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Harvard is perhaps the nation's best university. The Cambridge, Massachusetts campus is home to 9,500 undergraduates and around 20,000 graduate students, a ratio that is unheard of on most campuses. Its alumni have held high office in both politics and business, they dominate the scientific community, and a doctorate from Harvard is a golden ticket to success in academia. Their undergraduate degrees are intensely rigorous, and any bachelor's degree here is likely to indicate a depth of scholarship that will impress employers. Meanwhile, their graduate degrees surpass all others.

Overview of Harvard University

Not only do Harvard students work hard at their studies, but they also find time to recreate and expand their college experience through engaging physical and social endeavors. For instance, there are vigorous flow yoga classes available on the campus Plaza, strengthening equipment in the gym, and lots to do in the Malkin Athletic Center. The MAC offers students a list of cardio machines, indoor swimming for laps and recreational swims, three basketball courts, and more. Then there's the Murr Center that includes both squash and tennis courts. Harvard students also enjoy the campus hockey arena, sailing center, indoor track, 18-court tennis center, and a boathouse for those on the Crew squad.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Midsize
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 7:1
Graduation Rate 98%
Year Founded 1636

Student Enrollment

Total Students30,631


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,684
Female 4,684

Graduate Student

Male 10,630
Female 10,632

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Harvard Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 28,024
Female 33,197


Male 845
Female 992

Acceptance Rate3%

Male 3%
Female 3%

Enrollment 1,250

Male 575
Female 675
Application Fee $75
High School GPA Recommended
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses N/A
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) N/A
Application Deadline January 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

Harvard Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Harvard's level of academic excellence is not without a stiff price tag. Given that it's a private university in an expensive urban environment, students need to be prepared for a high gross price tag. In fact, a year of tuition, room and board will run upwards of $58,000. Given the high value of the academics at Harvard, most find that the price is worth it. Once living costs are tallied, a year in Cambridge will cost up to $84,000. Interestingly, Harvard didn't report figures for off-campus living, but it's assumed that their living quarters are more than ample.

These figures are adjusted once the financial aid office applies grants and scholarships. In fact, the average net cost for a year at Harvard is under $20,000. This figure plummets for the lowest income students, who face an average net cost of only $6,000, which is less than tuition at many community colleges. Households that earn over $110,000 pay around $53,000.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $19,491
Average Total Aid $61,801
Students Receiving Financial Aid 72%
Room & Board $19,502

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $57,261
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $57,261
  • Books and Supplies - $900
  • Room & Board - $19,502
  • Other - $5,875


Harvard is universally known for world-class academics. Students from all over the world compete for a position in each year's entering cohort, and a degree from here is seen as conveying instant high status in most places. Thus, Harvard's reputation is nothing short of spotless. Nevertheless, our researchers were interested in investigating the school's academic statistics to verify its reputation.

To that end, they pulled the retention and graduation rates to see how many Harvard students stick around. The retention rate measures how many of Harvard's first-time, full-time students return for their second year. Since 96% of all incoming students return for their second year, it's clear that they, and their families, are satisfied with what Harvard has to offer. In fact, it's hard to find many schools that come near to this number, though most are also privately funded.

When it comes to graduation rates, Harvard reports that an unheard-of 98% walk across the Cambridge stage for their sheepskin. This is another incredible statistic in higher education, though it's more common among private colleges and universities. Thus, our researchers were able to verify that all the hype surrounding Harvard education is probably well founded.

Student Population Total

Student Population 30,631

Evening Classes : Yes
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Social Science Majors 591 Total Graduates / 32%
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics 224 Graduates
Social Sciences, General 178 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 129 Graduates
Sociology 43 Graduates
Anthropology 17 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 250 Total Graduates / 14%
Evolutionary Biology 78 Graduates
Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology 61 Graduates
Neurobiology and Anatomy 45 Graduates
Developmental Biology and Embryology 37 Graduates
Neuroscience 29 Graduates
Mathematics and Statistics 185 Total Graduates / 10%
Applied Mathematics, General 103 Graduates
Statistics, General 50 Graduates
Mathematics, General 32 Graduates
History 139 Total Graduates / 8%
History, General 54 Graduates
History, Other 49 Graduates
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology 36 Graduates
History 139 Total Graduates / 8%
History, General 54 Graduates
History, Other 49 Graduates
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology 36 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 139 Total Graduates / 8%
Mathematics, General 32 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 409 Total Graduates / 22%

Outcome & Salary

Harvard students have high expectations for their earnings and career outlook. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to salaries or job opportunities, researchers sought reported salary data from alumni. They found that the top-earning degree program was Harvard's computer science department, whose graduates report median earnings above $250,000. Meanwhile, the fifth highest earning students were from the political science department, who report a median entry-level salary of $90,000. Of the top five, the median wage was $125,000, as reported by the economics students. These salaries were not only reflective of an entry-level position, but also don't factor in other forms of compensation, such as bonuses and benefits.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $74,800
College Grads Average Salary $90,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $146,800
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $900,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,368,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $70,360
10 Year Projected ROI $829,640
20 Year Projected ROI $2,297,640
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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