Caltech Makes the Grade Again, Ranked Number 12 in Nation’s Best Universities Ranking

Published : Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | 5:06 AM

Caltech's 2018 graduating class just prior to last year's commencement. Photo by Bill Youngblood for Caltech.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena has been ranked again as one of the top universities in the United States, according to a list of the 50 best national universities released by U.S. News and World Report.

Caltech is listed as No. 12 in the National Universities ranking of the publication’s 2020 Best Colleges, which lists schools that offer “a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and are committed to producing groundbreaking research.” The Pasadena-based university was in a tie with Dartmouth College, a private institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, the listing showed.

Of the top 20 universities in the list, three are California schools. The other two are Stanford University at No. 6, and UCLA at No. 20.

Other California schools in the top 50 include USC and UC Berkeley at No. 22, UC Santa Barbara at No. 34, UC Irvine at No. 36, UC San Diego at No. 37, and UC Davis at No. 39.

The 2020 rankings include the overall best national universities rankings, as well as rankings for the best liberal-arts colleges, the top public schools, the best value schools and more.

For the rankings, U.S. News and World Report made some changes to help prospective students with their college search. A new set of rankings looks at the top performers in social mobility, evaluating which schools best serve underrepresented students. The 2020 methodology also factors in which schools support first-generation college students through graduation.

A total of 1,400 colleges are included in the 2020 rankings. The publication says that 90 percent of those reading the best-colleges list are looking for schools outside the top 10.

“For more than three decades, we’ve collected and analyzed data on thousands of colleges and universities across the country and helped put schools on the map,” Kim Castro, U.S. News Editor and Chief Content Officer, said in a statement. “We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation. They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”

Overall, Princeton University once again stayed in the No.1 spot in the rankings, followed by Harvard University. UCLA was the No. 1 public school and Williams College was the top liberal-arts college.

To know more about the methodology, visit

Caltech is a private institution founded in 1891, now with a total undergraduate enrollment of 948. Its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 124 acres.

Caltech utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar which focuses on science and engineering. Social and academic life at Caltech centers on the eight student houses, which the school describes as “self-governing living groups.” Student houses incorporate an admired Caltech tradition: dinners served by student waiters.

Only freshmen are required to live on campus, but more than 80 percent of students remain in their house for all four years. Integral to student life is the Honor Code, which dictates that “No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community.”

In addition to its undergraduate studies, Caltech offers top graduate programs in engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics and physics.

Caltech participates in a significant amount of research, receiving grants from institutions such as NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services, among others.

For more information about Caltech, visit
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