Caltech Wave Fellows

Opportunity Description:

The WAVE Fellows program supports this goal by increasing visibility and accessibility to Caltech's PhD programs to undergraduates in STEM fields who are seriously considering attending graduate school. WAVE Fellows is a 10-week undergraduate research program that provides robust programming in the areas of academic and professional development.

  • Applicants will identify several possible mentors with whom they are interested in working.
  • Once accepted, Fellows will work with their mentor to define and develop a research project.
  • Fellows will carry out the work over a 10-week period during the summer and submit two interim reports, a research abstract, and final paper. At the conclusion of the program, students give an oral or poster presentation at one of several Seminar Days, symposia modeled on a professional technical meeting.

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, effective writing and oral communications, and other topics of interest to future researchers
  • Effective writing workshops
  • Social and cultural activities
  • Weekly small student-faculty dinners
  • Special field trips

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

WAVE Fellows must:

  • Be current sophomores, juniors, or non-graduating seniors*
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2/4.0
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have DACA status
  • Have an interest in pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Have prior research experience
  • Not be under any academic or disciplinary sanction

* Students need to be matriculated in a degree-granting undergraduate program. High school students who are co-enrolled in college courses are not eligible.

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 interim reports approved by the mentors
  • To submit an abstract of their project approved by the mentor
  • To submit a written technical report approved by the mentor
  • To give a final presentation on one of the scheduled seminar day symposia
  • To attend weekly WAVE Fellow meetings
  • To abide by Caltech's Honor Code

Compensation changes from year to year, but is generally somewhere from $5,000 - $10,000.

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. The application includes:

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

The application deadline is usually January 9th. 

For more information on this opportunity, please contact: