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Which one to go for _ Harvard or MIT

Which one to go for _ Harvard or MIT

Which one to go for? Harvard or MIT?

Both MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard (Harvard University) are well known for their outstanding academic programs. They are considered two of the most significant and selective universities all over the globe. Harvard and MIT are academic peers and neighbours. These premier schools draw tens of thousands of applicants every year, each hoping to attend the Cambridge institutions. 

So given this information, if you're having a hard time deciding between Harvard and MIT, it is totally understandable. In this post, we'll be going over these schools' similarities and differences to help you figure out which school is best for you.

I understand that you came here to know the difference. Although let us have a look at its similarity first. Apart from being recognized as prestigious universities, their location is also the same. Harvard and MIT are both situated just outside of Boston, in Cambridge. Whether you get into the college or not, if you happen to visit there, don't miss the historic sites, cafeterias, shops, and galleries, in the city centre of Harvard square. 

Ranking for medical school

Qs's world university ranking for 2022 declared Harvard as the no. 1 school in the world for medicine. It maintained its winning streak that has continued since 2013! Overall it achieved a perfect score of 99.5 out of 100, beating other 617 schools across 77 countries that were reviewed. Harvard earned perfect scores of 100 in academic reputation, employer reputation and H-index citations. However, in citations per the paper ranking, it scored 98, getting beat by MIT, which scored 99.5. However, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in at n.11. It had an overall score of 89.2. MIT got 81.3 on H-index, 86.6 on academic reputation, and 93.9 on employer reputation to break it down. 

Diversity of students

how popular the school is abroad. One should see the rate of international diversity. It's good to have global diversity with students as it provides exposure to various cultures and ethnicities and prepares the students to make essential connections and mingle with people of all kinds. While Harvard has 20% enrolment of international students, MIT has 28.5% of students from across the globe, according to the 2020 universities' statistics.

The student to staff ratio

The student to staff ratio indicates how many students are there per professor. If the ratio is lower, that would mean the students get more attention from the professors. The percentage of the student to faculty at Harvard is 6:1, while at MIT, it is 3:1. Thus, we can conclude that the student to faculty ratio is better at MIT because there will be a professor for every three students at MIT.

Financial Aid

Both the institutes, at first glance, look quite expensive, with Harvard having yearly tuition fees of 52,962$ and MIT 53,790$. But due to financial aid, most students do not have to pay such a high cost of attendance. While none of these institutes offers merit scholarships, they consider the demonstrated needs. The selection of both schools is need-blind; they do not think about the financial status in their selection procedure.

Harvard is a no-loan institution, and families with an income of less than 65,000$ a year do not need to pay tuition fees. At Harvard, families with a yearly income between 65,000$ and 150,000$ have the provision of spending only 0-10% of their income on tuition fees. MIT is not a loan-free institute but offers excellent financial aid. The students at MIT with a family income of less than 90,000$ are exempted from paying tuition fees. In conclusion, Harvard is more convenient for people seeking financial aid and relief the tuition fees.


Both MIT and Harvard have exceptional sports teams. The sports team of Harvard is called Crimsons, and the sports team of MIT is called MIT Engineers. Both the schools have varsity teams in various sports like baseball, basketball, fencing, football, field hockey, swimming, tennis, and volleyball, to name a few. But suppose you are especially looking for a school with great athletics experience. In that case, Harvard might be a better choice because the Crimsons play in Ivy League.


Housing is a major concern for students because students come to Cambridge from across the globe. Around 97% of undergrad students live on the campus of Harvard University. The first-year students are placed in suites near Harvard yard, whereas The second-year students reside in the 12 community houses cum dormitories. At MIT, 73% of the undergraduate students live on the campus. While others reside in independent living groups, fraternities, and sororities. MIT has 10 residential halls in operation and recognizes 25 fraternities, 7 sororities, and 5 separate residential groups.

College rankings 

Both MIT and Harvard schools are side by side regarding college rankings. The rankings primarily fluctuate slightly on a yearly basis, which makes a difference of one or two positions. As a result, Harvard beats MIT in some years and MIT in others. According to the US News ranking, MIT ranks fourth, while Harvard ranks second. as per Niche, MIT ranks first, whereas Harvard ranks second. Hence one cannot say that this particular school is better based solely on the rankings. 

Academic Programs

Both schools are known for their stellar academic programs. Though the scientific and technological focused approach is more seen at MIT and at Harvard, liberal arts focus is witnessed. Both schools offer a considerable figure of 50 majors in a assortment of fields. Meanwhile, Science, Engineering, and Technology, including Computer Science, Biology, and Mathematics are some of the most popular majors at MIT. At Harvard, popular majors cover a slightly more comprehensive range of fields, such as history, economics, and social science. Whereas at MIT, The institution is divided into five schools. On the other hand, Harvard University consists of 13 schools, including one specialized institute, namely Harvard. 

Starting Salary

MIT students bag a median starting salary much higher than Harvard students. A graduate MIT alumn can expect to earn around $82,300. Whereas a Harvard alumnus can expect to earn in the range of $69,000. 


Both institutions are neighbours and offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and research programs. The ranking also is more or less the same. Objectively speaking, it is nearly impossible to decide which school is better. It purely depends on you. Make the decision based on the financial aid you are receiving, the cost of attendance, the cost of living, and the field of study. Suppose you are looking for programs in the field of engineering, science, and maths. In that case, MIT is a better option, while Harvard is a good choice for liberal arts, humanities, business, Social Sciences, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Mathematics, General; Computer Science; and History, General.

So those were all the insights into differences of MIT and Harvard. I am sure it would have helped you to take a stand on which one suits you best. 

Keep Learning. Keep Reading. 

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