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Caltech Exchange

an academic exchange with Caltech, for a summer project.

The exchange scheme between St John's College and The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California allows two undergraduates nominated by St John's College to take part in the Caltech Exchange during the Long Vacation. Students who participate in this exchange programme are expected to work for ten full weeks. Caltech cannot accept students after their graduation, so finalists are not eligible to apply for the Caltech exchange programme.

** Please note that 3rd year Medicine students are not eligible to apply under Caltech's rules as they will have graduated by the time they go to Caltech.

Caltech seal

Programme Details

  • Subjects accepted: Almost all subjects in which there is an undergraduate science or engineering major and some in which there is only a graduate major provided a student has the background.

  • Caltech faculty recommend that students interested in highly theoretical areas such as astrophysics should now be in their third year to ensure that they have as much mathematical training as possible. For other areas, students now in their second or third year are fine (finalists will not be accepted).

  • Chemistry, geological and planetary sciences, biology and bioengineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering,computer science, etc. are all available research areas.

  • Student research projects are only limited by the research interests of the Caltech faculty and by faculty availability. Students do not have to have a project in mind, although it would be wise to check the faculty information and research fields of interest on the Caltech website.

  • Experimental, analytical, or observational projects are encouraged instead of theory projects.

Costs covered

  •  Caltech offers a stipend of approximately US $6,000.
  •  Travel,  visa and insurance expenses are covered for under the scheme by the College.


Caltech is advertised to students in the Michaelmas Term with a deadline in October.


'I knew I wanted to study abroad at Cambridge from the moment I heard about the Exchange Program at Caltech. Cambridge with all of its history and storied tradition of teaching was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up.

Cambridge is a true college town where so much of what happens in the city is centred on the students. The colleges themselves occupy the majority of the land in the city, so there are students and tourists alike everywhere you go on the streets.

Hundreds of clubs exist at Cambridge where there are others who share your interests. Whether you want to continue playing basketball or try out spelunking, it's all here. Cambridge has many small shops and cafes, some of the touristy kind but there are also those hidden gems (tucked away behind an alley that you never would have stumbled across if you hadn't chosen to tie your shoe that one day it was sunny outside) that you'll want to revisit again and again. The 31 colleges themselves are worth visiting and present a challenge for anyone wanting to visit all of them, let alone try to have formal at all of them. I particularly enjoyed attending formals because they are a wonderful way to see the other colleges and meet new people!

Cambridge is a beautiful place and studying in a city with so much history and tradition is an experience like no other. Having studied and lived at Cambridge for a term, I am so glad I came here!'

  - Eric Chang (in Cambridge October-December 2010)