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First-Year Application Requirements - Caltech Admissions
Applicants for graduate study in the astronomy option should be committed to a career in astronomy or astrophysics. Most incoming students should have a strong background in classical and quantum physics; previous exposure to astronomy is very helpful, but certainly not required for admission. We also encourage applications from students with weaker preparation in physics, but unusual backgrounds: recent graduate students in astronomy have included a chemistry major, a math major, and students who had worked in industry for several years before coming to Caltech. For those not native speakers of English: proficiency in English is essential. An exam in both written and spoken English must be passed before you can receive a teaching assistantship. You will not enjoy your courses or research if you cannot understand the lectures and seminars!
The Caltech campus is located in the pleasant city of , 10 miles northeast from downtown Los Angeles, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Caltech has a beautiful dominated by Spanish-style . There are approximately 1000 PhDs (300 faculty, 700 postdoctoral fellows), 1000 graduate students, and 800 undergraduates. The undergraduates major primarily in technical fields, but receive a broad education in the humanities as well, while graduate studies concentrate exclusively on science and engineering. Although a small school, Caltech offers a fair number of . A large number of and special-interest groups are supported by the school. Grad students participate in a variety of , ranging from competitive intercollegate club teams to highly non-competitive summer softball. Professional theatre and music groups visit campus regularly, and some 15% of the total student body performs regularly in the Caltech orchestra, chamber music program, Glee Club (choir), jazz band, wind ensemble, or musical theatre program.
Caltech supplements & personal essay — College Confidential
Telescopes at are used for both optical and astronomy. They include the , a 60-inch telescope, the 48-inch Oschin Schmidt telescope, The 200-inch telescope is famous for its role in cosmology and in the discovery of quasars and radio galaxies. Recently-developed instruments for the 200-inch telescope include optical and infrared array cameras for imaging and spectroscopy, and a state of the art adaptive optics system. The 60-inch are utilized for graduate thesis work, and the 60-inch is also available for independent student projects. The 48-inch Oschin Schmidt telescope, which conducted the celebrated Palomar Sky Survey in the 1950's, is now making a second complete survey of the northern sky. Both surveys are digitized, and the resulting data base will contain about 20 million galaxies and over 100 million stars. Caltech's includes the highly productive millimeter wave interferometer (six 10-meter telescopes), which operates at both 2.7mm and 1.3mm wavelengths, and is now incorporated into CARMA array in the White Mountains to the east of the valley. A high-precision 40-m radio telescope is used for VLBI and for microwave background and pulsar studies; a new 5-meter dish is optimized for microwave background work. The on Mauna Kea in Hawaii has a 10-meter telescope and superb instrumentation, opening new wavebands to astronomers studying the interstellar media of our own and external galaxies. A microwave background mapping interferometer is under construction. As at Palomar, students have ample opportunity to perform their own observations and develop new instrumentation.
If you need additional space, please explain using the upload function button below. Please do not attach a resume or upload research papers. Caltech will email you an application confirmation with information on how to upload research papers through your student portal.
Caltech Admissions: SAT Scores, Acceptance Rate, More
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