Harvard

Harvard University

Harvard
#1 / #1
Global Influence / U.S. Influence
#2
Most Desirable School
Private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University Featured Rankings

About Harvard University

By James Barham, PhD

Harvard University is almost universally acclaimed as the world’s most prestigious university. There is little doubt that its towering reputation is well earned.

For starters, some 150 Nobel laureates have either studied or taught at the school—more than at any other university in the world.

Moreover, over 40 international heads of state or government have passed through its gates. Of these, eight were US Presidents (the most of any college or university):

  • John Adams
  • John Quincy Adams
  • Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • John F. Kennedy
  • George W. Bush
  • Barack Obama

Harvard Law School is also often considered the best in the country. It has contributed no fewer than 16 Justices to the US Supreme Court over the years (the most of any law school in the country). The sitting Justices who are Harvard Law graduates are Stephen G. Breyer, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, and Elena Kagan.

Another reason for Harvard’s reputation is its strength across a wide variety of academic disciplines, not only in the arts and sciences—from Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations to biology, astronomy, and physics—but also in law, business, and medicine.

Philosophy has long been a particular strength, as witnessed by the following names:

  • William James
  • C.S. Peirce
  • George Santayana
  • Josiah Royce
  • W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • C.I. Lewis
  • Alonzo Church
  • W.V.O. Quine
  • Hilary Putnam
  • Donald Davidson
  • John Rawls
  • Robert Nozick
  • Saul Kripke
  • David K. Lewis
  • Thomas Nagel
  • Hubert Dreyfus

Other distinguished, nineteenth- and twentieth-century individuals with connections to Harvard include:

  • Transcendentalist thinker and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Author, lecturer, and political activist, blind and deaf from birth, Hellen Keller
  • Great novelist, Henry James
  • Nobel Prize-winning, modernist poet, T.S. Eliot
  • Sociologist, Talcott Parsons
  • Anthropologist, Clifford Geertz
  • Physicist and Manhattan Project leader, J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Political theorist/historian and US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger
  • US Vice President, Al Gore
  • Microsoft founder, Bill Gates
  • Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg
  • Film directors, Terrence Malick and Darren Aronofsky
  • Actors, Jack Lemmon, Tommy Lee Jones, Matt Damon, and Natalie Portman, among many others far too numerous to mention.

Nor does it hurt that, with some seven million volumes, Harvard’s Widener Library is one of the largest academic libraries in the world.

But all of this raises the question: Why Harvard? Why did this particular school attain such a stratospheric academic stature?

For one thing, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in what is now the United States, having been founded, under the name of New College, a mere 16 years after the arrival of the Mayflower. On the other hand, though, by the standards of Europe where scores of universities date back to the Middle Ages, Harvard is a relative newcomer on the educational scene. Longevity alone, then, cannot explain the school’s international pre-eminence. So, what does?

If we focus on the period since World War II, we can clearly see that Harvard has risen to world prominence in conjunction with the nation of which it is a part—the United States—which at war’s end in 1945 found itself the military, technological, and economic leader of the world. Even before the war, during Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, eminent Jewish academics and others who saw the handwriting on the wall had streamed into the US by the tens of thousands. After the war, with Germany in ruins, the migration of highly distinguished scientists and scholars to this country continued throughout the late 1940s and into the 1950s.

Harvard was certainly a prime beneficiary of these historical trends, but many other institutions benefited, as well. Which raises the question: What accounts for Harvard’s outstanding excellence in relation to other American colleges and universities, which can be traced to well before World War II?

Here, we may point to a combination of factors, including the intellectual and cultural dominance of Boston, and New England as a whole, during the first couple of centuries of our nation’s history. Another factor is undoubtedly Harvard’s enormous endowment—in excess of $40 billion—making the school by far the wealthiest university in the US. Such riches bring with them the ability both to pay top-of-the-line salaries to its faculty and to provide them with cutting-edge facilities.

Who can say with certainty which of these many factors was decisive? Still, we can safely say that the more famous Harvard became, the greater the number of distinguished scholars and promising students who wished to be associated with it—which in the fulness of time increased its reputation still further. Harvard is also one of the most influential schools for tennis.

And so on, until the present day . . . and, in all likelihood, long into the future.

