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Caltech’s small and highly collaborative community embraces an ethos of shared knowledge and embodies excellence in all ways.

Caltech's Campus

Students and faculty walking together on campus.

Caltech's 124-acre campus in Pasadena, California, is home to a community of roughly 300 professorial faculty, 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students, 600 postdoctoral scholars, and 2,500 staff, who work together to advance our understanding of the earth, the universe, and the human mind. To discover more about Caltech's history, study examples of noteworthy campus architecture, and learn what it is like to be a student at Caltech, you can take our self-guided walking tour and visit the terra-cotta panels adorning the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, stop for a coffee at the Red Door Café, or watch Caltech's famous turtles bask in the sun in Throop Memorial Garden. If you would prefer to explore the Institute from the comfort of your home, take the virtual campus tour to see the Dabney Library's Humanities Collections or the Chen Neuroscience Research Building (pictured).

Student Experience

The Black Student Union holding a "BSU" sign in Pasadena's Black History Month Parade.


Caltech has 134 active student-led clubs, including the Black Student Union (pictured) and the Science Olympiad Planning Team, which helps Caltech host the annual Southern California Science Olympiad State Tournament for middle and high school students.

The Caltech Wind Orchestra performing on stage.

Performing and Visual Arts (PVA)

Caltech's Performing and Visual Arts program offers excellent opportunities for the study and performance of music, theater, and the visual arts, including the Caltech Jazz Band, Caltech Orchestra, and TACIT (Theater Arts at Caltech).

Caltech athlete Claire Perhach dribbles basketball past a defender.


Twenty-five percent of Caltech's undergraduates participate in an NCAA Division III sport. Our game-changing basketball, volleyball, and other coaches make Caltech athletics unique.

Eight students in matching shirts riding a makeshift vehicle on Ditch Day.


Pi Day, Ditch Day, the Pumpkin Drop, and ME 72—Caltech's annual rituals and traditions both create and reflect the Institute's culture of innovation and creativity.

Students walking toward the entrance of Caltech's Bechtel residence on a sunny day.

Houses and Residences

Caltech has 11 on-campus residences for undergraduates, including eight houses, which provide social communities and support structures. Graduate housing includes the Catalina Apartments and Caltech-owned lease properties.

Mahlet Tesfaye, a Residential Life Coordinator from OSE, welcomes a new student on move-in day.

Office of Student Experience (OSE)

The Office of Student Experience oversees the experience of living on campus for both undergrads and grad students, provides engaging experiences outside the classroom, and supports students in building community at Caltech.

Public Events

Diana Buchwald smiling on stage at her Watson Lecture.

Watson Lectures

Free and open to the public, the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series has for more than 100 years offered a unique and accessible opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge science directly from Caltech's premier researchers. Watch past lectures on YouTube and find out more at the Watson Lecture website.

Tanner Harms delivers a Science Journey talk on stage.

Science Journeys

Everyone's journey to becoming a scientist is unique. During their Science Journeys talks, Caltech graduate students and postdoctoral scholars tell their personal stories while exploring a range of scientific topics that will spark curiosity and provide educators with resources to continue scientific exploration in the classroom.

Lee Hood speaks on stage at the Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series.

Presidential Distinguished Speakers

The Presidential Distinguished Speaker Series features eminent speakers addressing timely topics in science and engineering, culture, public policy, and American higher education.

A crowd of all ages enters Beckman Auditorium at night.

Public Performances

Caltech has a rich legacy of performing arts on campus. Beckman Auditorium hosts a diverse range of music, theatre, and dance shows from internationally-renowned performers throughout the year, enjoyed by both the campus community and the broader public.

Lia Halloran and Kip Thorne share a presentation at "Behind the Book."

Behind the Book

At Behind the Book talks, authors explore the intersection of arts, science, and society through the lens of their life experiences and family histories.

A full audience seated inside Beckman Auditorium.

Movies that Matter

Movies That Matter presents films such as Chasing Ice and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks that address current concerns in various realms of science as well as important matters of social justice.

Resources for the Caltech Community

Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID)

Award recipients smiling together at the CCID's Celebration of Excellence.
Every year, CCID hosts a Celebration of Excellence (pictured) honoring members of the Caltech community who have contributed to diversity and inclusion efforts.

CCID works to enhance the experience of all Caltech community members holistically through education, advocacy, cultural exchange, leadership development, and coalition building. The center serves as a hub of resources, and it partners with various stakeholders to advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility both at the Institute and within the scientific community.

CCID hosts discussion and affinity groups, supports diversity and inclusion ambassadors, organizes seminars about identities, advocacy, and activism within science, and offers a variety of training workshops to benefit Caltech's inclusion and diversity efforts.

First-Year Success Research Institute (FSRI) and Graduate Student Research Institute (GSRI)

FSRI, which is run by CCID, is a year-long orientation and academic support program designed to introduce incoming first-year students to Caltech's research and math curriculum, culture and campus life, and academic and student support services in a collaborative environment that allows students to develop lasting relationships with peers and colleagues.

GSRI, which is run by Caltech's Student-Faculty Programs office, helps incoming graduate students gain the necessary social and cultural capital to successfully navigate graduate school by providing programming on building effective networks, accessing campus resources and services, and developing critical interpersonal skills. The program allows graduate students to acclimate to Caltech and build community before they start their graduate studies with social events, lectures and workshops, and professional development sessions during the week-long event.

Caltech Y

For more than 100 years, the Caltech Y has enriched the lives of Caltech students through a wide variety of programs and services that are initiated and led by students. As part of its mission to broaden students' worldviews and raise social, ethical, and cultural awareness through teamwork, community engagement, activism, and leadership, the Y supplements and complements the excellent academics of Caltech by offering co-curricular events and activities for all campus members. The Caltech Y is an independent 501c3 organization recognized by and formally affiliated with the Institute.

The Athenaeum

The Athenaeum's entry archway surrounded by palms and plants.

The Athenaeum, known informally as "the Ath," is a private club that was founded on campus in 1930 to promote social, cultural, and intellectual exchange. Today, the Athenaeum has more than 4,000 members, including Caltech faculty, trustees, alumni, senior administrators, researchers, undergraduates and graduate students, members of the Associates of the California Institute of Technology, JPL employees, community leaders, and more. The Ath's building and grounds offer members and their guests convenient settings for formal and informal dining, meetings, or private parties.

Astronomy Outreach

Caltech's astronomers have created a robust outreach program for both lovers of the night sky and those who have yet to discover the joy of stargazing. The Stargazing Lecture Series on Friday nights takes place on the athletic fields adjacent to the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics and allows visitors to look through telescopes at the sights of the universe. For those who like to pair a beer and fries with planets and stars, Caltech's Astronomy on Tap events can provide a more casual opportunity to learn about the cosmos and the interesting research being done in astrophysics.

Student Wellness Services (SWS)

The interior of Student Wellness Services.

Student Wellness Services is committed to supporting the health and emotional well-being of Caltech students. Services are available to all enrolled Caltech students and are not dependent on enrollment in any insurance plan. SWS offers support through health services specifically designed for the unique needs of Caltech’s students, counseling services that promote student success and emotional well-being, and occupational therapy services that teach students skills and strategies to improve their routines and habits.