Students can get involved in research activities during the academic year or over the summer. Below is a list of programs and opportunities.
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program is one of the “crown jewels” of Caltech. For over 35 years, SURF students have had the opportunity to be introduced to research under the guidance of experienced mentors working at the frontiers 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).
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 and financially disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. This program is open only to visiting (non-Caltech) students.
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.
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 the LIGO Project. 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.
The Student-Faculty Programs office provides administrative support to several NASA/JPL summer programs, which include NASA Space Grant, NASA PGGURP, 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.
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!