The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) only has about 1,000 undergraduate students at any given time, but still boasts an impressive list of 34 Nobel Laureates and 58 National Medal of Science recipients. With such a small class size, Caltech is ultra-selective and only admits those with a deep understanding of their given subject.
In order for a prospective student to demonstrate his or her dedication to a subject, IvyZen recommends that students choose a theme to build their applications around. In choosing a theme, it is wise to consider the course and major offerings at Caltech, especially the newer or less obvious choices, which are increasingly available. Here are some of the more novel selections available at Caltech:


According to the department’s course catalog, “bioengineering research at Caltech focuses on the application of engineering principles to the analysis, manipulation, design, and construction of biological systems, and on the discovery and application of new engineering principles inspired by the properties of biological systems. Areas of research emphasis include: bioimaging, bioinspired design, biomechanics, biomedical devices, cell and tissue engineering, molecular medicine, molecular programming, synthetic biology, and systems biology.”
Students of Bioengineering may take courses such as Design Principles of Genetic Circuits, which provides students with qualitative studies of cellular and developmental systems such as the architecture of specific genetic circuits that control microbial behaviors. Also available is Biomolecular Computation, in which students “explore programmability, complexity, simulation of and reasoning about abstract models of chemical reaction networks, molecular folding, and molecular self-assembly.” Additionally, Design and Construction of Biodevicesis a course designed to give students hands on experience designing and building biosensing systems.

Business, Economics & Management

This cross-disciplinary major gives students all the basic tools they need to function in a modern business environment, while also providing a springboard to pursue more specialized studies later on. This degree is great by itself but students also have the option to combine this major with another one related to engineering or science to suit their entrepreneurial ambitions.
Students pursuing this major can take classes such as Market Design, which covers the basic principles underlying the design process, as well as the practical considerations that arise when designing markets. Also available is Venture Capital, which teaches students the underlying economic principles and theoretical models relevant to the venture investment process. And finally, students can study Competitive Strategy, which helps students formulate strategies to be implemented in a competitive environment.

Applied and Computational Mathematics

According to the catalog, “the undergraduate option in applied and computational mathematics seeks to address the interests of those students who want to combine their basic studies in mathematics with considerable involvement in applications.” The program is designed to provide students with the foundation they need in mathematics while simultaneously giving students the freedom to pursue applications such as fluid mechanics, materials science, and mathematical biology, engineering applications, image processing, and mathematical finance.
Students of this major have a multitude of courses with world class professors. These courses include offerings such as Introduction to Stochastic Processes and Modeling, Topics in Convexity, and Numerical Methods for PDEs, which promises to teach students finite difference and finite volume methods for hyperbolic problems.

Want to go to Caltech?

If you’ve read about our Hedgehog strategy, then you should know that your college application depends on having a great theme, which you can learn about here.
To develop a convincing and comprehensive theme, a student must have the right extracurricular activities to support it.  Without these activities, a theme will seemed forced or fake.
To gain admission at a top school, also make sure that you’re not under the illusion of any Ivy League Myths.
Also, read about Debbie’s success story to see how she gained admittance to Caltech.

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