Harvard University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The headache in choosing what university to spend one’s 3 to 5 years of academic life in is usually triggered before high school graduation. Students surf the net trying to compare and contrast very similar schools. For example, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, popularly known as MIT, are two schools located in the same geographical area with many similarities and differences in every aspect. 

Depending on what an applicant stands to gain, either Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can be the best pick. From their acceptance rate to the available programs, these schools are unique for the right reason. However, only one pick is suitable for a candidate’s interest.

Read on to know the factors one must consider before choosing between prestigious schools!

Harvard University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology

General overview of Harvard university

Harvard University is the oldest learning institution in the US. It is a privately-owned university founded in the year 1636 by John Harvard. Currently, the institution is a sanctuary of academic aspirations. Considered one of the best univ6 in the world, Harvard has a trademark that has helped facilitate the careers of its alumni.

This prestigious university is located in Cambridge, in the colonial landmarks of Massachusetts, United States. Harvard University, sometimes dubbed Harvard is an academic town comprising the established schools that have brought more prestige and fortune to its name. Schools like:

  • Harvard law school
  • Harvard medical school
  • Harvard business school

General overview of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, popularly dubbed MIT, is one of the best technical universities in the United States of America. The private-owned research institute was established in 1861 and has grown into the technology field for talents with a keen mind to explore the technological world.

This university has promoted the country’s Technological sector and has hence trained gurus who have, in turn, become landmark engineers and scientists in the United States. Names like:

  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Ilene S. Gordon
  • Richard Feynman, etc

The Acceptance Rate of Both Schools

Harvard University has an acceptance rate of between 4% and 6%, which means that admission into Harvard University is very competitive. Therefore, Harvard University takes time to select the best candidates who apply to their university. 

One must be highly academically successful to stand a chance of being considered into such a prestigious institution. Accordingly, candidates who apply to Harvard have an average SAT score of 1500 and an average ACT score of 34 with a perfect GPA of 4.0.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an acceptance rate of 6% and 8%; this means that admission into the magnificent and famous institute of technology is very competitive. In addition, candidates who apply to MIT have a perfect GPA of 4.0. However, candidates who fail to meet such excellence must possess an SAT score of not below 1520 and an ACT score not below 34; the university receives a host of applications during each admission cycle but only considers the best.

The Student Population of Both Schools 

Each year, Harvard admits approximately 5000 Students added to their already large number of roughly 30,000 students. Students of Harvard are spread across different schools and programs offered by the varsity. At Harvard, the percentage population for the feminine gender is slightly higher than that for the masculine gender. 

On the other hand, MIT has an approximate number of 11,000 students, with between 4000 and 5000 students added to their flock annually. At MIT, 55% – 52% are men while 48% – 45% are women.

Academic Programs Available in Both Schools

Harvard offers the following programs:

  • Econometrics and quantitative economics
  • Computer
  • Social sciences
  • Applied mathematics
  • English language and literature
  • Neuroscience
  • Engineering science
  • Physics
  • History

It is also home to some the outstanding schools like:

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Business 

MIT, on the other hand, tends to offer more science and engineering-related programs like:

  • Computer science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical/space engineering
  • Electrical and electronics engineering
  • Chemical engineering, etc. 

Admission Policy by Both Schools

Harvard and MIT’s admission policy is similar. Both schools require the following to be considered for admission:

  • Standardized test score (high SAT or ACT)
  • GPA (a perfect score of 4.0 or a 3.9)
  • Recommendation letter
  • College Essay, etc

However, both schools disregarded the use of standardized test scores for the 2022 – 2023 admission cycle due to the covid 19 pandemic that placed a series of restrictions on the world’s affairs. 

In addition to this, Harvard adopted such a policy for the academic cycle of 2024 – 2027. On the other hand, MIT released information that such a policy was not meant to go beyond the 2022 – 2023 academic cycle.

That means an applicant does not require SAT or ACT score for Harvard for classes of 2026 – 2030, but an applicant requires an SAT or an ACT score for MIT for 2026 – 2030.

University Ranking of both schools

Harvard University has been ranked between first place and second place among various college websites and media outlets like the Usnews

On the other hand, MIT has been ranked first place and fifth place among various college websites and media outlets. Despite this, MIT takes the coveted top spot on Usnews as the best engineering university.

Tuition & Fees as well as Financial Aid of both schools

Harvard tuition fee falls between $50,000 and $55,000 per year. Despite this, the management of Harvard ensures that brilliant minds who desire to attend Harvard are not discouraged because of the tuition fee. Therefore Harvard offers a scholarship package for students, partial and complete; this will encourage brilliant minds with a lack of finances to attend university.

MIT tuition fee is between $53,000 and $57,009 per year. The school offers financial aid to students considered financially restrained. 

Starting salary for Alumni of both schools

The starting salary for Harvard graduates is between $70,000 and $90,000 per annum. Although this differs based on their different schools of law, medicine, and business.

The starting salary for MIT graduates is between $75,000 and $100,000 per annum. Those with masters from the school earn above $100,000 per annum. 


Based on the comparison made above, choosing the right school is dependent on what the applicant stands to gain. For example, if an applicant wants a school that focuses on pure science and engineering, MIT would be the right pick.

But if an applicant wants a school focused more on the arts, then Harvard. Regardless, both schools are worth it, and choosing a particular school is down to the taste of the applicant.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is MIT more prestigious than Harvard?

MIT is more science-related and stands ahead of Harvard in such an area.

  • Are MIT students smarter than Harvard?

Yes. Based on the latest research on the classification of students, MIT students are considered mentally sharper.