There are several types of appointments for non-degree visiting students. These include:
- Special Student - These are visiting students who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program elsewhere and require academic transfer credit from Caltech, and/or who will be paid a stipend through the Caltech payroll system. Special students are eligible for Caltech benefits as defined by their enrollment status. Special Students who receive a stipend will be billed for tuition and fees and tuition remission will apply for any student paid on a grant. Special students who do not receive a Caltech stipend will be billed the minimum tuition and fees rate (rates vary each year, but are the equivalent to three units of tuition). Special student appointments are allowed for one year, renewable each year up to a maximum of three years.
- Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) - A Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) is not eligible to receive academic credit, cannot be paid a stipend, and does not have an official "academic" standing at Caltech. VSR's are also strongly urged to provide proof of insurance for the duration of the visit, since they are not eligible for Caltech benefits. VSR's may be reimbursed for research-related expenses, but will not be eligible to receive a stipend through payroll. Examples of research-related expenses include travel and equipment, but not lodging, meals, per-diem or other expenses related to the cost of living in Pasadena. This status is limited to short-term visits of one year or less, with no extensions.
- Exchange Programs - Some academic options and divisions have official exchange programs. Exchange participants must have a visiting student appointment (Special Student or VSR) and the type of appointment will depend on the agreement negotiated for that exchange program. These programs are administered by the academic option or division.
- JPL/Caltech Staff Education - Employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Caltech can take graduate-level courses for credit, which can be transferred to another college or university. Courses taken under the staff education program carry tuition charges and cannot be applied towards a Caltech degree. The application form can be downloaded here.
Other Visitor Appointments
- Visitors who hold advanced degrees are not eligible for the student category. These appointments are handled through the Academic Divisions and Human Resources.
- Postdoctoral visitor appointments are handled through the Academic Divisions and Postdoctoral Scholars Office.
- Undergraduate students visiting for a summer research program (SURF, VURP, WAVE, LIGO, Amgen, etc.) are handled through Student Faculty Programs. All other undergraduate visiting requests are handled through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
- Volunteers or visitors. These are unpaid appointments, but for liability purposes all visitors should be registered with the Institute. These are handled through the Academic Divisions and Human Resources.