Difference Between Harvard College and Harvard University

Every student wishes to study in the best college or university so that they can have access to the best faculty and resources. The success of an institution is determined by the success of its alumni. Many people are always confused about the basic difference between a college and a university.

Harvard College vs Harvard University

The main difference between Harvard College and Harvard University is that Harvard college is a college that is affiliated to Harvard University, and it only enrolls students in its undergraduate programs awarding degrees like Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. On the other hand, Harvard University offers master’s degrees, advanced programs, and even some undergraduate courses to the students.

Harvard College and Harvard University

Harvard college is one of the prominent colleges that has a very bright past, it offers a large number of undergraduate programs and courses. It is a higher secondary institution where students from all across the world come and study. It was founded in the year 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Harvard University is one of the most renowned and well-known universities in the world where students from all over the world wish to study and pursue a degree here. It includes a large number of colleges that are affiliated with this university. Harvard university is also an Ivy League Research University.

Comparison Table Between Harvard College and Harvard University

Parameters of ComparisonHarvard CollegeHarvard University
Courses offeredHarvard College offers all possible undergraduate courses, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are some of the famous courses that are offered.Harvard University offers a wide range of postgraduate and research courses in every domain. It also offers a few undergraduate courses as well.
StatusHarvard college is located within the main university campus due to which it cannot be termed as an Independent Ivy League College.Harvard University is classified as an Ivy League Private University which signifies that it is one of the top 8 distinguished universities in the world.
Admission processThe admissions in Harvard College is based on students previous academic record, extra-curricular activities, and personal qualities. Harvard University accepts admissions based on the ACT score.
Academic LifeThe four-year undergraduate program at Harvard college is basically focused on liberal arts and sciences.The academic life at Harvard University is basically focused on research and master’s programs.
Notable alumniThe notable alumni of Harvard College are Dean Norris, David Souter, and Chuck Schumer.The notable alumni of Harvard University are some of the prominent faces of the world that includes the former President of the United States Barack Obama.

What is Harvard College?

Harvard College is one of the biggest colleges affiliated with Harvard University. According to a survey, Harvard College is one of the toughest schools to get accepted for pursuing an undergraduate program. It has only a 3.4% acceptance rate. Around 9900 students are pursuing an undergraduate degree at Harvard University at the present moment.

Harvard College offers close to 3300 courses in a wide range of 50 fields. The most famous courses are the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. The four basic fields of courses are Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social sciences, and Engineering.

Harvard College is a place that offers the first degree to the students in their career. Harvard college was founded in the year 1636. Initially, this college was male-dominated as no women were allowed to study here, but now there is a 1:1 gender ratio in the college.

Most majors of Harvard college are Artium Baccalaureus and Scientiae Baccalaureus. In the first year of college, students have to live in the hostel itself whereas, after the competition of one year, students can live in rented houses and other PG rooms. The library here is very big.

What is Harvard University?

Harvard University has ten distinct academic facilities and is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Harvard University has 14,215 postgraduates, 20,500 faculty members, including 10,400 academic staff. Originally, it was known as the New College and was later renamed Harvard in the year 1639.

Many famous colleges are affiliated with Harvard University and each college specializes in a particular field like law, medicine, and science.

The various things that one must keep in mind for getting into Harvard University are:-

  • One must have a very good GPA in their past high school and undergraduate degree.
  • One must get a high score in the SAT, ACT, or AP tests.
  • An individual must also have taken part in various extra-curricular activities in the past.
  • A person must also have volunteered with various NGOs and Organizations.
  • One must prepare an amazing application and SOP for getting into this amazing University.

It is situated as a landmark along the famous Charles River. It is also one of the most famous universities, beauty, and architecture-wise. This is the university where every person wishes to study.

Main Differences Between Harvard College and Harvard University

  1. Harvard College offers undergraduate programs like Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, whereas Harvard University offers some undergraduate programs but most prominently postgraduate and Research programs.
  2. Harvard College is not an Ivy League Private College, whereas Harvard University is an Ivy League Private University.
  3. The admissions in Harvard College are based on past academics, extra-curricular of students, whereas Harvard University gives huge weightage to ACT scores.
  4. Harvard College admits students who have just passed out their school, whereas Harvard University admits students for courses in Research for which an undergraduate degree is required.
  5. The four-year undergraduate program at Harvard College is focused on liberal arts and sciences, whereas Harvard University majorly focuses on masters and research degrees.


One must choose between both the institutions based on the type of course and specialization they want to pursue. Both the institutions are absolutely amazing, which is also indicated by the notable alumni of the institutions.

Both the institutions have very beautiful campuses. Harvard College is affiliated with Harvard University. Similarly, many well-known colleges come under Harvard University. Many students from India also migrate to India to study abroad and get into these institutions. There is no discrimination at Harvard University, and the faculty treats every student equally.


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LONdI8l5-JwC&oi=fnd&pg=PA23&dq=harvard+university&ots=Abz9qaPhGi&sig=PIqeh0nCcV2fGEC5tIhmEntpdQQ
  2. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.4159/harvard.9780674423626/html
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