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Harvard vs MIT 2022: Comparisons, Similarities and Differences You Should Know

This article will be explaining Harvard vs MIT, similarities and differences.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are two top-ranking universities with an outstanding reputation that are invariably known for the best academics, exceptional facilities, multicultural diversity, and enthusiastic communities are Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Topnotch as they are, it can be very difficult to choose between the two for a study year. Before we dive into the differences and similarities between the two, let’s briefly know about their backgrounds.

Harvard vs MIT

Photo Credit: HuffPost

What is Harvard University?

Harvard University was established in 1636 and is known as the oldest university in the United States.

It is a renowned ivy league research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts that receives students and scholars worldwide to impact their community through their various academic involvement.

Recognized as one of the prestigious universities in the world, Harvard has over 30,391 students comprising 8,527 undergraduate and 21,864 graduate students for the 2020/2021 academic session.

Attending status recorded 19,030 full-time and 11,361 part-time students with a gender proportion of 14,509 male and 15,882 female students.

What is MIT?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a private land-grant research university.

Also referred to as MIT, this institute has an urban campus that expands further than a mile alongside the Charles River. It was established in 1861, to advance research, discovery and innovation, focusing primarily on science, engineering and technology.

The university population is rather small with a total of 11,254 students including an undergraduate registration of 4,361 students.

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Similarities between Harvard and MIT. 

  • Initially, these two are very particular about their acceptance rate with 5% for Harvard and 7% for MIT.
  • They both are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts with a difference in their beginnings. These two are neighbors.
  • Both Harvard and MIT offer STEM programs that are limited to students in engineering and technology.

Comparison between Harvard and MIT

  • The Harvard University campus Is described as a city with a minimum population of about 100,000 and not more than 250,000 while the MIT campus has a population of 80,000 but not more than 200,000.
  • MIT has a total number of 4,600 students, whereas Harvard has about 7,000.
  • MIT has a class ratio of 71% and Harvard 72%.

The difference between the Harvard University Campus and the MIT Campus

Location and Weather

Although Harvard and MIT are both based in Cambridge, they live a distance from each other and are considered to form a major part of the Boston population.

Harvard’s campus is more like a suburban and since Cambridge is by the water, it’s a bit chilly from time to time and pleasant for boat rides during summer.

Whereas MIT is merged with the city and is more Urban with a better view of the city skyline.

University Type

Although MIT and Harvard are private universities, one is of Ivy League while the other is not. MIT is still a prestigious institution even though it is not Ivy League.

Rankings and Grades

The ranking of Harvard and MIT are almost the same even though they differ from year to year. Harvard ranks 2 in the US news, first in Forbes, first in the niche, second in times, and third in education.

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Whereas MIT ranks fourth in US news, fourth in Forbes, first in the niche, and fifth in higher education.

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Academics comparison between Harvard vs MIT. 

Academic Programs

Both Harvard and MIT are recognized for their exceptional academic programs, even though MIT deals with sciences and technology, Harvard is into liberal arts focus.

MIT majors include Science, engineering, technology, computer science, biology, and mathematics. The institution is split into five schools namely;

  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • School of Engineering
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • School of Science

Harvard majors include history, economics, and social science. The institution comprises 13 schools which include:

  • Business School
  • Harvard College
  • Divinity School
  • Division of Continuing Education
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduate School of Design
  • John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Kennedy School
  • Law School
  • Medical School
  • School of Dental Medicine
  • T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

To explain better, Harvard college Is the same as the undergraduate college for freshmen which is located in Cambridge.

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Other disciplines such as theater arts, music, political science, writing, women, and gender studies are also offered at Harvard University.


The Harvard and MIT admission rates are extremely low – 5% and 7%, respectively. MIT students have a high GPA of 4.17 in high school while Harvard students have a 4.18GPA, this illustrates one of the reasons it is difficult to be accepted into these universities.

You will need a great application and good grades to stand a chance in any of these universities.

MIT students have standardized test scores slightly above average with a score of 1535, whereas Harvard’s average is 1534. ..

Tuition and Fees

Harvard’s tuition fee is almost the same as MIT. Harvard’s is $52,962, while MIT’s is $53,790 per year. Nevertheless, both institutions provide good financial aid to ease students who are in need.

Students whose family earn below $65,000 in a year don’t have to pay for tuition, while MIT doesn’t get a dime from students whose family earns less than $90,000


Harvard university has 97% of its students living on campus. Meanwhile, MIT university students about 73% stay on campus while others live in fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups approved by MIT.

In conclusion, if you are science-oriented and wish to study in any of these institutions, you can use the similarities and differences as a yardstick to inform your choice. We wish you the best in your applications. Visit the official school website for more information.


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