operate as a postsecondary academic institution. This uniquely new bureau was recently created to safeguard the rights of students through monitoring higher learning educational institutions.

The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) specifically accredits the engineering programs. When it comes to engineering programs, employers and the public expect the highest academic standards that produce competent professionals. ABET is the national quality standard for a variety of engineering programs that produce talented graduates ready to enter the workforce. Finally, the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Committee on Professional Training has approved the chemistry engineering program. Caltech's first-rate accreditation goes hand-in-hand with their unrivaled domination of college-based technical research and experimentation.

Caltech Application Requirements

In order to gain admittance, students must demonstrate strong academic performances in target technical courses related to math and science. When applying, students must submit their SAT math level two and science scores for biology, physics or chemistry. Students must also submit their SAT or ACT writing scores. Although the application deadline for admission is January the third, the Early Action program allows students to submit online applications before the first of November. Regarding high school academic history, students should have completed four years of math, including calculus, and one year of both physics and chemistry. Three years of English are required, but four years are recommended.

Essays are a required part of the application process because they provide students with opportunities to convey their interests, experiences and personal background. Two formal evaluations and a school report must be submitted. One evaluation must be from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities or social science instructor. The secondary school report is completed by the student's high school counselor or other school official. Students are encouraged to include additional academic materials, such as a portfolio of research, science and engineering projects. Because Caltech belongs to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, they disseminate admission's answers before the first of May.

Caltech Tuition and Financial Aid

The tuition and fees charge for graduate students in 2015 was $45,264 per academic year. Graduate students who are unable to study full time are only accepted under special circumstances. Graduate students who plan on registering for less than 36 units must petition the dean of graduate studies for their department. Caltech does not adjust tuition payments of graduate students based on their contributions to research. However, graduate students who are academic staff members are not required to pay tuition. Graduate students who owe more than $1,500 will not be allowed to register for future classes. The general deposit is $100 and book and supply fees cost approximately $1,323.

Caltech offers plenty of financial assistance opportunities for graduate students, which include tuition scholarships, assistantships with stipends and fellowships that provide both tuition and stipends. Graduate students who become assistants may qualify for exclusive tuition awards. The awarding of fellowships, scholarships and assistantships are determined by the student's academic program of choice. Graduate assistants help professors with teaching, lab supervision or perform useful academic research. Most graduate students receive a mixture of research and teaching assistantships.

Teaching assistantships require the student to devote 20 hours every week activities like grading, class preparation and meeting with students. Generally speaking, teaching duties occur during the 12 weeks of the academic term. In order to qualify for a teaching assistantship, students must demonstrate their communication competency by passing an English proficiency exam or similar standardized test. Research assistantships are 20 hours per week, but usually increase to 40 hours during the summer. There are several types of graduate student loan programs available.

Caltech Degrees

Although Caltech offers six departmental divisions, which include biology, chemistry and math, the engineering department is the most popular. For example, graduate students in aeronautics may study technical fluid mechanics or aeronautical engineering. The applied mechanics program centers around structural and machine responses to vibrations, such as earthquakes. The computer science facility works closely with external organizations to research new algorithms, communication methods and means of human-computer interactions. Engineers who specialize in dynamical systems will study the emerging field of dynamical systems and control.

The most common graduate degrees are related to civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. The civil engineering students take classes most related to earthquake engineering, such as seismic early warning systems and earthquake loss-estimations. They also study structural analytics and learn about statistical tools used to evaluate structural loads and tolerances. Electrical engineering students will take basic classes on wireless systems and modern optics, but also advanced classes on quantum electronics and bio-electronics. Mechanical engineers take classes in calculus variations, equilibrium dynamics and computational mechanics.

The California Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious research-based universities in the country for technically savvy students.

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