Caltech’s Ranking: A Small Institute with a Large Impact

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of Caltech building

Caltech’s Ranking: A Small Institute with a Large Impact

The California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, may be small in size, but its impact on the world of academia, science, and engineering is monumental. Caltech’s ranking has consistently placed it among the top global universities, garnering attention for its groundbreaking research, distinguished faculty, and highly accomplished student body.

In a world where university rankings often reflect an institution’s reputation and influence, Caltech’s ranking is a testament to its dedication to excellence and its unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Understanding the factors that contribute to Caltech’s ranking can provide valuable insights into what sets this institution apart from its peers. From its interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching to its entrepreneurial spirit, Caltech has managed to create an environment that nurtures innovation and discovery.

In this blog post, we delve deep into Caltech’s ranking, examining the various aspects that contribute to its consistently high position and exploring the characteristics that make this renowned institution stand out in the highly competitive world of higher education.

Overview of Caltech

The California Institute of Technology, commonly known as Caltech, is a prestigious private research university located in Pasadena, California. Founded in 1891 as Throop University, it underwent several transformations before adopting its current name in 1920. Known for its exceptional faculty, world-class research facilities, and commitment to innovation, Caltech has made its mark in the global higher education landscape, despite its relatively small size.

Caltech’s primary focus is on science and engineering, and its academic structure comprises six divisions that cover a wide range of disciplines, including Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Engineering and Applied Science, Geological and Planetary Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. Its intimate campus, which accommodates around 2,200 students, fosters a close-knit, collaborative environment in which students work alongside their peers and professors on pioneering research projects.

One of the walkways in Caltech campus

One of Caltech’s most renowned research facilities is the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which operates under a contract with NASA and serves as a center for robotic exploration of the solar system. JPL has been instrumental in numerous groundbreaking space missions, including the Mars rover missions and the Voyager spacecraft.

Caltech’s faculty boasts an impressive array of accolades, including numerous Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, and MacArthur Fellows, among others. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, students benefit from personalized attention and mentorship from some of the world’s leading scientists and researchers.

Caltech’s commitment to excellence is also evident in its admissions process, which attracts some of the brightest and most talented students from across the globe. Its rigorous curriculum and focus on problem-solving ensure that graduates are well-prepared to excel in their chosen fields, whether it be academia, industry, or entrepreneurship.

In summary, Caltech is a prestigious research institution known for its exceptional faculty, cutting-edge research facilities, and commitment to innovation in the fields of science and engineering. Its small size, interdisciplinary approach, and emphasis on collaboration have helped create an environment where intellectual curiosity and groundbreaking discoveries thrive, making Caltech one of the world’s top universities.

What is the Ranking of Caltech?

What is the ranking of Caltech? The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, is consistently ranked among the top universities worldwide. Caltech’s ranking is a testament to the institution’s dedication to excellence in research, teaching, and innovation.

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Despite its small size, Caltech has made a significant impact on the fields of science, engineering, and academia, attracting students and faculty members from around the globe. Various organizations evaluate and rank universities based on different factors, and Caltech consistently features prominently in these rankings.

U.S. News & World Report

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings, Caltech holds the 9th position among National Universities in the United States and 10th for the Best Value Schools. This prestigious ranking showcases Caltech’s commitment to academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and fostering a culture of innovation and discovery.

U.S. News & World Report evaluates universities based on a variety of factors, which include academic excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, and financial resources. Caltech’s impressive performance in these criteria contributed to its high ranking.

The institution’s strong faculty-to-student ratio, for instance, ensures that students receive personalized attention and mentorship from world-renowned researchers and educators, while its significant financial resources guarantee that students and faculty have access to cutting-edge facilities and technologies for their research endeavors.

Furthermore, Caltech’s outstanding graduation and retention rates demonstrate the university’s ability to provide a challenging and engaging educational experience, preparing students to excel in their chosen fields. Caltech’s rigorous admissions process attracts top-tier students from across the globe, resulting in a highly accomplished and diverse student body. The university’s emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration within its science and engineering programs prepares graduates for successful careers in academia, industry, and entrepreneurship.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

In the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, Caltech holds the 6th position worldwide and 7th in the US College Rankings 2022. This esteemed ranking is a testament to the institution’s dedication to academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and a vibrant, collaborative environment that fosters innovation and discovery.

