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Harvard University

Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA

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Harvard University is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of the top "Ivy League" universities, Harvard's reputation was built on its liberal arts curriculum, particularly at the undergraduate level, and has always boasted an acclaimed faculty of scholars in the liberal arts. It continues to offer excellent undergraduate programs, with 44 fields of study offered at the bachelor's degree level. Over the years, Harvard also has gained a reputation for its excellent graduate programs and professional schools.

Most departments offer a tutorial style of teaching and learning, with a good teacher to student ratio. Tutorials, which are taught individually or in small groups, are directed courses of study in a field of concentration.

Harvard University offers excellent facilities, including the largest university library in the world, many museums, and more than 20 scientific and laboratory centers.

The "prominent alumni" list for Harvard reads like a "Who's Who" of iconic figures from American and international societies, culture, politics, and nearly every field or industry over more than 100 years. The alumni list boasts 44 Nobel laureates, among other luminaries. From President John F. Kennedy to President Barack Obama, and composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein to cellist Yo Yo Ma, and author and activist Helen Keller to author-historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and diplomat Henry Kissinger, among others, the list is an impressive one.

History

The university's name came from its first donor, minister John Harvard of Charlestown. He died in 1638, leaving his library and half his estate to the institution of higher education that was established in 1636.

The history of Harvard University is a storied one. Those who wish to learn more about its history can visit the Harvard University Archives (http://hul.harvard.edu/huarc/).

Academics

The academic calendar of Harvard University follows the semester format, with fall and spring "terms," and summer "school" (or session).

Colleges and Schools

  • Harvard Business School
  • Harvard College
  • Harvard University Division of Continuing Education
  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • Graduate School of Design
  • Harvard Divinity School
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Harvard Law School
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Student Life

Students at Harvard University have many student services available, and many activities and living options to choose from. Residential housing is offered, providing a small college atmosphere at the university. Each of the 12 residential "houses" is well staffed, and offers dormitories and dining halls, as well as libraries, social events and intramural athletic teams.  Off campus housing is also available.

There are nearly 200 student-run organizations, groups, clubs and programs on Harvard's campus. There are close to 100 plays or musical performances offered by students each year. Two student newspapers offer plenty of opportunity for involvement, in addition to the many journals that are also produced at the university. Community service is encouraged through two programs: the Phillips Brooks House Association and the House and Neighborhood Development (HAND) program.  Mentorship is strong at Harvard, and students living on or off campus have faculty mentors available to them through various programs.

The facilities available to Harvard students are among the best at any university in the world. There are nearly 14 million volumes in the Harvard library system, and roughly 100 collections. More than 20 buildings are dedicated to scientific research in the areas of astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology and physics.  The university has many museums on campus, housing renowned art collections.  Its natural history museum is also well known.

Traditions

In 1875, Crimson was chosen as both the school color for Harvard, and its nickname for athletics teams. The school chose white for its second school color the same year.

In 1884, Harvard athletes began the tradition of waving a little red flag during any game they play against Yale.

Athletics

"The Crimson" athletics teams of Harvard compete in numerous intercollegiate sports, and have won championships in many. The sports that Crimson athletes compete in include:

Men's Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Heavyweight Crew
  • Lightweight Crew
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Sailing
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling 

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Heavyweight Crew
  • Lightweight Crew
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Sailing
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

Satellite Campuses

Although there is only one campus for Harvard University, its many buildings, divisions and schools are spread throughout Cambridge. Harvard's campus facilities are located on both sides of the Charles River in Cambridge.  The Harvard Yard, (or "The Yard") is at the center of the campus and is the hub of Harvard's campus activities.

Community Life

The charms of Cambridge, Boston and New England as a whole, are many. Cambridge offers the ambiance of a small town in New England with its town greens, grassy riverbanks along the Charles River and charming town squares offering wonderful restaurants, unique shops, sidewalk cafes, and more.

Boston is a cosmopolitan city vibrant with history and culture.  Cobbled streets and church spires of colonial times are juxtaposed against modern architecture and high rises, offering a diversity that most visitors find stimulating. Concerts and live performances in theatre and classical music, museums and galleries, out door recreation and a world-renowned waterfront offer many opportunities for activities and entertainment. Students and visitors alike will enjoy the many areas that are within easy distance of Harvard.

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Admission Requirements & Details

The admissions information below may give you an idea of the students Harvard University accepts. The details may include application requirements and recommendations, SAT/ACT scores of accepted students, as well as any AP or college credits that may be transferred. This information can be used to have a better understanding of your chances of getting into Harvard University.

Admission Requirements & Recommendations

  • High School G.P.A. and School Records are Recommended
  • High School Academic Ranking are Recommended
  • Letters of Recommendation are Required
  • SAT or ACT Test Scores are Required

College Credits Accepted

  • AP Course Credits

Admissions Test Scores - SAT Exam, ACT Exam, etc...

