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Top Ivy League Schools: Harvard or Yale?

Top Ivy League Schools: Harvard or Yale? main image

Part of the elite US group of Ivy League schoolsHarvard and Yale are among the world’s most acclaimed and competitive universities. Of the eight Ivy League members, these two are among the highest-ranked in the QS World University Content®. In the 2019 edition, Harvard is ranked third in the world and Yale 15th.

Both excel across the full spectrum of academic subjects, and both (like all the Ivy League schools) are based within the north-eastern New England region. However, while Harvard and Yale have much in common, there are also some points of difference, which may help you pick between the two if you’re fortunate enough to be faced with that choice.

Here’s a look at how these two top Ivy League schools compare on key indicators, with an at-a-glance overview followed by a more in-depth explanation. Find out which would be best for you: Harvard or Yale?

 

Harvard University

Yale University

QS World University Content® 2019

•       Ranked third worldwide in 2019

•       Ranked first in the world with both academics and graduate employers

•       40th for faculty/student ratio

•       Ninth for research impact (citations per faculty member)

•       151st in the world for percentage of international faculty members, and 164th for international students

•       Ranked 15th worldwide in 2019

•       Ranked ninth in the world by academics and 11th by employers

•       Fifth for faculty/student ratio

•       156th for research impact (citations per faculty member)

•       186th in the world for percentage of international faculty members, and 236th for international students

Subject strengths*

Ranked joint second in the world for arts & humanities

13th for engineering & technology


First for life sciences & medicine


Fifth for natural sciences

First for social sciences & management

Sixth in the world for arts & humanities

91st for engineering & technology

12th for life sciences & medicine 


25th for natural sciences

Joint 11th for social sciences & management

 Location

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Just north of Boston, on the north-east coast of the US

New Haven, Connecticut

Separated from New York by the Long Island Sound

Student community

About 22,000 students, of which 15,250 are postgraduates


.

About  – 5,453 undergraduates and 6,859 postgraduates

Around 4,462 are international (20 percent of students overall)

Fees and funding

For 2018/19,  are $46,340 ($50,040 including all fees).

, and Harvard provides need-blind admission for all students.

For 2018/19,  are $53,430.

Yale is also need-blind to all students, both domestic and international.  received financial aid in 2017/18.

 *Based on the broad subject areas in the QS World University Content by Subject 2018.

Yale

QS World University Content® 2019

We’re really talking elite institutions here. Both Harvard and Yale are firm fixtures at the top of the QS World University Content. Harvard, ranked third in the world, is pretty much unbeatable on most of the indicators used to create the rankings. It’s actually the top-rated university in both of QS’s huge global surveys of academics and graduate employers. Yale is ranked ninth by academics and 11th by employers.

As well as having one of the world’s strongest international reputations, Harvard also scores very well on the indicator for research citations per faculty member, ranked ninth in the world on this measure. Yale is 156th for research citations – not quite as influential as Harvard, but still very much part of a leading group of universities.

For student-faculty ratio (a measure of the number of academic staff employed per enrolled student), Yale is the stronger of the two. It ranks fifth in the world on this indicator, while Harvard is 40th.

The last two indicators used in compiling the QS World University Content assess the international diversity of students and staff. Given that they’re well-known, desirable places to study and work, it’s unsurprising to find both universities score well on these indicators – though perhaps not as highly as you might expect. Harvard is ranked 151st for international faculty members, while Yale is also within the top 200 at 186th. When assessing the percentage of international students, Harvard comes 164th while Yale is 236th.

Subject strengths 

A look at the QS World University Content by Subject enables you to get a deeper insight into the subject strengths of both universities, with both Harvard and Yale boasting strong reputations across a broad range of subjects.

In the 2018 edition, Harvard is ranked first in the world for 14 out of the 48 subjects covered in this year’s ranking, and while Yale isn’t the world leader for any particular subject, it’s nonetheless included in the top 10 for 11 subjects.

The table below shows you how these two top Ivy League schools directly compare for each subject. If no rank is given, it’s highly likely the subject isn’t available at that particular university.

Harvard and Yale in the QS World University Content by Subject 2018

 

Harvard University

Yale University

Accounting & finance

1st

15th

Agriculture & forestry

--

33rd

Anthropology

3rd

15th

Archaeology

4th

=25th

Architecture

6th

51-100

Art & design

--

29th

Biological sciences

1st

=7th

Business & management

1st

21st

Chemistry

5th  

22nd

Classics & ancient history

=6th

17th

Communication & media studies

--

18th

Computer science & information systems

6th

39th

Dentistry

12th

--

Development studies

2nd

--

Earth & marine sciences

2nd

=17th

Economics

1st

9th

Education & training

2nd

--

Engineering (chemical)

--

26th

Engineering (electrical)

6th

51-100

Engineering (mechanical)

4th

51-100

English language & literature

3rd

5th

Environmental sciences

4th

17th

History

1st

6th

Law

1st

4th

Linguistics

3rd

51-100

Materials science

5th

51-100

Mathematics

2nd

15th

Medicine

1st

8th

Modern languages

1st

8th

Nursing

--

6th

Performing arts

10th

18th

Pharmacy

1st

14th

Philosophy

5th

12th

Physics & astronomy

2nd

15th

Politics

1st

7th

Psychology

1st

=7th

Social policy & administration

1st

--

Sociology

1st

9th

Statistics

=2nd

=32nd

Theology, divinity & religious studies

1st

11th


Cambridge, MA

Location 

Both universities are located in the New England group of states on the north-east coast of the US, an area which is home to all eight Ivy League schools.

