access.caltech Account Eligibility

IMSS policies regarding account access are guided by the Institute Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Information Resources.

IMSS provides computing services to current students, staff, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, retirees, visitors, volunteers and trustees of the California Institute of Technology. You must have a valid Caltech photo ID card with an associated UID number to request an individual account on IMSS systems.

IMSS does not provide accounts to alumni, members of the Caltech Associates, JPL staff members, families of Caltech students, faculty, and staff, or to local community members.

Please note that access.caltech accounts are not permanent. Students who want a Caltech account for email after they graduate can join the Alumni Association, which runs a system for that purpose. See the Alumni Association website for more information.

If you are not affiliated with Caltech in a way that would allow you to have an access.caltech account, but you need one to facilitate active collaboration with a current staff or faculty member, your hosting department or division can submit Guest or Volunteer paperwork, as appropriate, to Records in Human Resources. IMSS relies on HR records in order to determine who should have an account.

IMSS also provides accounts for Caltech organizations (offices, labs, clubs, etc.) and for use by classes. See below for more information.

What are the different types of accounts IMSS provides?

  • Currently enrolled Caltech Graduate Student.
  • Currently enrolled Caltech Undergraduate Student.
  • Current Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar. If you are visiting and/or collaborating at Caltech, but are not a current Postdoctoral Scholar, you must register with Human Resources, or update your existing Human Resources record, by submitting HR's Guest paperwork. Your hosting department or division should be able to assist.
  • Current Caltech Faculty Member (including Visiting Associates).
  • Current Caltech Staff Member.
  • Current Caltech Visitors and Guests. Visitors and Guests should have active records with Caltech's Human Resources department. You or your sponsoring division/department must submit the appropriate paperwork (Guest Data Sheet in the case of Guests) to HR Records. Please contact Records with any questions.
  • Summer program participants: SURF, MURF, TIDE students and summer-only staff. These accounts are deleted after the summer is over. If you are a year-round student, you are not entitled to a second account of this type (in addition to your regular student account) just because you are here over a summer.
  • Current Caltech Trustees.
  • Retirees who have a Caltech Retiree ID can convert their existing Caltech staff account to a Retiree account. Visit the Help desk (204 CES) with your Caltech Retiree ID, and tell us that you need your account status changed to Retiree. A Retiree account is similar in features and access privileges to a staff account. Note however, that with the exception of Antivirus, Retirees are not eligible for Caltech site licensed software. Retirees who do not have an account at the time of retirement can request a new account by visiting the Help Desk and with a valid Caltech Retiree ID card.
  • Class accounts are a special type of account associated with Caltech classes, and administered by faculty members or teaching assistants. Each class account must have an administrator, whose name is associated with the account. Administrators must be current Caltech faculty, student teaching assistants, or staff. Class accounts are intended to be used by the administrator of the account - the password should not be given out to the entire group. In some instances, a mailing list is a better solution to a group's needs than a class account.
  • Caltech clubs and organizations. Each club/org account must have an administrator, whose name is associated with the account. Administrators must be current Caltech faculty, students or staff. Club/org accounts are intended to be used by the administrator of the account - the password should not be given out to the entire group. In some instances, a mailing list is a better solution to a group's needs than a club/org account.

What about consultants or visitors working on campus for my group... can they get access.caltech accounts if they don't have a Caltech ID?

All IMSS account-holders, including consultants or visitors, must be registered with the Human Resources Records office. Consultants typically are classified as External Affiliates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my account to someone else?

No. Accounts are to be used by the person that they are registered to. Letting another person use your account is against our policies and makes it difficult to troubleshoot problems if something goes wrong with the account.

Can I get multiple accounts? I want to keep my personal email separate from my research email...

Current IMSS policy is one individual account per user. If you want to keep your personal email in a separate account, we suggest that you use an outside service provider. There are many free and low-cost options to choose from. Depending on which email client you use, you may also be able to filter your mail into different folders automatically. Please also see our page on dealing with spam and read the section telling you how to "Use special-purpose email addresses".

What if I don't have a UID?

If you have a current Caltech ID, your UID is printed on the card. All individual account-holders must have active records with Human Resources, and each person's HR record is assigned a UID.

Can JPL folks or alumni get access.caltech accounts?

No. Only Caltech faculty, students, and staff may obtain access.caltech accounts. Because of our high usage, our resources are unavailable to alumni and to JPL staff members. Alumni can, however, join the Alumni Association, which offers email accounts in addition to other services.

What do I do if the account doesn't work?

If you can't log in, be sure to check that you are typing the username and password correctly. Remember that UNIX is case sensitive -- your username will be all lower case and your password may have upper and lower case characters and numbers in it.

If you still cannot get access to the account, stop by the IMSS Help desk in 204 CES with your Caltech ID card, or call x3500 from your listed Caltech phone extension, and be sure to have your Caltech ID card handy.

If you have questions about these policies,contact us at http://help.caltech.edu (request type IMSS-->Accounts-->New Account Request).