SAT ® scores for students that were accepted Fall 2011

 Score Range (25th to 75th Percentile)
SAT ® Critical Reading690 - 790
SAT ® Math700 - 800
SAT ® Writing690 - 790
SAT ® Total Score2080 - 2380

ACT ® scores for students that were accepted Fall 2011

 Score Range (25th to 75th Percentile)
ACT ® English32 - 35
ACT ® Math31 - 35
ACT ® Composite Score31 - 35

Acceptance Rate Table

The chances for admission at Harvard University can be seen in the table below.

 Number (Percentage)
Applicants34,950
Granted Admissions2,188 (6%)
Accepted Students That Enrolled1,661 (76%)

Student Enrollment

The total student enrollment at Harvard University is about 28,000, where graduate students make up roughly 63% of the student body.

Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The items listed below are for informational purposes only and may not represent current tuition, fees, and expenses.

Tuition & Fees Information

  • Annual tuition is estimated to range between $38,000-$45,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students
  • Part time students pay in the range of $4,700 to $5,600 per unit
  • May offer prepaid tuition rates, allowing tuition to be purchased at current rates for future enrollment.

A variety professional schools of study are operated by Harvard University. These schools may have varying tuition costs. Listed below are the professional schools along with their estimated annual tuition:

  • Dental School (Tuition: $50,000/yr)
  • Medical School (Tuition: $50,000/yr)
  • Law School (Tuition: $50,000/yr)

Financial Aid Details

The table below breaks down the types of financial aid, the percent of students receiving aid, and average amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid81%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships70%$35,673
Receiving Student Loans11%$4,857

Note: The estimated default rate of students taking federal student loans in 2009 was around 0.4%.

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To support students and graduates, Harvard University may provide student services including:

  • Remedial courses
  • Academic counseling for students
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Assistance to find work
  • Day care

Graduation Rates

Harvard University has a very high graduation rate when compared to nearby similar schools.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years87%
Graduating in 5 Years8%
Graduating in 6 Years2%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

  • Law Program (more info)
  • Dental Public Health Program
  • Endodontics Program
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Program
  • Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics Program
  • Periodontics Program
  • Prosthodontics Program
  • Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.) Program
  • Theology (Ministry) Program (more info)
  • Master's in Public Health (M.P.H.) Program (more info)
  • Medical (M.D.) Program (more info)

Programs Offered

The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.

Get more information about the programs offered by Harvard University by clicking the request information to the right.

(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (Ph.D.,M.D.,...)

Business and Marketing Studies

Education

Legal Professions and Studies

  • Law (D)
  • Advanced Legal Research (C, D)

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Health and Clinical Professions

  • Public Health (D, M)
  • Medicine (D)
  • Pre-Medicine, Pre-Medical Studies (C)
  • Dentistry (D)
  • Advanced General Dentistry (C, M)
  • Advanced Dentistry and Oral Sciences (D)
  • Oral Biology and Oral Pathology (D, M)

Public Administration and Social Services

Social Sciences

Architecture

History

  • History (B, D, M)
  • History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (B, D, M)
  • American History (D, M)
  • Asian History (D)

Psychology

English Language and Literature

  • English (B, D, M)
  • English Language and Literature, Letters (B)

Theology and Religious Vocations

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Evolutionary Biology (B, D, M)
  • Neurobiology and Neurophysiology (B, D, M)
  • Molecular Biology (B, D, M)
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences (M)
  • Biochemistry (B, D, M)
  • Genetics (D)
  • Cell Biology and Histology (D)
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (B)
  • Biostatistics (D, M)
  • Immunology (D, M)
  • Biophysics (D)
  • Pathology, Experimental Pathology (D)
  • Systematic Biology (D, M)
  • Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology (D)
  • Virology (D, M)

Mathematics and Statistics

Physical Sciences

Engineering

Computer and Information Sciences

Ethnic Cultural and Gender Studies

  • East Asian Studies (B, D, M)
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies (B, D, M)
  • Area Studies (M)
  • Womens Studies (B)
  • African-American Studies (B, D, M)
  • Ural-Altaic and Central Asian Studies (D, M)

Visual and Performing Arts

  • Visual and Performing Arts (B)
  • Art History (B)
  • Drama (C)
  • Art Studies (D, M)
  • Music (B, D, M)

Foreign Languages and Literature

  • Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (B, D, M)
  • Classical Languages, Literatures and Linguistics (B, D, M)
  • Comparative Literature (B, D, M)
  • Linguistics (B, D, M)
  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (B, D)
  • German Language and Literature (B, D, M)
  • Celtic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (D, M)
  • Sanskrit, Classical Indian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (B, D)
  • Latin Language and Literature (D)
  • Ancient Greek Language and Literature (D)

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Natural Resources and Conservation

  • Environmental Studies (B)
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy (C)

Communications and Journalism

  • Communication and Media Studies (C)

Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Ancient Mediterranean, Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology (M)

Other 4-Year Private Colleges Nearby

The list of nearby schools has been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to Harvard University.

Also, check out our college lists below, which can help students compare schools to one another: