MIT vs Caltech University 2025: The best Comparisons |Differences & Similarities

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology should be inclusive when mentioning the top world’s best science and technology universities.

This is because the two universities are exceptionally renowned as the most prestigious technological institutes in America and the world.

That is why most students determined to build careers in science, technology or its related field find it challenging to make a pick from the two.

Regarding that, this article is a complete MIT vs Caltech Guide. You will learn the difference and similarities between the two universities.

The table of contents below will guide you to navigate through the article.

About Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a prestigious private research institution Established in 1861, with specializations in science and technology. The university’s mission is to foster science, exploration, and creativity.

MIT is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a community in its own right just north of Boston.

Why study in Massachusetts Institute of Technology?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one university that has many unique features that are rarely found in some universities. That tells you that studying in such a school will give you a lot of leverages and head-start over other students in other schools.

Aside from 77 university alumni coming out as Nobel Prize Winners, the university is renowned as a world-leading university in the science and technology field.

Other outstanding qualities about the university that serves as tangible reasons for any student to choose it as its study destination include:

  • The university has excellent stellar academic records.
  • The university has a dorm culture rarely found in other universities. Students can select which dorms they want to live in, and every dorm is unique to a certain niche of MIT.
  • The university has pass or no-record for freshmen because they want everyone to do well.
  • Also, MIT has top-notch faculty. In fact, it’s one of the best in the United States.

Related Article: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Scholarships

About Caltech

The California Institute of Technology—commonly named Caltech—is a highly prestigious, private academic institution based in Pasadena, California.

Founded in 1891, Caltech specializes in research, engineering, and technology. The institution runs several major research facilities and astronomical observatories and has produced 38 Nobel Laureates.

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A small university, Caltech has a total enrollment of 2,237 students, including 938 undergrads; it’s also home to 300 faculty members.

Why study in Caltech?

For years now, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has been the top World University Rankings because of its outstanding academic performance. The side has bagged up to 32 Nobel Laureates in the space of 123 years.

Aside from that, the university has other features that distinguished it from another university. And with these features, any student who graduates from the university will have a lot to brag about with.

Some of these features include:

  • Exceptional student experience. Considering the small size of the university and its overall student-faculty ratio of 3:1, students get the best. They can fully immerse themselves in the university’s research culture, and gain close access to star professors.
  • The university provides academic interdisciplinarity.
  • Undergraduate students get real research opportunities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology vs California Institute of Technology: Location

MIT Location

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Caltech Location

Caltech is based in Pasadena, California, about 11 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Pasadena offers a suburban setting and has a population of approximately 140,000 people.

MIT vs Caltech: Size

In terms of size, Caltech is slightly smaller than MIT, with less than 1,000 undergraduates against MIT’s 4,600. However, the classes are of comparable sizes; the student to faculty ratios are also 3:1, and the number of classes of less than 20 students is about 70 percent at each school.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology vs California Institute of Technology: Academics

Caltech and MIT are good in technology and engineering programs, each primarily offering bachelor’s and doctorate.

Let’s discuss them indivdually!

MIT Academics

MIT has five schools from which students aspiring to study in the university can choose from. The schools include:

  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • School of Engineering
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • School of Science

Moreso, the university majors in courses like biological engineering, computer science, and physics. They further provide programs in fields outside of STEM — Ancient and Medieval Studies, Writing, Literature, and Music, to name a few.

Caltech Academics

On the flip side, Caltech has six schools or divisions students aspiring to study in the university can choose from. The divisions are in:

  • Biology and Biological Engineering
  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Geological and Planetary Sciences
  • The Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy

Note, in these divisions are 28 majors. Some majors outside STEM fields include English, History, and Philosophy.

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MIT Vs Caltech: Admission

Both MIT and Caltech have very poor acceptance rates. MIT’s is 7 percent, while Caltech’s is a fraction smaller at 6 percent.

This means that only six or seven out of every 100 students who apply can get admitted to each school. Therefore, to boost your odds of getting into either Caltech or MIT, you’ll need to have an excellent submission, with a high GPA and good test scores.

Both are similarly serious. The normal GPA of applicants is 4.19 at Caltech and 4.17 at MIT.

Concerning government-sanctioned grades, Caltech’s midpoints are imperceptibly higher than those at MIT, considering MIT’s higher rankings.

At Caltech, the normal SAT and ACT scores are 1545 and 36, respectively. At MIT, the normal SAT score is 1535 and the normal ACT score is 35.

Student-Faculty Ratio

Student-faculty ratios show how many students there are per professor at a university. However, lower ratios mean that there are fewer students for any professor and are also healthier because they guarantee you’ll have enough one-on-one time for more of your professors.

Both Caltech and MIT have extremely respectable 3:1 student-faculty ratios, meaning there are just three students per professor at each school.

MIT Vs Caltech: Tuition Fees/ Costs

Caltech and MIT cost nearly the same amount: while Caltech is $56,892 per year, MIT is $53,790.

Though the money looks big, they both offer pretty decent financial assistance; but, MIT offers a superior financial plan overall in that it only gives out student loans as part of your financial aid package if your family earns more than $90,000.

