Harvard University is comprised of 12 schools, including Harvard College and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, granting degrees in over 50 areas of study. Aside from a required expository writing class during Freshman year, students have the flexibility to choose the courses they take to complete their majors. Students can also choose to add a second concentration to their academic plan, or to enroll on the honors track. Online courses are also an option for some degree programs.
In addition to typical academic coursework, students at Harvard have plenty of opportunities for experiential learning and close contact with their professors. As a leading research university, students have the opportunity to collaborate with their teachers to investigate lines of inquiry related to their academics. Grant funding and summer research opportunities are also available to students. Study abroad is a learning experience that over half of undergraduate students at Harvard take advantage of, spending one semester of either sophomore, junior or senior year studying in a foreign country.
History of Harvard
Established in 1636 with a class of only nine students and one teacher, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. John Harvard, the university’s namesake, was the first benefactor of the college, leaving half of his estate and his library to the school. As time went on, the college grew and became an influential institution in the 1700s, particularly during the Revolutionary War. Harvard alumni were instrumental in the foundation of the United States of America, with eight graduates signing the Declaration of Independence and two, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, becoming early presidents of the country.
In the subsequent 200 years, Harvard significantly expanded the number of academic buildings and courses offered. Harvard Medical School, the Divinity School, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Dental School were all established during the late 18th and 19th centuries. In the early 1900s, the School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Education were created. Important research was conducted during this time as well, leading to important innovations and solutions for public health issues. The first iron lung and a cholera vaccine are among the accomplishments of Harvard research outcomes.
Radcliffe College, Harvard’s counterpart for women, opened in 1879. Until women were allowed to integrate in coeducational classes with their male peers in 1946, professors would repeat their lectures given at Harvard to the students at Radcliffe. Female students were awarded Harvard degrees for the first time in 1963, and the admissions offices for the two colleges were merged in 1975. All students were under the responsibility of Harvard in 1977, and the Radcliffe College transitioned into an institution for research and graduate degrees. 1n 1999, the two schools were completely merged and the Ann Radcliffe trust, now the Harvard College Women’s Center, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study were established.
Campus Life at Harvard
The close proximity to Boston provides Harvard students with plenty of cultural and entertainment opportunities on the nights and weekend. Students can take in a Red Sox game, visit the Museum of Fine Arts, or see a concert at the House of Blues. Public transportation allows students to get back and forth to campus quickly and safely.
For those looking for on-campus clubs and activities, Harvard has plenty of organizations in which students can get involved. NCAA Division I athletics draw some of the best athletes in the country to compete for Harvard, and give students a change to cheer on their Crimson classmates. Clubs geared toward specific interests such as art, music, and community service abound in all of the Harvard colleges. Students can also connect with one another over passionate issues, such as women’s rights or environmentalism.
Financial Aid for Harvard Students
Harvard University offers a generous financial aid package to enrolled students who require assistance. Students whose families make less than $65,000 annually are not expected to contribute, while families making up to $150,000 are expected to contribute 0 to 10 percent, with exponential increases for higher income brackets. More than half of the students enrolled in Harvard receive some sort of financial aid.