Academics

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Academics

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5 College Freshman

Academics: Professors are always experts in their field and the TAs are super helpful and kind as well.

4 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Academics: The academics are absolutely fantastic. They vary, of course, depending on student choice. Many students take only bland huge introductory lecture classes and then complain about how they've never met their professors. However, there are literally thousands of options of the beaten path for small seminar classes in countless areas. I have tried to take as many of these as possible, and my average class size has been about five. Going to dinner at professors' houses is not uncommon, and the vast majority of professors put a lot of time into getting to know students. Every professor holds generous office hours, so any complaint that professors are inaccessible generally rests with the student. After my two-person class last year, which often went hours over, we sometimes went for drinks. Students and professors seem to be parts of the same community, not separate entities. I highly recommend putting at least two small and obscure classes on your schedule every term. Overall, Harvard's academics lives up to its name.

14 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Academics: I'm learning about relevant topics.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Tough academics that really push you. The workload depends on what classes you take, but generally, the workload can be pretty heavy. Shopping week for actually being able to sit in on classes before you register for them is really useful.

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Academics: The government major is one of the largest offered on campus and there is a plethora of resources available and no shortage of classes. I have never not gotten into a class I have truly wanted; often begging a professor is all it takes if you miss the lottery. The work load is not too bad, as long as you accept that you will never do all the readings. And the professors do not expect you to - literally! I have had professors actually say that you should pick the more important readings and start from there. What makes this major amazing at Harvard is the availability of graduate classes to the undergrads, with access to both the law school and the Kennedy school of government.

8 people found this useful Report
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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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"Unparalleled," "world-class," and "exciting" are just a few of the words used to described the constellation of academic stars you will find leading class discussions and lecturing on a huge breadth of topics at Harvard. The school's unmatched resources and wide array of fields of study make it the ideal place to pursue nearly any academic interest. However, some students complain that professors are too far removed from undergraduate life, and that in some cases, teaching assistants are left with too much responsibility. Most students are quick to indicate, however, that nearly everyone with any teaching duties is downright brilliant—important lecturers and overworked graduate students alike.

Despite a small number of complaints, Harvard University provides a fertile ground for intellectual growth. Renowned faculty, a treasure trove of resources, and undergraduate motivation all combine to make Harvard a terrific place for higher education. Even if some students have trouble attaining "A" grades, the University passes with flying colors.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
7:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
1,778
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
640
Total FT Faculty
4,001
Faculty with Terminal Degree
100%
Average Faculty Salary
$151,262
Full-Time Retention Rate
97%
Graduation Rate
97%
Programs/Majors Offered
150
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
Yes
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 78%
  • 20 to 49 students: 14%
  • 50 or more students: 8%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: Yes
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
Harvard College
Degrees Awarded
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Post-master's certificate
  • Doctorate – Professional practice
  • Doctorate – Research/scholarship
Most Popular Majors
  • Business Administration and Management: 6%
  • Foundations of Education: 4%
  • Law: 4%
  • Public Administration: 2%
Graduation Requirements
  • English (including composition)
  • Foreign languages
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences (biological or physical)
  • Social science
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Other Academic Offerings
  • Accelerated program
  • Cross-registration
  • Double major
  • Exchange student program (domestic)
  • Honors program
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • House dining halls
  • Lamont Library
  • The myriad coffee shops around the square
Tips to Succeed
  • Actually go to class.
  • Check your final exam dates before you register for classes.
  • Get advice from upperclassmen.
  • Join study groups, if at all possible.
  • Pick classes you actually like.
  • Success at Harvard requires the same ingredients as success at any other task. Motivation, hard work, and organization will have a larger impact on success than brainpower.
Did You Know?
The Harvard University library collection contains more than 17 million volumes.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 52 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 30 responses

Never
Always
  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 29 responses

  • 72% This was my dream school.
  • 24% This was one of my top choices.
  • 3% This was a school I settled for (safety school).

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