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California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

How to apply

Academic Preparation Checklist

(If you have not taken all the listed courses, you should at least be enrolled in them at the time of your application.)

  • 4 years of math (including calculus)
  • 1 year of physics
  • 1 year of chemistry
  • 3 years of English (4 years recommended)
  • 1 year of U.S. history/government (waived for international students)

Each student accepted to Caltech will take a math and physics placement exam prior to enrolling. Based on the results of these exams, you may place out of courses and be granted credit for those courses.

First Year Application Checklist

  • Common Application with Caltech Questions
  • $75 application fee or fee waiver (Common App waiver or Caltech-specific waiver)
  • SAT with writing or ACT with writing
  • SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2
  • 1 SAT science subject test: biology (ecological), biology (molecular), chemistry, or physics
  • 1 math or science teacher evaluation
  • 1 humanities or social sciences teacher evaluation
  • Secondary School Report
  • Academic transcripts

In addition to the two required teacher evaluations, you are welcome to submit an evaluation from a mentor or supervisor who knows you in a different context. If you have published a scientific research paper, you may submit the full paper to Caltech. Instructions on how to submit these papers will be included in your application confirmation email.

ALL required tests must be completed prior to the testing deadline. Applicants who do not submit all of our required testing will not be evaluated for admission.

All of the above checklist items apply to international applicants except where noted; please have all teacher evaluations and course names on transcripts translated into English. In addition, international students should supply the following: TOEFL scores (required if English is not your native language or if you have not studied for the last two years at a high school where English is the language of instruction). The University does not accept the IELTS.


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California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, California, United States
CA 91125
United States
United States
View Location
+1 626-395-6811

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Caltech's 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located in Pasadena, California, approximately 11 miles (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena and the Pasadena Playhouse District and therefore the two locations are frequent getaways for Caltech students.