Quora pixel

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is a private doctorate-granting university that was established as the Throop University in September 1891 by a Pasadena philanthropist Amos Throop. The college attracted influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes and Robert Andrews Millikan, and this led to the growth of the university. It was renamed the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1920. The institute is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences and its motto is “The truth shall make you free”. Caltech’s 124-acre primary campus is located in the city of Pasadena in California, United States.

Key Statistics

  • 236 Class Size
  • 2250-2350 SAT Score
  • 34-35 ACT range
  • 8% Overall Admittance Rate
  • 9% International Students
  • 46% Women Percentage
  • 800-800 SAT Math range


  1. Student Life: 85% of undergraduate students live in Caltech housing, where they study, socialize, and dine together. Students remain part of the same close-knit community all four years. There are more than 150 student clubs and sports organizations on campus, ranging from juggling and alpine climbing to entrepreneurship and robotics. Over 80% of students participate in intercollegiate, club, intramural, and informal recreational activities. Overall the life at Caltech is full of diverse experiences, perspectives, and passions with students from all over the United States and across the globe.

  2. Academics & Research: Caltech has six academic divisions viz. Biology & Biological Engineering, Engineering & Applied Science, etc. that offer about 27 options (majors) in total. The class size is relatively small with 235 members in the freshmen class resulting in an excellent student to faculty ratio of 3:1. It also has many global facilities such as Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech Seismological Laboratory among others.

  3. Alumni Network: Caltech has over 24,000 alumni in the U.S. and around the world. Twenty-two alumni and 15 non-alumni faculties have won the Nobel Prize. The alumni have founded, or co-founded, companies such as Hotmail, Compaq, MathWorks, and Intel, etc.

  4. Fun Facts: Millikan Library is one of the most-often-shaken buildings in the world, as Caltech's seismologists use it to test earthquake detectors and to gather other types of seismological data. Every morning during finals week, at 7 a.m. on the dot, Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" is played at an ear-splitting volume.

Notable Alumni

  • Kip Thorne American Theoretical Physicist, Recipient of Nobel Prize in Physics, Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
  • Adam D'Angelo Co-founder & CEO of Quora
  • Satish Dhawan Former Chairman of ISRO, Recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan
  • Cleve Moler Inventor of MATLAB; Co-founder of Mathworks