Harvard University facts and figures - more on Harvard 2009 Profile
The pursuit of excellence has long been a hallmark of Harvard. Since its founding in 1636, the College has assembled promising students and distinguished faculty and provided them with an environment and resources to develop their talents to the fullest. Harvard’s tradition of excellence has put generations of students at the center of the search for new ways of thinking.
Students come from all 50 states and from over 80 countries; from cities, suburbs, small towns and farms; from public, private and parochial schools; from every ethnic and religious background; and from across the economic spectrum. Based on longstanding tradition, Harvard is committed to making educational opportunity accessible to all.
Harvard offers students everything necessary for a liberal education in virtually every imaginable field. The sheer number of curricular choices in the catalog includes about 3,500 courses opens doors for the exploration of widely disparate fields and also for concentration in special areas of interest. Harvard's philosophy has long been that an undergraduate education ought to have structure and coherence, while allowing for maximum flexibility and individual choice.
There are many curricular paths to the Harvard degree. Students have more than 40 concentrations from which to choose, many with a variety of more focused tracks, and each provides substantive training in a specific academic discipline. It is also possible to combine major fields or to devise special concentrations.
Living and Learning
From the very beginning, Harvard College has sought to establish a connection between living and learning. Originally patterned after the Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, the House system reflects the founders' goals of a true residential college, a "collegiate way of living." Across all four centuries of Harvard's history, learning together has meant living together.
Much of the value of a Harvard education lies in things learned outside the classroom and in the relationships established with others in the community, especially with fellow students. Harvard students expand their educations beyond the classroom by participating in study abroad, research, internships and even through extracurricular activities.
Located in Cambridge and across the river from Boston, Harvard students have access to take advantage of a vibrant metropolitan area.
All 1,675 first-year students live in or adjacent to Harvard Yard, the University's historic hub, where newly renovated classrooms and dormitories sit among ancient trees with Widener Library. All members of the freshmen class live in one of the 17 freshman dorms.
Extracurricular opportunities at Harvard are virtually limitless with nearly 300 official student organizations including performing and visual arts groups, 41 varsity athletic teams, student government, public service organizations, more than 50 ethnic and cultural groups, publications, and media projects.
Athletics play a significant role in the lives of many Harvard students. There are 41 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than any other Division I college in the country. The Department of Athletics also offers more than 30 programs in a range of recreational and individual sports.