Harvard College and Harvard University

Difference Between Harvard College and Harvard University

Virtually all of us have heard of Harvard, whether in real life or in films. It’s one of the best universities, not just in the US, but in the entire world as well. It’s popularly known for it’s breathtaking structures and the high prestige that its diplomas offer. However, there is one thing that lots of people around the world don’t understand – the difference between Harvard University and Harvard College.

To help you understand the difference, we shall compare the two based on a few aspects.


Harvard University is an Ivy League private university located in Cambridge, USA. For those who don’t know what an Ivy League university is, here’s a definition from dictionary.com.

Harvard College, on the other hand, is located within the main University campus.


Established in 1636, Harvard University happens to be the oldest high-learning institution in the United States, with “New College” as one of its original names. It was renamed Harvard in 1639, after John Harvard, a man who sacrificed most of what he owned for the sake of the school.

Harvard College, on the other hand, was founded in 1890, as part of the larger Harvard University.


Harvard University refers to the entire institution including the various research stations and all the schools within the institution, including the following:

  • Harvard College
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard Business School
  • Division of continuing education
  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Harvard Divinity School
  • Graduate School of Design
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Harvard College, on the other hand, is a part of Harvard University, and somewhat different from the university. It’s a quite-independent school located within the main university campus with the ability to grant undergraduate degrees.

The college normally awards degrees like Scientiarum Baccalaureus (S.B.), Artium Baccalaureus (A.B.), and Masters of Arts. To get the A.B. degree, one has to study for 4 years and to get the S.B. degree or any special course degree, one has to complete its 5-year program.

And of course, there are more. Find a complete list at https://www.harvard.edu/schools.

Like the other professional and graduate schools that are part of Harvard University, Harvard College is able to maintain its own teaching faculties and admission offices.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Is Harvard an Ivy League university?

Yes. It’s one of the 8 Ivy League universities, which are considered to be the higher learning institutions with the most prestige in the US.

2. What’s Harvard University best known for?

Harvard is known for its high rate of freshman retention, ranging at around 97%, which indicates a high rate of satisfaction. It’s also recognized widely for its exceptional performance in various subjects, including social, physical, and biological sciences, and history.

3. Is Harvard University private?

Yes. Although it’s a top university, Harvard is a prestigious private university based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

4. When was Harvard established?

On 8th September 1636 in Cambridge, USA.

Final Verdict

The major difference between Harvard College and Harvard University is that the university refers to the entire Harvard institution while the college only refers to a section of the institution. Before you go, look at the following quick interesting facts about Harvard:

  • According to statistics on Dailymail.co.uk, Harvard, as of 2013, had 2964 filthy-rich graduates with a total worth of over 600 billion dollars.
  • Bill Gates is an alumnus of the institution.
  • Harvard is one of the 8 Ivy League universities in the world
  • Its library is the biggest academic library in the US
  • According to info at https://news.harvard.edu, there have been 8 US presidents with a Harvard degree.
  • Virtually all the Harvard College students live on campus in the dormitories or in the upperclass houses.

If you would like to enroll in Harvard University, go to https://www.harvard.edu for more info on their courses and admissions.

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