About Caltech Students
In keeping with an interdisciplinary mentality, Caltech undergraduate students are required to take a core curriculum with classes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, humanities, and social science. The breadth of the core curriculum prepares students to analyze and solve problems across a wide variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Students typically declare an option (major) by the end of freshman year, begin to specialize as sophomores, and concentrate on their chosen fields as juniors and seniors.
Research opportunities are plentiful at Caltech, and approximately 75% of students will participate in undergraduate research. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program provides grants for students to work on research projects with professors, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Over 350 students participated in this program last summer. Many undergraduates also participate in research during the year as part of a faculty member's research group or for class credit.
The Honor Code, embodied in the statement "No member shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community," is a central part of campus life, applying not only to academic endeavors, but also to extracurricular activities, interactions among students, and relationships between students and faculty. The Honor Code contributes towards the trusting, open environment that exists on campus; collaboration is encouraged on problem sets, and most exams are take-home or are not proctored.
Students become members of one of the eight Houses during a selection process at the beginning of freshman year. The Houses offer students a close-knit community environment, and each has its own unique culture and traditions. Each House is run by its own elected student government.