The CMS department offers a variety of PhD programs. We offer disciplinary programs leading to the following degrees:
Graduate Options Administrator
Graduate Option Representatives
Applied and Computational Mathematics Option Representative
Computer Science Option Representative
Computing and Mathematical Sciences Option Representative
Control and Dynamical Systems Option Representative
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're unsure about which program is best for you, please feel free to apply to multiple programs. Also, note that it is possible to switch between programs once you arrive to Caltech. That said, each program has a specific goal. The ACM and CS programs are somewhat traditional PhD programs in Applied Math and Computer Science, while the CDS, and CMS programs are unique interdisciplinary programs meant to appeal to students interested in emerging areas at the boundaries of computing and mathematics. For example, our flagship program, the CMS program, is a unique, new program that provides students with a cross-cutting perspective on optimization, algorithms, learning, statistics, and networks.
Applications for the graduate program are due by December 15th. Late submissions are considered with a lower priority.
We traditionally do not offer a Master's degree as a terminal degree.
Visit the Graduate Admissions website in order to download or request an application. Complete instructions may be found there. Applications are due on December 15th for entry the following September. Also peruse this website for detailed information on the faculty and their research expertise; current graduate students; alumni; and general information about our department.
No. Our graduate programs are for full-time students only.
The PhD program requires a minimum of three academic years of residence. Most students complete the PhD program in four to six years.
In general, students offered admission to graduate study at Caltech are simultaneously offered a package of financial support that pays all tuition charges and provides them with a stipend. Financial support for graduate students comes in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantship, or some combination of fellowship and assistantship support. In most cases financial assistance is awarded on an annual basis, but there are also multi-year fellowships available. Applicants requesting additional information on financial assistance may contact the Office of Graduate Studies at (626) 395-6348.
No. The GRE is not required for application for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Students who hold a PhD degree from another institution are not normally admitted to graduate standing at Caltech to pursue a second PhD degree.
Applications for graduate studies are reviewed and evaluated for admission (and financial aid) each year starting on December 15th, after all credentials (including recommendation letters and official copies of test scores) have been received. The Graduate Admission Committee usually decides on admissions by the end of March.
Applications are encouraged from fields other than computer science or applied mathematics; however, applicants should be aware that our program is quite mathematically and scientifically oriented, and students are expected to catch up on their field of studies by the end of the first year. Students who hold a PhD degree from another institution are not normally admitted to graduate standing at Caltech to pursue a second PhD degree.
Applicants who experience financial hardship can apply for an application fee waiver. More information is available at Caltech's Graduate Office.
Fellowships And Financial Support
Each year, we award several graduate fellowships to our doctoral students. Fellowships usually provide full tuition and a substantial living-expense stipend for one academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring terms). The department also provides financial support for graduate students in the form of research assistantships and/or teaching assistantship. Note that admission and financial aid are considered separately; on rare occasions, some students may be admitted without financial aid. Visit the Financial Support page of the Graduate Admissions website for further information.
Applicants are also encouraged to secure financial support from outside sources, e.g. government fellowships, industry, etc. There are a number of outside fellowships available to U.S. citizens including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowships, the Office of Science Graduate Fellowships, to name a few.
For more general details on graduate studies at Caltech, visit the Caltech's Graduate Office.