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Reviewed SchoolsIs Harvard a College or a University? Find out in 2022

Is Harvard a College or a University? Find out in 2022


Is Harvard a College or a University? is one of the frequently asked questions about Harvard. Some say it’s a College and some say it’s a University, well you will find out soon.

Prospective students interested in studying at Harvard are mostly confused about the university’s status. This is because many students don’t know the difference between a college and a university.

Universities are larger institutions that offer a variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs, while Colleges are usually smaller institutions that focus on undergraduate education.

Now that you know the difference between a college and a university, let now talk about whether Harvard is a college or a university. Before we do this, let us share with you a brief history of Harvard.

Harvard’s Brief History: From College to University

In this section, we will discuss how Harvard College transformed into Harvard University.

In 1636, the first college in American colonies was established. The college was founded by a vote by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In 1639, The College was named Harvard College after John Harvard willed his library (over 400 books) and half his estate to the College.

In 1780, the Massachusetts Constitution went into effect and officially recognized Harvard as a university. Medical education at Harvard started in 1781 and Harvard Medical School was founded in 1782.

Difference between Harvard College and Harvard University

Harvard College is one of 14 Harvard Schools. The College offers only undergraduate liberal arts programs.

Harvard University, on the other hand, is a private Ivy League research university, which consists of 14 schools, including Harvard College. The College is for undergraduate students and the 13 graduate schools teach the remaining students.

Founded in 1636 as Harvard College, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

The above explanation shows that Harvard is a university that consists of the undergraduate Harvard College, 12 graduate and professional schools, and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Other Schools at Harvard University

In addition to Harvard College, Harvard University has 12 graduate and professional schools, and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

1. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)

Founded in 1847 as Lawrence Scientific School, SEAS offers undergraduate and graduate programs. SEAS also offers professional and lifelong learning programs in the fields of engineering and applied sciences.

2. Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is a leading institution of graduate study. It  offers Ph.D. and master’s degrees across 57 fields of study that connect students with all parts of Harvard University.

GSAS offers 57 degree programs, 21 secondary programs, and 6 interdisciplinary graduate consortia. It also offers 18 interfaculty Ph.D. programs in conjunction with 9 professional schools at Harvard.

3. Harvard Extension School (HES) 

Harvard Extension School is a part-time school that offers the majority of its courses online – 70% of courses offered online. HES offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

Harvard Extension School is part of the Harvard Division of Continuing Education. This division of Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to distance learners, working professionals, etc.

4. Harvard Business School (HBS)

Harvard Business School is a top-ranked business school that offers graduate programs, as well as online certificate courses. HBS also offers summer programs.

Founded in 1908, Harvard Business School was the school to offer the world’s first MBA program.

5. Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM)

Founded in 1867, the Harvard Dental School was the first dental school in the United States to be affiliated with a university and its medical school. In 1940, the school’s name was changed to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

Harvard School of Dental Medicine offers graduate programs in the field of dental medicine. HSDM also offers continuing education courses.

6. Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)

Harvard Graduate School of Design offers graduate programs in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, design studies, and design engineering.

GSD is home to several degree programs, including the world’s oldest landscape architecture program and North America’s longest-standing urban planning program.

7. Harvard Divinity School (HDS)

Harvard Divinity School is a nonsectarian school of religious and theological studies, founded in 1816. It offers 5 degrees: MDiv, MTS, ThM, MRPL, and Ph.D.

HDS students can also earn dual degrees from Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, and Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

8. Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE)

Harvard Graduate School of Education is a leading institution of graduate study, which offers doctorate, master’s, and professional education programs.

Founded in 1920, Harvard Graduate School of Education was the first school to grant a doctor of education (EdD) degree. HGSE is also the first school to award women Harvard degrees.

9. Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Harvard Kennedy School is a school of public policy and government. Founded in 1936 as the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Harvard Kennedy School offers master’s, doctorate, and executive education programs. It also offers a series of online courses in public leadership.

10. Harvard Law School (HLS)

Founded in 1817, Harvard Law School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. It is home to the largest academic law library in the world.

Harvard Law School offers graduate degree programs and several joint degree programs.

11. Harvard Medical School (HMS)

Founded in 1782, Harvard Medical School is one of the oldest medical schools in the United States. HMS offers graduate programs and executive education programs in medical studies.

12. Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health (HSPH)

Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, previously known as Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) is responsible for offering graduate programs in public health.

Its mission is to advance the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication.

13. Harvard Radcliffe Institute 

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University was established in 1999 after Harvard University merged with Radcliffe College.

Radcliffe College was originally founded to ensure that women have access to Harvard education.

Harvard Radcliffe Institute does not award degrees not foster interdisciplinary research across the humanities, sciences, social sciences, arts, and professions.

What are the programs offered by Harvard College?

As mentioned earlier, Harvard College offers only undergraduate liberal arts education programs.

Harvard College offers more than 3,700 courses in 50 undergraduate fields of study, called concentrations. These concentrations are divided into 9 groups, which are:

  • Arts
  • Engineering
  • History
  • Languages, Literatures, and Religion
  • Life Sciences
  • Math and Computation
  • Physical Sciences
  • Qualitative Social Sciences
  • Quantitative Social Sciences.

Students at Harvard College can also create their own special concentrations.

Special concentrations allow you to craft a degree plan that meets a uniquely challenging academic goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Harvard College offer graduate programs?

No, Harvard College is an undergraduate liberal art college. Students who have an interest in graduate programs should consider one of the 12 Harvard graduate schools.

Where is Harvard University located?

Harvard University's main campus is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It also has campuses in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

Is Harvard expensive?

The full cost (annual) of a Harvard education is between $80,263 and $84,413. This shows that Harvard is expensive. However, Harvard offers one of the most generous financial aid programs in the United States. These financial aid programs make Harvard affordable for everyone.

Can I study at Harvard for free?

Students from families with annual incomes of up to $75,000 (up from $65,000) can study at Harvard for free. Currently, 20% of Harvard families pay nothing. Other students are eligible for several scholarships. 55% of Harvard students receive scholarship aid.

Does Harvard University offer undergraduate programs?

Yes, Harvard University offers undergraduate programs through Harvard College - an undergraduate liberal art college.

Is Harvard University an Ivy League School?

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

Is Harvard hard to get into?

Harvard University is a highly competitive school with an acceptance rate of 5% and an early acceptance rate of 13.9%. It is often ranked as one of the most difficult schools to get into.

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From the above explanation, we can conclude that Harvard is a university comprised of several schools: Harvard College, 12 graduate schools, and Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Students interested in undergraduate programs can apply to Harvard College and graduate students can enroll in any of the 12 graduate schools.

Harvard University is one of the top-ranked institutions in the world, so if you have chosen to study at Harvard, then you have made the right choice.

However, you need to know that getting admission to Harvard is not easy, you need to have excellent academic performance.

We have now come to the end of this article, do you find the article helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the Comment Section below.


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