Student Affairs  /  FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for Students

Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) will make every reasonable effort to provide academic adjustments and other reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with known disabilities, consistent with Caltech’s obligations under applicable law; including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Please see the CASS website for further details.

Caltech faculty members have a doctorate degree, along with many years of professional academic experience, and therefore have earned the right to be addressed as "Dr." Last-Name. Other casual names, such as "dude" or addressing professors by their first name can be insulting to some. Some professors prefer to be addressed by their first names, just wait for them to tell you when that's okay. If you're ever unsure, using "professor" is always a safe bet.

Also, when writing to a professor it's always best practice to take the professional approach and tone and use "Dr." Last-Name or "Prof." Last-Name. (Using "hey" as a salutation is best for text to friends.) Use your Caltech email. If Dr. Last-Name isn't responding to your email, besides being very busy, it could be that they don't respond to unknown email addresses for official Caltech business. Don't forget to proofread and check for spelling errors, too. Building this habit now will help you in your future professional career.

At Caltech, cooperation and collaboration, rather than competition, are the keys to success. The community is shaped and guided by the Honor System, which has been a crucial component of the Institute since its earliest days. The system encompasses a variety of practices and behaviors, but finds its purest expression in the Honor Code:
"No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community."

For undergraduate students, please see the Dean of Undergraduate Students website.

For graduate students, please see the Dean of Graduate Studies website.

If you need help with your Caltech card (including reporting a lost, stolen, or damaged card or requesting a replacement card), please submit your request using the IMSS help system to make sure it's properly recorded and tracked. Go to help.caltech.edu to submit a request. Further instructions can be found here.

All student clubs are required to register for recognition by submitting a club application annually. After review and approval by the Clubs Steering Committee, the club will be recognized as an active club for the current club term. The club term is October 1 - September 30. Please see the Clubs webpage for further details.

See the Office of the Registrar's website for further details. Electronic transcripts may be ordered online at Transcript Ordering Center.

FAQ for Parents

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (also sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.

According to FERPA, personally identifiable information in an education record may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Some examples of information that MAY NOT BE RELEASED without prior written consent of the student are:

  • birth date
  • religious affiliation
  • citizenship
  • disciplinary status
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • grade point average (GPA)
  • marital status
  • SSN/student I.D.
  • grades/exam scores
  • test scores (e.g., SAT, GRE, etc.)
  • progress reports, e.g. STARS

The Institute will not release personally identifiable information from a student's education record without the student's prior written consent. Even parents are not permitted access to their son or daughter's education records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting the parents' access. Exceptions are noted in the Institute's policy (printed in the Caltech Catalog) concerning the privacy of student education records.

For more information, please see the Office of the Registrar's website.

The Caltech Parents Program is dedicated to helping parents become active members of the Caltech community. We encourage parents to help in our work by furthering the mission of Caltech – as volunteers and donors – to support and enhance the undergraduate and graduate student experience that is uniquely Caltech.

Stay informed on all things Caltech - student life, athletics, scientific breakthroughs and much more! For more information please see the Caltech Parents website.