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Students can get involved in research through a variety of programs.


The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program is one of the “crown jewels” of Caltech. For nearly 40 years, SURF students have had the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of experienced mentors working at the frontier of their fields. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity from beginning (defining and developing a project) to end (presenting their results at SURF Seminar Day).

WAVE Fellows Program

Caltech is committed to promoting diversity within its educational programs and activities and strives to ensure that differing cultural, ethnic, social, geographic, and economic perspectives are represented. Caltech's WAVE Fellows program aims to foster diversity by increasing the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering Ph.D. programs and making Caltech's programs more visible and accessible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. The program is extended, but not limited, to underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation college students, geographically underrepresented students, educationally or financially disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.  This program is open only to visiting (non-Caltech) students.

Amgen Scholars Program

Discover your potential as part of Caltech's Amgen Scholars program. The Amgen Scholars program provides visiting (non-Caltech) students the opportunity to conduct research in biology, chemistry, and bio-technical related fields under the guidance of a Caltech faculty mentor. The program offers students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. a great opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research as part of a cohort of young scholars.

Exchange Programs

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships Exchange Programs were developed in order to enhance and broaden Caltech students’ undergraduate experiences by giving them the chance to live in another culture, conduct research in a different academic/research environment, and prepare for careers that will most certainly involve international cooperation and collaboration. Caltech students have the opportunity to do research at the University of Iceland or the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST).


Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the development of gravitational-wave astronomy through LIGO - the Laser Inferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory. This intensive summer program takes place each year at Caltech, funded in part through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program of the National Science Foundation. Undergraduate students from all institutions (both U.S. and foreign) are invited to apply.

NASA/JPL Summer Programs

The Student-Faculty Programs office provides administrative support to several NASA/JPL summer programs, which include NASA Space Grant, NASA PGGURP, NASA UI, and JPLSIP. Students apply directly to these programs. However, once admitted, students may live on the Caltech campus and will join a large community of undergraduate researchers.


GROWTH SURF (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) is a large international collaboration led by Caltech  whose main research goal is to study cosmic transients ranging from merging neutron stars and supernovae to small near earth asteroids. Each year, GROWTH SURF offers opportunities to undergraduate students enrolled in one of the GROWTH SURFpartner universities in the USA (Caltech, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Milwaukee, San Diego State University, and Pomona College) to spend up to 10 weeks abroad at one of our international partner institutions in Germany, Taiwan, India, Israel, Japan, or Sweden. During these weeks students will carry out a summer research project under the guidance of a mentor. The program is part of the educational and training activities of GROWTH SURFand is funded by an NSF PIRE grant No 1545949.

Academic-Year Opportunities

For Caltech undergraduates, research doesn’t need to be a summer-only experience. Students can, and should, get involved with research throughout the academic year.  Nearly 1/3 of our students do!