THE World University Rankings evaluates universities based on five key factors: teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income. Each of these elements is weighted differently to produce an overall score, which is then used to rank institutions worldwide.

Caltech’s exceptional performance in research, citations, and teaching contributed significantly to its strong position in these rankings. The university’s world-class faculty, renowned for their groundbreaking work in their respective fields, plays a crucial role in Caltech’s outstanding reputation for teaching. The institution’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research and close collaboration among students and faculty members results in high-impact research projects, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Moreover, Caltech’s impressive citation score highlights the influence of its research on the global scientific community. The institution consistently produces high-quality, innovative research that is widely recognized and cited by other researchers, demonstrating its contribution to the advancement of science and engineering.

Caltech’s international outlook, another key factor considered in the THE rankings, is reflected in its diverse student and faculty population, which represents over 60 countries. This diversity fosters a vibrant, inclusive environment that encourages collaboration, the exchange of ideas, and the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

QS World University Rankings

In the 2023 QS World University Rankings, Caltech secured the 6th position globally. This prestigious ranking highlights the institution’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and a thriving environment that fosters innovation and collaboration across disciplines.

The QS World University Rankings assess institutions based on several key factors, including academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, and international faculty and student ratios. Each factor carries a specific weight in determining the overall score, which is then used to rank universities worldwide.

Caltech’s impressive performance in the QS rankings is primarily attributed to its strong academic and employer reputation. The university is renowned for its world-class faculty, who are recognized leaders in their respective fields of science and engineering.

Their dedication to teaching and research, combined with their groundbreaking discoveries, contributes to Caltech’s exceptional reputation among both academic peers and employers, who recognize the value of a Caltech education.

Additionally, Caltech’s high citations per faculty score demonstrate the significant impact of its research on the global scientific community. The institution’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative research projects leads to the production of high-quality research that is frequently cited by other scholars, highlighting its contributions to the advancement of knowledge in various scientific and engineering fields.

Another notable aspect of Caltech’s ranking in the QS World University Rankings is its excellent faculty-student ratio. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, Caltech ensures that students receive personalized attention and mentorship from renowned researchers and educators, fostering an environment that nurtures intellectual curiosity and critical thinking.

Caltech’s ranking showcases an unwavering commitment to providing world-class education and fostering a culture of innovation and discovery. Its consistently high rankings are attributable to its renowned faculty, exceptional student body, interdisciplinary approach to research, and generous financial support for research endeavors.

Caltech’s prestigious standing in the global higher education landscape is an affirmation of its ongoing dedication to academic excellence and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Why Do College Rankings Matter?

College rankings matter for Caltech as they serve as an indicator of the institution’s reputation, academic excellence, and research achievements within the global higher education landscape.

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As a relatively small university with a focus on science and engineering, Caltech’s consistently high rankings across various platforms demonstrate the impact it has made despite its size. Caltech’s ranking can influence various aspects of the institution, including student enrollment, faculty recruitment, research funding, and industry partnerships.

Attracting top students: High rankings help Caltech attract the most talented and driven students from around the world. Prospective students consider university rankings as an important factor when choosing where to apply, as they seek institutions that offer a rigorous education and a strong foundation for their future careers. Caltech’s high rankings signal its commitment to academic excellence and the success of its graduates, making it an attractive destination for ambitious students.

Faculty recruitment and retention: Rankings also play a critical role in attracting and retaining renowned faculty members. Top researchers and educators are more likely to join and remain at institutions with a strong reputation, ample research funding, and a collaborative environment. Caltech’s ranking helps the institute to recruit and retain some of the world’s leading scientists and engineers, further strengthening its commitment to cutting-edge research and quality education.

