Graduate Program Philosophy

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The philosophy of the graduate programs in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering is based on three central concepts: flexibility, diversity, and quality. They all derive from the special qualities of Caltech, a small institution with a streamlined organization, is focused on curiosity-driven research, that generates scientific impact far out of proportion to its size.

Flexibility governs the organization of our graduate programs. Students come here from different backgrounds and with different strengths and interests. The intimacy of our programs and the small number of formal degree requirements allow us to accommodate this breadth and to meet the needs of each student.

Diversity describes the backgrounds and research interests of our students and faculty. Knowledge of biology is expanding at an exponential pace, and this creates new subfields that were unknown a decade ago. Some of the most exciting opportunities for insights occur at the interface with other disciplines. With the diverse interests of the division faculty and the excellent resources that allow us to pursue interdisciplinary research, Caltech provides an outstanding environment for innovation.

Quality refers to the excellence of our faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students. Caltech's Biology and Biological Engineering faculty is composed of internationally recognized research leaders. Students and postdoctoral fellows who have demonstrated outstanding ability in research and scholarship come to Caltech to advance their education. Many of our students have gone on to become leaders in their fields all over the world.

These core ideals—flexibility, diversity, and quality—are simple and also effective. According to U.S. News & World Report's 2013 rankings for the Best Graduate Schools, Caltech ranks in the top five for the biological sciences. Caltech is also recognized by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences Survey of 2006-7 as being ranked in the top five graduate programs in Biology, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Caltech as a whole has been ranked top university in the world for two years running