Harvard College

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School Overview

Harvard College Crest

Harvard College is the undergraduate division of Harvard University. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusett, where it was established in 1636 as the “New College” by the Great General Court (Britain’s colonial legislature). It was renamed Harvard College just three years later in 1639, in honor of John Harvard, one of the college’s first donors. It is considered the oldest higher education in the United States as well as one of most prestigious.

The school’s first students graduated in 1642. In 1666 Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a native American and aborigine, graduated from Harvard – the first indian to graduate from college during the colonial period. While historically Harvard was an all male school, today it is completely coeducational.

As a division within Harvard University, Harvard College is in charge of various matter relating to undergraduate students, including advising, admissions, student life, housing, and athletics. However, undergraduate instruction is the responsibility of Faculty of Arts and Science department at Harvard University.


Havard College admits about 8% of undergraduate applicants each year, which equates into about 2,000 students. Of all applicants accepted, about 75% end up attending. Harvard is a highly selective higher education institution, and only smartest and brightest get in. Over 90% of students admitted to Harvard are first time college freshman. The college accepts very few transfer students from other colleges and universities.

Harvard College is one of the few undergraduate schools that awards the Artium Baccalaureus (A.B.), a four-year degree that, for all intents and purposes, is the same as the Bachelor of Art (B.A.) awarded by most four-year colleges and universities. However, many entering students who’ve complete AP courses in high school are able to complete Harvard’s AB degree in just three years. At the undergraduate level, Harvard also awards the Scientiarum Baccalaureus (S.B.), usually a five year degree, somewhat similar to the Bachelor of Science awarded at other higher education institutions. Finally, Harvard College offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Music, in partnership with the New England Conservatory of Music.

About a year and half into their undergraduate program, students are required to select a field of concentration – commonly referred to an “academic major” at other universities. Harvard College offers 50 undergraduate fields of concentration for students to choose from. Students may also select a secondary field (a.k.a. “minor”), or they may declare a joint concentration (a.k.a. “double major”) where they choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in two fields of study. Finally, undergraduate students have the option of designing their own program known as a special concentration.

While completing their undergraduate degree, students must fulfill general education requirements in eight areas of study. These include:

  • Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding
  • Culture and Belief
  • Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Science of Living Systems
  • Science of the Physical Universe
  • Societies of the World
  • United States in the World

Harvard’s undergraduate academic experience is designed around the motto “know a little of everything, and one thing well”, an adage by Abbott Lawrence Lowell (a past Harvard president). To this end, Harvard’s undergraduate curriculum focuses on introducing students to an array of intellectual areas as they pursue an in-depth education in on concentration.

Online Degrees and Courses Through Harvard Extension

Through Harvard Extension School, Harvard College offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate, take an online course, or work toward a degree online. Currently, Harvard offers over 200 online courses for students to choose from covering 60 academic fields. Many of Harvard’s non-credit online courses are open to the public. In order to take courses that count toward a degree, a student must first be accepted to Harvard College and have declared their concentration (major). Most degrees offered at Harvard are not entirely online but have online components. Classroom attendance and participation is still required of undergraduate students.

General Information

Admission Office
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-1551
Fax: (617) 495-8821

Contact: William Fitzsimmons
Dean of Admissions
Main Address
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-1000


Total undergrads: 6,678
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 1,666
Degree-seeking undergrads: 6,678
Graduate enrollment: 9,789

Urban setting
Large city (250,000 – 499,999)
Residential campus

Degrees offered:

First Professional

Admissions Information

Application Fee

College has an application fee: Yes

Regular application fee: $65

Online application fee: $65
Enrollment Rates

Percent applicants admitted: 8%

Percent of students who return for sophomore year: 97%

College Majors

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies

African-American Studies B
East Asian Studies B
Near/Middle Eastern Studies B
Women’s Studies B

Arts, Visual & Performing

Art History/Criticism/Conservation B
Arts – General B
Music – General B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Biochemistry B
Biology B
Evolutionary Biology B
Neurobiology/Physiology B

Computer & Information Sciences

Computer Science B


Engineering Science B

English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature – General B

Foreign Language & Literature

Classics B
Comparative Literature B
German B
Greek, Ancient B
Latin B
Linguistics B
Romance Languages B
Sanskrit/Classical Indian B
Slavic B


History – General B
History of Science/Technology B

Liberal Arts & Sciences

Liberal Arts & Sciences B


Applied Mathematics B
Mathematics – General B
Statistics B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Classical/Ancient Mediterranean/Near Eastern Studies B

Natural Resources & Conservation

Environmental Studies B

Philosophy & Religion

Philosophy B
Religion/Religious Studies B

Physical Sciences

Atomic/Molecular Physics B
Chemistry B
Geology B
Physics B


Psychology – General B

Social Sciences

Anthropology B
Economics B
Political Science/Government B
Social Sciences – General B
Sociology B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:

    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor’s degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

Harvard University Highlights

School Information

Phone Number: (617) 495-1000
Website: www.harvard.edu
Type of School: 4-year, Private non-profit
Apply Online: college.harvard.edu/admissions/application-process/application-requirements
Address: Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138
Setting: City: Midsize
Campus Housing: Yes

Students & Programs

Student Population: 31,655
6-yr Graduation Rate (Bachelor's): 96%
Student-to-faculty Ratio: 7 to 1
Distance Learning Programs: Yes
Distance Learning Students*: 25,840 (82% of total students)
Degree Levels Offered: Associates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate

* Students taking at least 1 distance learning course

Tuition & Financial Aid*

In-state Tuition: $51,925
Out-of-state Tuition: $51,925
% of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 73%
Avg. Amount of Grant or Scholarship Aid Awarded: $55,455

* Full-time beginning undergraduate students. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

Harvard University Programs

See the degree programs that are offered at Harvard University.

Degree Name Cert Assoc Bach Mast Doct
Architecture and Related Services 53
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies 1177
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 81722
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 183
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 1
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 131
Education 31136
Engineering 1452
Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related Fields 1
English Language and Literature/Letters 121
Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences 11
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 281310
Health Professions and Related Programs 121179
History 434
Legal Professions and Studies 21
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 1221
Mathematics and Statistics 343
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 373
Natural Resources and Conservation 211
Philosophy and Religious Studies 322
Physical Sciences 896
Psychology 344
Public Administration and Social Service Professions 44
Social Sciences 786
Theology and Religious Vocations 121
Visual and Performing Arts 1683
Grand total 21296148102

* Based on programs that produced 2019-2020 graduates

Tuition & Financial Aid

See what it costs to enroll at Harvard University and how many students are receiving scholarships, grants, or loans as financial aid to help cover the costs of tuition.

Undergraduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees 2019-2020
In-state $51,925
Out-of-state $51,925
Books and supplies $1,000

Graduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees 2019-2020
In-state $49,214
Out-of-state $49,214

Undergraduate Student Financial Aid, 2018-2019

Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students

Type of Aid Number Receiving Aid % Receiving Aid Avg. Amt. of Aid
Any student financial aid 1,202 73%
Grant or scholarship aid 949 57% $55,455
Student loan aid 109 7% $5,770

All Undergraduate Students

Type of Aid Number Receiving Aid % Receiving Aid Avg. Amt. of Aid
Grant or scholarship aid 4,363 44% $49,372
Federal student loans 156 2% $5,978

Admissions & Enrollment

See the admission requirements for Harvard University. Find out how many students apply and how many are accepted. View a graphical breakdown of the gender, age, and ethnicity of currently enrolled Harvard University students.

Undergraduate Admissions, Fall 2020

Total Male Female
Number of applicants 43,330 21,730 21,600
Percent admitted 100% 5% 5%
Percent admitted who enrolled 4% 4% 4%

Admissions Considerations

Required Recommended Optional
Secondary school GPA
Secondary school rank
Secondary school record
Completion of college-preparatory program
Formal demonstration of competencies
Admission test scores
Other Test (Wonderlic, WISC-III, etc.)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language

Harvard University Enrollment, Fall 2020

Total Enrollment 31,655
Undergraduate enrollment 10,063
Graduate enrollment 21,592

Undergraduate Attendance

Undergraduate Gender

Undergraduate Age

Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity

Undergraduate Distance Education

Undergraduates taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Graduate Distance Education

Graduate students taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Harvard University Accreditation

This institution is accredited by New England Commission of Higher Education

Specialized institution accreditations:

  • American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
    • Law (LAW) - Professional schools
  • American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation
    • Predoctoral
    • Post Doctoral - Advanced dental education programs (advanced education in general dentistry and general practice residency)
    • Dental Public Health
    • Endodontics
    • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology- (OMP)
    • Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
    • Periodontics
    • Prosthodontics (including maxillofacial prosthetics and combined prosthodontics/maxillofacial prosthetics)
    • Oral Medicine
  • American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
    • Clinical Psychology (CLPSY) - PhD Doctoral programs
    • Professional Psychology (IPSY) - Predoctoral internship programs
    • Professional Psychology (IPSY) - Predoctoral internship programs
    • Professional Psychology (IPSY) - Predoctoral internship programs
  • Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
    • Theology (THEOL) - Freestanding schools, as well as programs affiliated with larger institutions, offering graduate professional education for ministry and graduate study of theology
  • Council on Education for Public Health
    • Public Health (PHG) - Graduate level school of public health
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
    • Medicine (MED) - Programs leading to the M.D. degree

*General information for this school has been gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, a service provided by the U.S. Department of Education. CollegeAtlas.org does not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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