According to Wikipedia, Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Its influence, wealth, and rankings have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard University's Online Degrees

ALM in Liberal Arts: Information Management Systems
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ALM in Master'S Of Liberal Arts
  • Required Credits: 48
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Bioengineering And Nanotechnology
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Biology
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: English
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Global Development Practice
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: International Studies
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Journalism
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Mathematics For Teaching
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Completion Time: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Anthropology And Archaeology
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Biotechnology
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Data Science
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Digital Media Design
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Dramatic Arts
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Finance
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Government
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: History
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Industrial-Organizational Psychology
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Management
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Religion
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Software Engineering
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Sustainability
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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ALM in Liberal Arts: Psychology
  • Required Credits: None Reported
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Harvard University Admissions, Retention, and Graduation Information

Annual ApplicationsAcceptanceGraduation RateMedian SAT ScoreMedian ACT Score
57,7864%97%152034

How Much Does Harvard University Cost To Attend?

Tuition (in-state)
$55,587
Price by Family Income
IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$2,564
30K - 48K$1,396
48K - 75K$2,669
75K - 110K$20,059
110K+$42,312

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

How Much Do Harvard University Graduates Make?

If you graduate from Harvard University, then you can expect to earn an average of $139,100 per year. You also have a 89% chance of being employed after 10 years.

Harvard University's Demographics

Demographic data is for full-time, on-campus students.

Student BodyUnder-GradsGraduates
24,0057,85616,149

Where is Harvard University?

Harvard University is located at Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge MA 02138

How Safe is Harvard University?

Harvard University has a violent crime rate of less than .01% and a property crime rate of less than .01%. Cambridge has a violent crime rate of less than .01% and a property crime rate of less than .01%.

What Is Harvard University Known For?

Harvard University is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

Harvard University's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Philosophy
#3
World Rank
#5
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
philosophy Degrees
Law
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
Biology
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
biology Degrees
Political Science
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
political-science Degrees
Literature
#2
World Rank
#2
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
literature Degrees
Business
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
business Degrees
Economics
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
economics Degrees
Medical
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
medicine Degrees
Psychology
#1
World Rank
#2
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
psychology Degrees
Communications
#3
World Rank
#3
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
communications Degrees
Education
#1
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
education Degrees
Physics
#1
World Rank
#4
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
physics Degrees
History
#2
World Rank
#2
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
history Degrees
Religious Studies
#3
World Rank
#6
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
religious-studies-hub Degrees
Earth Sciences
#5
World Rank
#7
Historical Rank
#1
USA Rank
earth-science Degrees
Mathematics
#5
World Rank
#9
Historical Rank
#2
USA Rank
math Degrees
Engineering
#2
World Rank
#2
Historical Rank
#2
USA Rank
engineering Degrees
Chemistry
#2
World Rank
#4
Historical Rank
#2
USA Rank
chemistry Degrees
Anthropology
#2
World Rank
#1
Historical Rank
#2
USA Rank
anthropology Degrees
Sociology
#2
World Rank
#2
Historical Rank
#2
USA Rank
sociology Degrees
Computer Science
#5
World Rank
#5
Historical Rank
#5
USA Rank
computer-science Degrees

Who Are Harvard University's Most Influential Alumni?

Harvard University's most influential alumni include professors and professionals in the fields of Law, Biology, and Political Science. Here are some of Harvard University's most famous alumni:

Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
An Algerian-French philosopher .
William James
William James
An American philosopher, psychologist, and pragmatist .
Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
An American linguist and activist .
Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce
An American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist .
T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
A US-born British poet .
Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener
An American mathematician, scientist in cybernetics and artificial intelligence.
Marvin Minsky
Marvin Minsky
An American cognitive scientist .
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
An American philosopher.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
An American philosopher .
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine
An American philosopher and logician .
Paul Samuelson
Paul Samuelson
An American economist.
Hilary Putnam
Hilary Putnam
An American philosopher.

Who Are Harvard University's Most Influential Faculty?

Harvard University's most influential faculty include professors in the fields of Law, Biology, and Political Science. Here are some of Harvard University's most famous alumni:

Samantha Power
Samantha Power
An Irish-American academic, author and diplomat.
Sendhil Mullainathan
Sendhil Mullainathan
An Indian economist.
Jeffrey Beall
Jeffrey Beall
An American librarian.
Samuel Moyn
Samuel Moyn
An American historian.
Jacob Lurie
Jacob Lurie
An American mathematician.
Melissa Dell
An American economist.
Ilya Somin
An American law school professor.
Noah Feldman
Noah Feldman
An American academic, educator, political writer, (1970 -   ), Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Gita Gopinath
Gita Gopinath
An Indian-American economist.
Susan Athey
Susan Athey
An American economist.
Matthew Desmond
Matthew Desmond
An American sociologist.
Nima Arkani-Hamed
Nima Arkani-Hamed
An American-Canadian physicist.