Harvard is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just to the north of Boston. Named after the UK’s Cambridge, and also home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ranked first in the world), this university town has a longstanding tradition of scholarship and is very much a student-centered community.

Cambridge is also known for its attractive squares, tree-lined river banks, historic architecture and healthy arts and culture scene. Nearby, Boston has earned a reputation as one of the US’s leading urban centers in everything from architectural innovation to legislative change.

Yale is in New Haven, a city in the south of Connecticut on the shore of the Long Island Sound – an estuary leading to the Atlantic Ocean which separates the states of Connecticut and New York. Described by Yale president Richard C. Levin as “large enough to be interesting, yet small enough to be friendly”, the city has a diverse selection of restaurants, museums, music venues and annual festivals.

Student community 

Harvard is significantly the larger of the two; its 22,000-strong student body is almost twice the size of Yale’s 12,300. Reflecting their strong research focus, both have large numbers of graduate and professional students – these make up almost 70 percent of the student community at Harvard and 55 percent at Yale.

Both offer internationally diverse student communities. At Harvard, about 21 percent of students are international, and at Yale about 20 percent.

Tuition fees 

It’s no secret that higher education at prestigious US universities doesn’t come cheap – but the good news is that the Ivy League schools also tend to offer relatively high levels of financial support. At Harvard, undergraduate tuition fees for 2018/19 are set at US$46,340. When additional fees, accommodation, travel and personal expenses are considered, the annual  is estimated at $71,650-$76,650.

At Yale the figures are similar; undergraduate fees for 2018/19 are $53,430. When accommodation and other expenses are accounted for, . Students will also need to consider the extra cost of securing health insurance.

At graduate level, fees depend on which graduate school the course is offered by. At Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, full tuition fees for 2018/19 are $46,384, and students are advised to budget at least an additional $39,065 per 10 months for living costs. Similarly, at Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,  were $41,000, and living costs for a nine month period are estimated at $22,762 .

The costs for degrees such as medicine are, as is typical, a little higher. Harvard’s Medical School (graduate level only) charges  of $58,050 for 2016/17 (most recent figures available). And at Harvard Business School, an MBA program will currently cost $73,440 per year, with a  of $109,124 recommended.

Yale library

Financial aid 

Those figures may seem unaffordable for most, but most students at Harvard or Yale are eligible for financial aid. At Harvard, 55 percent of undergraduate students receive need-based aid through the university’s . Financial aid officers work to determine your demonstrated need and your family’s expected contribution, with students from families with an annual income below $65,000 expected to pay nothing, and more than 20 percent of students’ families paying nothing.

Yale similarly offers need-based , pledging to cover 100 percent of undergraduate students’ “demonstrated financial need”. 64 percent of Yale undergraduates receive aid, with an average grant amount of $49,575 in the 2017/18 academic year. An impressive 85 percent of the class of 2016 graduated with no student loan debt.

At both universities, large numbers of graduate-level students also receive grants, loans, fellowships, scholarships and also paid employment. Whichever level you’re studying at, and whatever your subject, extensive information on the costs of study and how to apply for financial aid is provided on the universities’ and graduate schools’ websites.

These high levels of financial support are rooted in the fact that both Harvard and Yale have need-blind admission policies. This means students’ finances are not taken into account when making a decision about whether to offer them a place, and the university pledges to contribute as much as is required to enable students to attend once they’ve been accepted. This policy applies to all students, whether they come from within the US or elsewhere.

So, which of these top Ivy League schools gets your vote, Harvard or Yale? Let us know in the comments below!

This article was originally published in November 2013. It was last updated in June 2018 to incorporate the latest data from the QS World University Content and other sources.

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Bianca C, Bruna C & 82 others saved this
Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Content?'

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4 Comments

Hello, I am a student from Greece (EU) willing to study at either UCL or Imperial during the season 2017-2018. However, I cannot afford the tuition fees. How can I get a student loan? Are there any criteria that I must fulfil in order to get one? Is the number of student loans provided unlimited?

Hi Konstantinos, I've replied to your comment here. :)

thanks for the informations, great!

I am from Kenya,graduated from high school in the year 2012.
I wish to ask probably when will the top universities have their undergraduate tour here in our African continent especially Kenya?
Am eager to hear about it.