Meanwhile, Caltech gives away a mix of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study, so it’s likely that you’ll graduate with a bit of debt from here.

Accommodation

About 73 percent of MIT undergraduate students live on campus. Others reside in sororities, fraternities, and private housing communities.

Students living on campus share their homes with professor families, who serve as heads of home. There are also residential student councils, which promote educational, sporting, and educational activities.

Meanwhile, Caltech, a larger percentage of 94% of their students live in the university’s premises. The school promotes a supportive atmosphere, wherein students may select from 11 homes, each with its own traditions, with peers from each class year. There are plenty of events to engage in such residences too.

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MIT vs Caltech: Finanical Aid

Caltech and MIT all have high sticker prices: $77,718 and $73,160 respectively. However, they are also need-blind and satisfy 100 percent of shown need.

Although no school provides merit-based scholarships, students can also qualify for scholarships from outside organizations.

One distinction is that MIT is no-loan for households with earnings under $90,000. This ensures the borrowers won’t receive grants as part of their financial help programs.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology vs California Institute of Technology: Ranking

Top-ranking platforms rank differently the both universities. Looking that their rankings according to 2025 QS World University Ranking, they are ranked:

MIT

  • Ranked first in the world overall
  • Ranked fourth by graduate employers and fifth by academics
  • 15th for faculty/student ratio
  • Seventh for research impact (citations per faculty member)
  • 43rd in the world for percentage of international faculty members, and 87th for international students

Caltech

  • Ranked fifth in the world overall
  • Ranked 74th by graduate employers and 23rd by academics
  • Fourth for faculty/student ratio
  • Fourth for research impact (citations per faculty member)
  • 72nd in the world for percentage of international faculty members, 121st for international students.

According to Time Higher Education ranking:

  • 2nd in the World University Rankings 2025
  • 12th in World Reputations Ranking
  • 9th in Academic Ranking of World Universities.

MIT vs Caltech: Alumni

You would like to know the different between MIT and Caltech alumni profiles!

Alumni at MIT

MIT has a four-year graduation record of 84% with the average starting salary of MIT alumni of $70,300. 

Over 53%of MIT graduates have gone on to the workforce, while 41 percent are in grad school, and the rest is doing fellowships or taking time off to travel. However, 

MIT graduates work for companies around the globe in fields, especially in tech. Some even work for reputable companies such as Apple, Google Facebook, Accenture, McKinsey and Company, Microsoft, Boston, and lots more.

Caltech Alumni

Caltech has a four-year graduation record of 84 percent and the annual starting pay for alumni of $68,400.

60% of Caltech graduates directly job, while 35 percent attend graduate school preceding the conclusion of their Bachelor’s. 

Which one is Better?

Deciding between two of the most prestigious institutes of technology in the country is challenging. There are some notable variations between Caltech and MIT, though.

Both universities are on opposite coasts and offer dramatically different climates.

At MIT, you’ll feel all four seasons, including sometimes bitterly cold winters. At Caltech, you will get a city atmosphere, too, though Pasadena is more like a suburb.

MIT’s student population is over four times the size of Caltech’s, too. Although it’s not massive by any stretch, it’s sizable compared with its West Coast equivalent. Plus, there are several other colleges nearby, another comparison with Caltech.

Finally, the layout of the academic programs is a little different. Although both schools are STEM-focused and do not offer BAs, MIT has a wider range of non-STEM programs.

Caltech, in comparison, provides only a couple of non-STEM classes, and in most cases, they’re meant for students who wish to extend their expertise to various fields. Caltech also has stricter specifications.

Ultimately, you’re bound to obtain a stellar education at any level, but it’s important to note that they’re not all mirror copies of one another located on opposite coasts.

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Bottom Line

At opposite ends of the U.S., Massachusetts and California Institute of Technology deliver cutting-edge training programs for the world’s most accomplished students.

Both are located near big, thriving cities and are recognised internationally for their contributions to science and technology.

For clarity, the table below summarizes the similarities and differences between MIT and CALtech:

universities.

  Caltech MIT
Location Pasadena, CA Cambridge, MA
Public or Private? Private Private
Part of Ivy League? No No
Undergrad Enrollment 938 4,361
US News Ranking 9 4
Niche Grade A+ A+
Acceptance Rate 6% 7%
Average GPA 4.19 4.17
Average SAT/ACT Score SAT: 1545
ACT: 36
SAT: 1535
ACT: 35
Tuition & Fees $56,892 $53,790
Student-Faculty Ratio 3:1 3:1
Acceptance Rate 6% 75
# of Schools/Colleges 6 academic divisions 6 schools/colleges
No. of Majors 28 56
Most Popular Majors Engineering, math, biology Engineering, comp sci, math
# of Student Clubs 100+ 450+
Sports NCAA Division III NCAA Division III
Median Starting Salary $83,200 $82,300
Overall Reputation A renowned technological university known for its scientific research, selectivity, and intimate student body An extremely prestigious technological university with top-quality academics, professors, and research

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