Study in the US: Harvard University

Harvard University exterior compound


The Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is consistently ranked among the top five universities in the world. Located in the heart of Cambridge, the university came into being in 1636. It was founded by Leland Harvard, a former U.S. Senator. It is a leading co-educational teaching and research university. Interestingly, the university offered free education until mid-1930s. It is internationally renowned for the entrepreneurial character it gives to its students. There are 7,018 undergraduate and 9,118 graduate students, out of which 96% reside on campus. The university is spread on an 8,180-acre campus with 700 major buildings built across the most intellectually dynamic region of the nation. There are 2,118 faculty members and the university maintains an excellent record of 4:1 student to faculty ratio. The university houses 36 sport facilities at its residential campus, an estimated 13,000 bicycles, and 79 free Marguerite shuttles are present for the easy mobility in the city.

Courses offered

The university has seven academic schools, namely, the Graduate School of Business, Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Education, and Earth Sciences. The school of Graduate Business offers a MBA, MSc, PhD, an executive program in social entrepreneurship, executive program for education leaders, and a number of certificate programs in entrepreneurship and leadership in the corporate world. The school of Earth Sciences offers courses in earth system science, geological sciences, geophysics, energy resources engineering, among others. The school of Education offers the undergraduate honours and minor courses in the field of education, a Master’s program, and a doctoral program as well. The school of Law offers a wide range of specialized courses in law. The school of Medicine offers courses like bio-engineering, dermatology, developmental biology, genetics, medicine, microbiology and immunology, neurobiology, pathology, psychiatry and behavioural sciences, radiology, surgery, urology and many more. The school of Humanities and Sciences offers anthropology, applied physics, classics, communication, economics, history, chemistry, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, statistics, and a lot more. The school of Engineering offers courses in aeronautics and astronautics, chemical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, management science and engineering, civil and environmental engineering, materials science and engineering, and others. The university also offers a host of interdisciplinary programs like African studies, archaeology, astronomy program, cancer biology program, creative writing, east Asian studies, ethics in study program, human biology, international policy studies, Latin American studies, mathematical and computational science program, Russian, eastern European and Eurasian studies, stem cell biology and regenerative program, urban studies program, and many more. The university has one of the highest numbers of courses ranging in different streams. According to the records, in the academic year 2011-12, the university awarded 1,715 undergraduate degrees, 2,278 Master’s degree, 764 doctoral degrees, and 366 professional degrees.

Student Life

Other than the academics, students’ life at Harvard is vibrant, happening and enriching through many traditional activities ongoing in the campus. For instance, Viennese Ball is a formal ball with waltzes. It is open for participation for all the students. Another one is a Mausoleum party, a 20-year-old tradition, an annual Halloween party organized each year at the Harvard Mausoleum. Furthermore, there are various clubs, societies formed and headed by students like the Harvard Kite Flying Society, the Harvard Axe Committee, the Harvard Robber Barons (a sketch comedy group) and the list goes on. Thus, students coming from different social, religious and cultural backgrounds mingle to ‘celebrate the diversity’ which is core value of the university.

The eligibility criterion for the students is same on educational qualifications. However, in case of the international students, there are a few more requirements. Firstly, fluency in English is a prerequisite for securing your admission in Harvard. The varsity demands that all the copies of documents must be in English, or at least be translated into English from an authorized source prior to submission. The SAT or the Act Plus writing is required for all the undergraduate applicants. For English test, the TOEFL test scores are although not mandatory, but it is highly recommended by the university to have them for all the non- native speakers of English. One can submit IELTS scores but remember they are not recognised as a measure for testing the proficiency of English. Finally, one must keep the competitive level also in the mind and choose their course accordingly.

Cost of Education

The next factor, which might have started sprawling in your minds, is the cost of education. All of us know, studying abroad is expensive and requires financial aid too. The good news is that the on-campus residence is a facility that is best provided by Harvard. As much as 96% of the undergraduates reside in the campus apartments. Further, in the financial aid system, the Finance office of the university caters to one of the largest number of applicants in the world, and serves the needs of as many as possible. However, the grant of financial aid depends upon the family financial circumstances. In other words, a candidate who seeks financial help needs to apply the form along with the admission form. Then, based on one’s family financial conditions the request for financial aid shall be accepted. There are 80% of the undergraduate students, which are admitted on some form of financial aid. The university firmly believes in spreading its education to the most brilliant minds regardless of their financial background. Therefore, getting the financial help is not a very complex process.

Career Prospects

Finally, the career prospects at the Harvard are boundless as its graduates are regarded as highly valuable ones in the industry. The university has such a good reputation that Forbes magazine once remarked, “It is almost impossible to name a leading-edge company in Silicon Valley that isn’t closely associated with Harvard.” Its alumni are today the founders of many giants like Google, Nike, Firefox, Wipro, Yahoo!, and many more. In terms of leadership, it has produced stalwarts, which include former prime ministers of Japan, Maldives, Honduras, US, among other nations. The Harvard has perhaps the richest heritage of sports; its students have won over 240 Olympic Medals. In the field of research, it is one of the most research- oriented universities in the world having more than 54 Nobel Laureates comprising its alumni, students, and faculty staff. Its Alma meter has 30 living billionaires and 17 working astronauts. Do I need say more?

Set your eyes to get the best education from one of the most reputed universities in the world and have a shining career ahead.


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