This list of useful information is generated from postdocs for postdocs. If you have some useful information that you want to share with other postdocs please contact the CPA board.
Useful links for first days at Caltech
- Get ready before you arrive! Everything you need to know about moving to Caltech/California/the US.
- The International Office also provides useful information about relocation, employment, activities and spouses.
- Find your way on campus: map of Caltech.
- The Postdoctoral Scholars Office: the link between postdocs and the administration
- The Postdoc Handbook
- Caltech Postdoc Housing: available to postdocs during their first year at Caltech. There is usually a long waiting list so our advice: apply as early as possible (3-4 months before your start date).
Personal and professional development
- Human Resources postdoc specialists: the HR department has Postdoc Specialists, both for administrative matters (concerning your appointment) as well as for all matters regarding relocation, transition, and adjustments to the United States and Caltech. Contact them (even before you arrive at Caltech) and make sure you take advantage of this service!
- HR WorkLife Services
- Staff and Faculty Consultation Center: provides free-of-charge assessment, problem-solving, counseling, and/or referral services to Caltech employees and their families.
- Caltech classes: postdocs are eligible to attend any course taught at Caltech for free! If you think you would benefit by learning another area of science or that an extra language would be valuable for your career, see what's available at the office of the registrar (click on "course schedule"). To formally register for a course, you must first visit the office of the registrar to get a form and take this to the course instructor to be signed, then take this to the Dean of Students and to the Bursar for signatures and return it to the office of the registrar.
- Caltech Bike Lab website
- Guide to Bicycling in Pasadena and LA
- Transit Guide to LA
- Caltech personnel & postdocs receive Free Metro Pass for unlimited rides on all Metros, buses, and rail lines.
- Parking at Caltech: check the parking regulations and permits. To encourage biking and walking to work, Caltech offers 4 free daily parking permits each month to use in case bikers/walkers need to bring a vehicle onto Campus.
- Parking and Commuter Services (caltech.edu)
Resources for Postdocs with Families
- Parenting at Caltech (HR)
- Preschool Cooperative at Caltech
- Local Schools
- Resources through the Caltech Women's Club:
- Caltech International Spouses Club
- STEM for Families program
- Paid Parental leave for Postdocs
Caltech hosts student-led clubs in which postdocs can also get involved. Find a list of the clubs in the club directory.
Caltech has an athletics center. Postdocs can get a membership for a small monthly fee that will be deducted from their payroll. Find the membership fees here. To enable the membership, log in to Access Caltech under Self Service, select Gym Membership, and enroll with your Caltech UID (number on your Caltech card). Upon your first gym entry, you will have to present an identification document (CA driver's license or passport) and proof of vaccination.
Caltech hosts a music house for students. The music house, located at 305 South Hill Avenue, provides rooms for practicing music. In particular, they have rooms with pianos that can be used. If you want to gain access to the music house, please contact Hyesung Choe, provide your UID (number on your Caltech card), and mention that you are a postdoc and would like to gain access to the music house.
Furthermore, Caltech offers a wide variety of music groups in which postdocs can also participate. Find more details on Caltech Performing & Visual Arts.
Other recreational resources can be found here:
- Caltech Postdoctoral Association - Social Committee
- Caltech International Offices activities
- Caltech Athletics
- Caltech Community Garden Project
- Caltech Women's Club - social networking, parent resources, social events such as hiking and wine tasting. JPL postdocs are welcome as well.
- Caltech Master Calendar - calendar of events happening on campus every day
- Caltech Science Hikes
- Caltech Student Clubs
- Discount Tickets | Discount Tickets for Caltech
The Caltech Retirement Program for Postdocs
Caltech offers an Institute Base Plan to postdoctoral scholars paid by Caltech. Under this plan Caltech automatically begin contributing money to a plan account (via TIAA) in your name. Caltech contributes based on a percentage of your salary (typically 5% of gross pay), see Program Summary PDF here for more details. The plan has a 3-year graded vesting schedule as follow: 0% vested until 1 year of service, after 1 year: 33%, after 2 years: 66% and after 3 years: 100%. You can choose to invest in a variety of investment options through "TIAA Account Overview" on access.caltech.edu.
Fellowship stipends distributed by Caltech are not considered "salary" eligible for Institute contributions. Therefore, postdocs on a fellowship from external funds do not receive any contribution from Caltech towards a retirement plan. The section "TIAA Account Overview" will not be displayed on https://access.caltech.edu for postdocs that receive only a fellowship stipend from Caltech.
Create your spending plan: TIAA spending plan worksheet