Undergraduate Minor in
Control + Dynamical Systems

Undergraduate Option Rep

Prof. Aaron Ames

Undergraduate Option Manager

Carmen Nemer-Sirois

Control and Dynamical Systems Minor
Control and dynamical systems (CDS) may be pursued as a minor concentration by undergraduates who are taking degrees in science, mathematics, or engineering. The CDS minor is intended to supplement one of Caltech’s normal undergraduate degrees and is designed for students who wish to broaden their knowledge beyond their normal major or who may wish to pursue a graduate program involving control or dynamical systems. Students completing the minor requirements below in CDS will have the phrase “minor in control and dynamical systems” added to their transcripts and their graduating degree materials.

Minor Requirements

  1. Complete CDS 110 or CDS 131, and CDS 231 or CDS 232.
  2. Complete nine additional units in CDS courses, chosen from CDS 110, CDS 112, CDS 131, CDS 141, CDS 232, CDS 233, CDS 242, CDS 243, CDS 244.
  3. Complete a three-term senior thesis approved by the CDS faculty.

All CDS courses to be applied to fulfill the CDS minor requirements must be taken for grades, and students must obtain a grade of B or higher. The senior thesis requirement may be satisfied by completing a three-term senior thesis in the student’s major option but on CDS subject matter, with the approval of the thesis topic by the CDS option representative, or by taking CDS 90 abc. Courses that are used to satisfy the CDS minor cannot be used to satisfy course requirements in the major options, with the exception that CDS 110 may be used in EAS options where this is part of their requirements (e.g., ChE, EE, ME) and the senior thesis requirement may be used to satisfy requirements for major options that require a senior thesis. Courses taken as part of the CDS minor are counted toward the total 486 units needed for Institute graduation requirements. A typical course sequence would be to take either CDS 110 or CDS 232 in the junior year, followed by the remaining courses and the senior thesis in the senior year. Alternatively, it is possible to take all requirements in the senior year. In addition to the requirements above, CS 1 and CS 2 are highly recommended.


Undergraduate students are encouraged to seek research opportunities in the field of control and dynamical systems, whether in the Computing + Mathematical Sciences department, at JPL, or in other Caltech departments. In particular, upperclass students can pursue an Undergraduate Thesis (CDS 90), carried out under the supervision of a member of the Control + Dynamical Systems faculty (or other faculty as approved by the option representative). Students should also consider the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships) program. Please visit the SURF website for more information. The application deadline is typically in February. Students should begin talking with professors at least two months before the deadline.