Research funding and partnerships: College rankings can also influence research funding and partnerships with industry leaders. High-ranking institutions like Caltech are often more successful in securing grants and research funding, as their reputation indicates a strong track record of innovative and impactful research. Additionally, industry partners are more likely to collaborate with well-ranked institutions, opening doors to joint research initiatives and providing students with valuable internship and job opportunities.

View of a student talking to a person wearing a suit.


Alumni network and connections: Caltech’s ranking contributes to a strong and influential alumni network. Graduates from top-ranking institutions tend to be more successful in their careers and maintain a connection with their alma mater, creating a powerful network that current students can tap into for mentorship, career advice, and networking opportunities.

Prestige and recognition: College rankings play a role in shaping public perception of an institution’s quality and prestige. Caltech’s consistently high rankings reinforce its status as a world-class institution, increasing its global recognition and impact on science, engineering, and academia.

College rankings matter for Caltech as they influence various aspects of the institution, including student enrollment, faculty recruitment, research funding, industry partnerships, and public perception. By maintaining its position among the top-ranked universities, Caltech ensures that it continues to attract the best students and faculty, secure necessary resources, and contribute to the advancement of human knowledge and innovation.

What is the Benefit of Caltech’s Ranking in College Application?

What is the benefit of Caltech’s ranking in college application? Caltech’s high ranking in various global university lists offers several benefits for prospective students during the college application process. These rankings serve as a reliable indicator of the institution’s commitment to academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and a collaborative environment that fosters innovation. By choosing a highly-ranked institution like Caltech, students can expect to reap multiple advantages throughout their academic journey and beyond.

Academic reputation: Caltech’s stellar rankings are indicative of its academic reputation, which is built upon the achievements of its world-renowned faculty and the accomplishments of its alumni. By applying to Caltech, prospective students signal their ambition to be part of a community that is dedicated to excellence in science and engineering.

Rigorous education and research opportunities: Caltech’s ranking reflects the institution’s commitment to providing a rigorous education and exposing students to cutting-edge research. Students at Caltech have the opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and engineers, gaining valuable research experience and honing their problem-solving skills.

Resources and facilities: High-ranking institutions like Caltech typically possess substantial financial resources, which they use to provide students and faculty with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. As a result, students at Caltech can benefit from access to top-tier laboratories, libraries, and research centers, enhancing their educational experience.

Group of students doing research in a room.

Networking and career opportunities: A degree from a highly-ranked institution like Caltech carries weight in the job market, often opening doors to prestigious internships and job opportunities. Furthermore, Caltech’s powerful alumni network spans various industries, providing graduates with valuable connections and support throughout their careers.

International exposure and diversity: Caltech’s high rankings also contribute to its diverse student body, attracting bright minds from around the world. This global community enriches the campus experience, encouraging students to broaden their perspectives and develop cross-cultural understanding.

Prestige and personal achievement: Pursuing a degree from a top-ranked institution like Caltech is a notable accomplishment that instills a sense of pride and achievement in students. A Caltech education demonstrates a student’s dedication to excellence and their ability to thrive in a challenging academic environment.

Financial aid and scholarships: Highly-ranked institutions like Caltech are often better equipped to provide generous financial aid packages and scholarships, enabling students from various socioeconomic backgrounds to access a world-class education without incurring significant debt.

The benefits of Caltech’s high ranking for college applicants are manifold. By applying to a top-ranked institution like Caltech, prospective students demonstrate their desire to be part of an esteemed academic community that values excellence, innovation, and collaboration. Furthermore, a Caltech education can open doors to prestigious career opportunities, facilitate personal growth, and provide access to a robust global network of alumni and connections.


Caltech’s consistently high ranking among global universities is a testament to its commitment to academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and a supportive, collaborative environment. With a renowned faculty, exceptional student body, and ample resources, Caltech continues to push the boundaries of human knowledge, making lasting contributions to science, engineering, and the world. As a small institution with a large impact, Caltech’s ranking is not just a reflection of its prestige, but also a recognition of its unwavering dedication to innovation and discovery.

Want to learn more about your chances of getting into Caltech? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.




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