Harvard University was created in 1636 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony as the New World’s first higher learning institution. Named for the English minister John Harvard who died of tuberculosis, Harvard provided a classic curriculum rooted in Puritanism. By 1900, the prestigious school founded the Association of American Universities (AAU) and expanded to Radcliffe College. Endowed for $34.54 billion, Harvard University now educates 6,700 undergrad and 14,500 post-grad Crimson across 11 academic units, including the John A. Paulson School for Engineering and Applied Sciences. Harvard occupies 210 acres and over 18 million volumes along the Charles River in Cambridge, just outside Massachusetts’ capital of Boston.

According to the U.S. News, Harvard is the second best national university, ninth most innovative college, and second top value with the 18th best computer science programs. On Niche, Harvard University is America’s fourth best computer science college, second best Common App school, and hardest college to get into. Forbes ranked Harvard the 23rd best university for international learners and 68th top employer. Harvard topped The Wall Street Journal’s ranking of universities based on student outcomes. Reuters honored Harvard as the globe’s third most innovative institution. The ARWU placed Harvard as the 37th best university for engineering worldwide. Harvard University also landed eighth for social mobility in Washington Monthly.

Harvard University Accreditation Details

Continuously since 1929, Harvard University has been listed on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ (NEASC) roster of higher education institutions. Last reaffirmed in 2010 under president Drew Gilpin Faust, this regional accreditation extends to each of Harvard’s 78 bachelor’s and 132 graduate degrees for the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV eligibility. The John A. Paulson School also initially pursued programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 1962.

Harvard University Application Requirements

Becoming an Ivy Leaguer at Harvard isn’t easy with the “most selective” admission rate of 5 percent in Fall 2016. Prospective Computer Science A.B. majors are reviewed holistically to ascertain academic rigor in at least 18 units of college-prep courses. Diploma holders with AP Computer Science exam scores of 4 or 5 will receive credit. Harvard undergrads generally rank in the top 10th percentile of their class with an average GPA of 4.1. On average, first-years report a mean SAT score of 1540 and ACT score of 34. Transferring to the Crimson community requires finishing one to two continuous years of accredited higher learning with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Graduate admission is even tighter with just 9 percent of the 2,600+ SEAS applications received annually being successful. Starting the Computer Science S.M. or Ph.D. will require finishing an accredited bachelor’s prior to matriculation. Women and minority groups underrepresented in computer science are especially welcomed. Earning an A.B. or S.B. in STEM fields is suggested to cover prerequisites like calculus and algorithms. Admitted post-grads report an average 3.8 bachelor’s GPA. Taking the Graduate Record Exam is required, and computer scientists must score above the 80th percentile. Foreign students not from English-speaking nations also need a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 92 or equivalent.

Harvard College has pinpointed an Early Action deadline of November 1st and Regular Decision deadline of January 1st for undergrads. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences only accepts Fall cohorts who’ve applied before the December 15th deadline. You can submit the Common Application, Universal Application, or Coalition Application fully online. Supplemental materials might be emailed to admiss@fas.harvard.edu or mailed to 1350 Massachusetts Avenue Suite 350 in Cambridge, MA 02138. Computer science majors are expected to send:

• $75 non-refundable fee (or waiver request)

• Harvard supplement essay questions

• Official, final transcripts from each school

• Standardized tests (SAT, ACT, GRE, or TOEFL)

• At least two teacher evaluation reports

• Typed, 500-word statement of purpose

Tuition and Financial Aid

Labeled Money Magazine’s 10th best value, Harvard currently charges undergrads in the Computer Science A.B. program $44,990 per full-time year. Mandatory fees add $3,959 while health insurance costs $3,130 unless waived. Living on-campus in Cambridge requires $10,300 and $6,360 for room and board respectively. Total annual cost of attendance for bachelor’s students is $65,609 full-time. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences bills $44,816 for the first two years and $11,654 for subsequent years of study. Computer science doctoral candidates also pay $2,966 for facilities fees.

The NCES depicts 44 percent of full-time Harvard Crimson share $186.81 million in annual financial assistance for an average amount of $41,414. United States citizens could receive the Federal Pell Grant or FSEOG Grant during their undergrad years. Massachusetts offers in-state aid like the Educational Rewards Grant, Public Service Grant, Foster Child Grant, and Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship. Students can borrow Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, Perkins, and PLUS loans or the Harvard Loan with fixed 4.0 percent interest. Federal Work-Study jobs provide at least $11/hour for campus employment. Graduates could snag NSF Fellowships, Hertz Foundation Fellowships, Ford Foundation Diversity Scholarships, and more. Dudley House Fellows also earn free housing and meals with a $3,000 stipend.

Studying Computer Science at Harvard

Located in Pierce Hall on Oxford Street, Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has grown from its 1847 to employ 145 PhD-level faculty under Dean Francis J. Doyle III for 11 undergrad programs. The Computer Science A.B. admits inquisitive undergrads seeking to test the technical boundaries and methodically create high-tech information solutions. After the CS50 intro, the program integrates 30 half-courses spanning topics from machine learning and artificial intelligence to cryptography and programming. Some combine the CS major with the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program. Active SEAS learning labs offer hands-on experiment experience with senior theses. Other opportunities include competing with the Harvard iGEM team, becoming PRISE Fellows, joining the Computer Society, and studying abroad in Japan.

Harvard post-grads can pursue two master’s options: the Computer Science S.M. or Computational Science and Engineering S.M. Directed by Dr. John Girash, these one-year, intensive majors are self-designed with eight courses like data science, game theory, and applied computation before the thesis defense. Boasting cross-registration at MIT, the Computer Science Ph.D. is the highest offering that takes at least five years to open academic and research careers. The doctorate integrates teaching practicum, internships, and qualifying exams with rigorous research in cutting-edge labs like the Nanoscale Systems Center and Kavli Institute. Since 1984, Harvard University has placed CS majors at Boeing, Apple, Brooktrout Technology, IBM, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Raytheon, Netflix, and hundreds more.

A related resource:

Top 30 Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs