Undergraduate Program

About | Admissions | Requirements by Option

The GPS undergraduate program is designed to provide its students with a thorough training in the geological and planetary sciences and, whenever possible, to integrate these studies with the core curriculum courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology that all students take during their first years at Caltech.

Active involvement in research, particularly during the summer, is encouraged for all of GPS's undergraduate students. For geologists, that research will include an emphasis on fieldwork, which the division believes provides the kind of firsthand experience with geological phenomena that cannot be fully gained in a classroom or laboratory.

Learning Outcomes in the GPS Division

The expectation for undergraduate students in the earth and planetary sciences in the GPS Division is that they will:

  1. have a basic understanding of the relevant scientific principles and observations,
  2. have the basic skills in geology, physics, chemistry, or biology to  address problems in this science,
  3. be able to communicate  this scientific knowledge to scientists and the public, and
  4. have had experience in doing research.

Undergraduate students can pursue one of the following five options (an option is Caltech's version of a major): geobiology, geochemistry, geology, geophysics, or planetary science. Students also have access to a variety of elective courses that allow them to develop and explore special interests in a broad array of scientific and engineering fields.

If you have a facility for the basic sciences and a compelling curiosity about the earth and other planets—and especially if you enjoy grappling with complex problems involving many variables—you're likely to find your niche in GPS. To apply for admission, visit undergraduate admissions.