Caltech students can do research for academic credit and/or a senior thesis, or for pay. Research experiences are integrated within the academic offerings at Caltech. Most of the 24 options offer academic credit for undergraduate research or senior thesis credit.
Just remember: you can NOT receive credit and pay for the same work.
Caltech students: For a quick start to finding academic-year opportunities, the ARC has pulled together a list of potential mentors.
Research for Credit
Although the academic terms are busy, one advantage of attending Caltech is the almost limitless opportunities to do research. Many students choose to continue their SURF projects into the term. Others want the opportunity to try a new area of research. Whatever the case, most options offer the chance for students to do research during the term, with a professor, for academic credit. To get started talk with your advisor or option secretary to see what is available.
According to the 2017 - 2018 Caltech Catalog, “the senior thesis involves original research under the mentorship of a faculty member, then documenting the methodology and accomplishments in scholarly form, and finally oral presentation of the results to an examination committee. This integrated effort develops research, writing, and presentation skills that together provide an excellent preparation for future graduate studies and/or professional life. Since senior thesis requirements vary by option, individual option representatives should be consulted.” For more information by option click here.
The Hixon Writing Center can provide students support and resources when writing their senior thesis.
Students who do a senior thesis should consider applying for the Library Friends' Senior Thesis Prize.
Some faculty will consider hiring undergraduate students for academic year research. Pay rates are determined by the type of work and academic class level of the student.
Additionally, students receiving Federal Work Study or Caltech Work Study may be able to have their pay subsidized by these programs. For more information on work study, students should consult with the Financial Aid Office.
There are several research-related prizes that are awarded to undergraduates each year. For a current listing, please visit the Caltech Catalog section on prizes.