WAVE Fellows Program at Caltech – Apply by Jan. 10th!


Caltech is committed to promoting diversity within its educational programs and activities and strives to ensure that differing cultural, ethnic, social, geographic, and economic perspectives are represented.  Caltech’s WAVE Fellows Program aims to foster diversity by increasing the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering Ph.D. programs and making Caltech’s programs more visible and accessible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. The program is extended, but not limited, to underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation college students, geographically underrepresented students,  educationally or financially disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.

All applicants will be considered without regard to race or gender.

WAVE Fellows receive payments of $600/week. Payments will be distributed in equal installments twice over the summer. Fellows also receive a $500 housing allowance. Caltech housing is available and we strongly encourage all Fellows to live on campus.

In addition to the research experience, WAVE Fellows will participate in:

  • Weekly seminars by Caltech faculty & JPL scientists and engineers
  • An academic and professional development series on developing a research career, graduate school admissions, and other topics of interest to future researchers
  • Various social and cultural activities
  • Weekly small student-faculty dinners
  • Special field trips


WAVE Fellows must

  • Be current sophomores, juniors, or non-graduating seniors
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2/4.0
  • Complete the second semester or third quarter at your college or university
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have an interest in pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Have prior research experience
  • Not be under any academic or disciplinary sanction

Upon receiving a WAVE Fellowship, students sign an agreement to fulfill the following requirements:

  • To submit a project plan by May 15 following collaboration with the mentor
  • To devote full effort to conducting the research project (Fellows cannot take courses or hold another job.)
  • To submit two progress reports approved by their mentors
  • To submit an abstract of their project
  • To submit a written technical report approved by the mentor
  • To give an oral presentation on one of the scheduled seminar day symposia
  • To attend weekly WAVE Fellow meetings
  • To abide by Caltech’s Honor Code


Please read all sections of this page before you begin the application process!

Students apply for the WAVE Fellows Program by submitting an online application. Applicants must also request three letters of recommendation from faculty in relevant disciplines or former research mentors. Students must also upload an unofficial transcript.

Applications will be evaluated by Caltech faculty, which will select prospective fellows from the applicant pool. Selected students will be matched with a mentor. Fellowships will be offered when the match has been confirmed.

Students awarded a WAVE fellowship will be required to submit a project plan after consultation and collaboration with the mentor. The submission of the project plan and fellowship forms by the deadlines will constitute acceptance of the award.

All application documents will be submitted directly to the SFP Online system. Applications are due on or before January 10.  The application includes:

  • An online application
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty (at least two in the relevant discipline)
  • The applicant’s unofficial transcript.


Recommendation requests are completed online with the application form. The online application will request recommender contact information from the student. The recommender will then be emailed directly and asked to submit his or her recommendation into the online system. Students are required to submit three letters of recommendation. At least two must be from faculty members in the relevant fields. Recommendations are also due on January 10th so submit your recommender information well in advance.


Students are required to submit an unofficial transcript through the online application form.

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Student has sufficient academic preparation to undertake a research project at Caltech/JPL
  • Student’s prior research experience
  • Application provides a clear description of the student’s research interests, what the student has done to foster his/her interests, and student’s academic and career goals
  • References are supportive
  • Student’s research interests are aligned with those of a mentor at Caltech or JPL
  • Student is interested in pursuing a Ph.D.

Notification of awards will be sent on a rolling basis in early March. Students will receive e-mail notification of the outcome of their applications.



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